The controversial COPE (Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement) Act is being voted on in Congress this week. The bill, which primarily strives to provide a national franchise for cable companies would, in the opinion of the bill’s opponents, do so at the expense of local authorities’ ability to regulate those franchises.
In other words, if a new company (such as AT&T, a supporter of the bill) wanted to open a cable franchise in Durham, they would have to jump through a fair number of hoops. To open another in Indianapolis, they would have to jump through a completely different set of hoops based on that region’s laws. The COPE Act would set a national standard of very few hoops and put enforcement of those standards (right down to disputes about your cable bill) in the hands of the FCC. Some feel the FCC is not cut out for this type of arbitration. In addition, they contend that local laws that currently prevent companies from participating in unfair practices, such as providing cable only to affluent communities (known as “redlining”), would be rendered useless under this act.
Another concern involves net neutrality. Opponents of the bill feel it threatens net neutrality by putting its enforcement in the hands of the FCC without actually requiring the FCC to do anything about it. They’re also not crazy about the edgy-content-averse commission getting within twenty feet of regulating the relatively uncensored Internet. The fact that large telecom companies such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, notorious opponents of net neutrality, are in favor of the bill strikes supporters of net neutrality as disconcerting. Supporters of the bill argue that it benefits consumers by increasing competition, and that any arguments over net neutrality are a distraction from this benefit.
David Thomas, CEO at Evident, is an accomplished cybersecurity entrepreneur. He has a history of introducing innovative technologies, establishing them in the market, and driving growth – with each early-stage company emerging as the market leader.