When AT&T was pushing the FCC to approve it’s merger with DirecTV, AT&T repeatedly called on the FCC to protect many parts of the merger document that AT&T deemed as “sensitive information”.
While the FCC argued that these documents were needed for third parties to review and give feedback about the potential merger, AT&T argued that these documents being released would work against them in future rights negotiations. A federal court eventually ruled that the FCC hadn’t specifically explained why such documents needed to be released to third parties.
But now, AT&T has found itself on the other side and is demanding that the State of Florida hand over emails and documents about a $400 million state contract that was not awarded to AT&T, but to AT&T’s competitor, Harris Corp. According to AT&T, the state handed over the requested documents but did so with a heavy amount of redactions. According to the state, the redactions were due to “confidential trade secrets”.
To be clear, I agree with AT&T about their situation in Florida. Public contracts should be available with the least amount of redactions as possible, which is rather unlikely the case here. With that said, the amount of documents that AT&T claims are “secretive information” with FCC filings is also absurdly high.
Also, I understand the difference between a state contract and a private agreement between two parties. But when AT&T continues taking billions from the taxpayers every year, it does in fact become a public issue when they make massive changes to their business.