Published every weekday, the Switchboard highlights five tech policy stories you need to read.

Sprint and T-Mobile zeroing in on a $32 billion merger. "Responding to a wave of consolidation in the telecommunications industry, the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless phone operators have agreed on the terms of a deal to join forces," the New York Times reports.

Hundreds of cities are wired with fiber — but telecom lobbying keeps it unused. According to Vice: "The reasons vary by city, but in many cases, the reason you can't get gigabit internet speeds—without the threat of that service being provided by a company that wants to discriminate against certain types of traffic—is because of the giant telecom businesses that want to kill net neutrality in the first place."

Verizon responds to Netflix’s passive-aggressive error message with straight-up aggression. "In a blog post, Verizon defended itself by saying [Netflix's] sluggishness has nothing to do with Verizon's own network and everything to do with how Netflix carries traffic to Verizon's doorstep," I write."

Life sentences for serious cyberattacks are proposed in Queen's speech. "The UK government has said it wants to hand out life sentences to anyone found guilty of a cyberattack that has a catastrophic effect," according to the Guardian, "under plans announced in the Queen's speech."

AT&T promises big fiber expansion — but only if feds let it buy DirecTV. Ars Technica writes: "AT&T told the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that it needs approval of the DirecTV merger in order to bring fiber to 2 million locations."