Broadcast Transparency Decision, AT&T McDonald’s Expansion, Brightspeed in Missouri

A D.C. appeals court vacated the FCC’s authority to require broadcasters disclose if foreign governments lease airtime.

Broadcast Transparency Decision, AT&T McDonald’s Expansion, Brightspeed in Missouri
Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, from Flickr

July 13, 2022 – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a statement Tuesday saying consumers deserve to know who’s behind the sponsorship of broadcasts, after a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied its authority to force broadcasters to reveal those dealings.

“The principle that the public has a right to know the identity of those who solicit their support is a fundamental and long-standing tenet of broadcasting,” Rosenworcel said. “It’s about transparency. Consumers deserve to trust that public airwaves aren’t being leased without their knowledge to private foreign actors.”

The appeals court ruled that the agency’s verification requirements “ignores the limits that the statute places on broadcasters’ narrow duty of inquiry,” the decision read. “It instead tells a broadcaster to seek information from two federal sources in addition to the two sources that the statue prescribes. This is not the law that Congress wrote.”

The FCC unanimously adopted a sponsorship identification requirement in April last year that required broadcasters to reveal if foreign governments or their representatives lease time on their broadcasts. That came after the agency raised concerns alleging Chinese and Russian governments were secretly leasing airtime to broadcast propaganda on American airwaves.

AT&T expanding to over 750 U.S. McDonald’s locations

AT&T said Tuesday that its expanded relationship with McDonald’s to bring more fiber connectivity to more than 750 restaurant locations will allow the restaurant to deploy its technologies more effectively.

Over the past two years, the pandemic changed consumer habits for food service, and as the industry evolves, McDonald’s says it plans to use enhanced connectivity for an elevated customer experience.

“Expanding fiber connectivity to more restaurants will provide the infrastructure necessary to support and deploy technologies like this more effectively,” such as customer’s use of the McDonald’s global mobile app and mobile order and pay, said a press release.

According to a press release, “the symmetrical high-speed connectivity of the AT&T fiber network will provide these restaurants with the ability to elevate the customer experience today while opening the door for emerging technologies in the coming years.”

Brightspeed announces initial fiber build markets for Missouri

Brightspeed said Tuesday its fiber buildout in Missouri is estimated to reach over 130,000 potential customers by the end of 2023, reaching rural and suburban areas in need.

According to a press release, Brightspeed’s fiber infrastructure plans in the state will bring faster internet and Wi-Fi to residential and business locations in the following counties: Boone, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Dent, Gasconade, Howell, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Marion, Moniteau, Nodaway, Oregon, Phelps, St. Charles, Texas, and Wright county.

“We are pleased to outline the initial build specifics for Missouri and are thrilled that we will be reaching so many communities,” said Tom Maguire, chief operating officer at Brightspeed.

“High-speed internet access is critical for our kids to learn, farmers to access markets, and businesses to grow,” Governor Mike Parson said. “We appreciate Brightspeed’s investment that will help connect hundreds of thousands of Missourians and increase economic opportunity for Missouri families.”