A major telecommunications bill intended to allow cable phone companies to compete with monopoly cable TV and Internet providers like Cox Communications was denounced Monday by Santa Barbara finance chief Robert Peirson in a meeting with the City Council and Congresswoman Lois Capps. Peirson charged the proposed bill – Communications Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE) – would strip local governments of regulatory powers and transfer limited oversight to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while restricting fees charged by local governments for public access funding. Capps voiced similar concerns about COPE, sponsored by Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), and said she would not vote for it unless they were addressed. Discussion on the bill begins the middle of this week.

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