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Smart Grid & Spectrum – Setting the Record Straight

One of the key policy debates now ongoing in Washington DC is whether to set aside spectrum for use in the smart grid – spectrum that the utilities could themselves use for their own deployments. 

In a recent filing at the FCC, Cisco provided its thoughts on how the FCC might evaluate policies to promote and accelerate the use of smart grid technologies across the country.  As it turns out,  a portion of our filing was misrepresented in a blog and elsewhere on the internet, stating that we do not support additional spectrum allocations for utilities. In fact, we believe this is a critical issue at the FCC that goes beyond the boundaries of technology and should be evaluated based on business models and the need to accelerate smart grid deployments. 

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Sovereignty and National Security

Sovereignty and national security have always been key concerns for national governments. The need for self reliance and the avoidance of reliance on external parties are natural instincts for countries. In the early days, many developing economies adopted a policy of import substitution to avoid a dependence on foreign goods by creating domestic companies that can meet internal demands. Such initiatives also created jobs within the country to keep unemployment low. While these concerns and fears are legitimate and genuine, in today’s global economy, it does not make sense for every country to produce everything it needs, nor to have domestic companies run every industry.

For example, while steel is important for nation building, steel production is not something that very country can do or need to do. Instead, they buy what they need from whomever offers them the best value for money. Air travel is essential to international commerce, but not every country can produce their own aircrafts. Today’s main producers are Boeing and Airbus, and most airlines buy aircrafts from them. Extensive reliance on purchasing aircrafts from Boeing and Airbus has not limited the competitiveness and distinctive service level offered by globally successful airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. In the same breath, although many countries started with national carriers, not many have survived today, e.g. Swissair collapsed and the successor national airline Swiss was bought over by the German Lufthansa. Domestic production does not appear to be not a criteria for success.

What about the ICT sector?

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CITEL Seminar on Spectrum Requirements for Broadband Deployment

I had an opportunity to participate this week at CITEL’s seminar on Spectrum Requirements for Broadband Deployment. I titled my presentation “Spectrum Requirements for the Information Economy,” which I believe, this is what it is at stake.

There was overwhelming consensus in that one of the best policy determinations Governments could do to foster the development of wireless mobile broadband networks is putting spectrum to work.

The presentation is available in the following url:

or click on READ MORE to view the video.

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Lisbon “Yes” could help Ireland’s “Smart Economy”

Lisbon “Yes” could help Ireland’s “Smart Economy”: October 3, 2009: Mike Conroy, General Manager, Cisco Galway Development Centre; Kim Majerus, Managing Director, Cisco Ireland and Monique Meche, Director, Government Affairs, Ireland

This afternoon, it became clear that Irish voters have accepted the Lisbon Treaty by a decisive majority and are satisfied that by retaining their EU Commissioner and local control over matters such as taxation, Ireland is ready to continue as a strong participant in the European Union.

This is great news for the citizens of Ireland and for companies like Cisco.  Ireland has played an important part in the development of some of our most innovative technologies. The future of Cisco’s unified communication portfolio is being researched and developed in Galway. 

Technology will play a central role in Ireland’s stated ambition to become a “Smart Economy”.  Being a strong and participative member at the heart of the European Union, combined with an open business environment for global technology companies, will undoubtedly help Ireland realise this ambition. 

Ireland has always prided itself on being a gateway to Europe for many global technology companies, including Cisco. Today’s result will ensure that important role continues for decades to come.

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“Unemployable, f***ing headbangers”

The colourful Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, Ireland and Europe’s largest low-cost air carrier, has a certain way with words which must be a dream for journalists looking for a soundbite on the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty.  O’Leary cut out the niceties in using the title quote of this blog to describe the ‘No’ supporters.  Often portrayed as dull and too complex to understand, the Lisbon Treaty has nonetheless created plenty of fireworks between the opposing sides – with each accusing the other of misinformation and dirty tricks.

The Irish referendum this week is seen as the key hurdle to adopting Lisbon, which will reform the current institutional set-up of the EU.  With the likes of Ryanair, Intel and Microsoft lining up behind the ‘Yes’ campaign, the question I’m interested in is why so many in business, and the high tech sector in particular, are supporting the Treaty?

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