Today, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order partially granting and denying Public Knowledge and the National Consumer Law Center’s challenge to AT&T’s confidentiality claims over the timelines of its proposed network transition trials and certain network information.
In response to our challenge, AT&T conceded that the network information it had disclosed to the press is not eligible for confidential treatment, and also shared the general timeframe of its proposed trials. In its Order, the Commission ordered AT&T to resubmit its trial proposal with the previously disclosed information unredacted, and clarified that the public will be able to fully participate when AT&T asks for official Commission authorization for its trials.
The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“Although we are glad the Commission’s confidentiality challenge process brought some new information into the public eye, we are disappointed that, even months after the Commission solicited public comment on AT&T’s proposal, the public still does not know when AT&T’s proposed trials will actually start and stop. If the public does not have access to basic information about proposed network trials, like when the trials will actually happen, the public can’t give meaningful input on experiments that could be tremendously important to the future of our nation’s communications networks.
“The experiments that will evaluate new technologies for our phone network are too important to design in secret. If the confidentiality of trial timelines depends on how much time remains before the trial would begin, the Commission must still ensure the public has ample opportunity to comment on the trial proposals after the timelines are fully disclosed. On that point, we are glad the Commission has confirmed the public will have an opportunity to comment after the trial timelines are made public.
“We are also disappointed the Commission took nine months to issue a decision on this procedural point. The Commission’s confidentiality challenge process must provide challengers effective and prompt redress, or companies will only grow more bold in over-claiming confidentiality to keep damaging or embarrassing information secret. We hope the Commission will respond more quickly to future confidentiality challenges.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.