In today’s Wall Street Journal, reporter William Bulkeley pens an interesting article on corporate America joining the blogosphere. I commend the read to all. However, what is most interesting (to me, anyway) is the list of at the bottom of the article entitled “Blogs from the Top.” The graphic reads: “Among the thousands of corporate blogs are some written by high-ranking executives. Here’s a sampling.” The list includes GM’s Robert Lutz, Vice Chairman; Jonathan Schwartz, President, Sun Microsystems; Mark Cuban, Chief Executive, Dallas Mavericks; Richard Edelman, Chief Executive, Edelman & Co.; and, of course, John Earnhardt, Senior Manager, Cisco Systems. Um, that John Earnhardt and this John Earnhardt are one and the same. Yes, I am very powerful.Okay, so maybe the WSJ researchers let this one slip by, but I commend them for their prescience. I commend them for recognizing raw talent. I commend them for listing our WWGA blog in the Wall Street Journal. Read More »
The title, of course, is what we in the business call irony. I’ve been a bit surprised from some of the coverage that we’ve received on our “net neutrality” position…posted on our external site here. We are said to be siding with service providers on their position and against legislation to mandate net neutrality rules. Both of those sentiments, it seems, could be said about many, if not the majority, of our public policy positions. I would tweak it a bit and say that we are siding with consumers, but that’s me with a Cisco hat on.Seriously, our number one goal here is to give consumers the best experience on the web that they can possiby get. Our other goal is to keep government from over-regulating anything that touches the web. Technology moves so quickly (Moore’s law anyone?) that by the time a regulation or law is made the technology has generally already moved past the regulation or law’s perceived effectiveness.I was talking to a colleague about this issue and he asked a great question, “How is this different from a cable or satellite subscriber wanting basic cable versus premium channels, on-demand, DVR, etc.?” “Great point,” says I. Very similar models. Our position says that a consumer should be able to access any legal website and application over the web that his/her bandwidth enables, i.e. basic cable/basic broadband – you get everything you pay for and any premium channels you don’t get because you don’t pay for. If you want a pay-per-view, for example, however, you could pay for that movie (or that web application) on a one-off basis. No different.One of my colleagues who is more policy focused and/or technology focused could come along and tell me that I’m not understanding this fully and that’s fine, but the understanding that I have delineated above makes perfect sense to me from a cable/satellite subscription model as well as a broadband subscriber model. Further, if a content provider wants to make sure that you get their content even though you only pay for a “basic” bandwidth, then that content provider should be able to reach an agreement with the service provider to allow you to access the application that may take more bandwidth than you pay for in your basic broadband subscription.Ultimately, it’s for a better consumer experience and that’s all we’re talking about.
I would like to draw your attention to an article on today’s “Telephony Online” website. Authored by Carol Wilson and entitled, “Whitacre Makes Internet Access Promise“, the article quotes ATT Chairman and CEO Whitacre as saying the following: “Companies are trying to scare people into thinking the Internet is at risk or that the Internet as we know it will disappear. AT&T is not going to block anyone’s access to the Internet and we are not going to degrade anyone’s quality of service. And that is not going to change no matter how much anyone talks about Net neutrality.”Although Mr. Whitacre and I may have slightly different paygrades and slightly different levels of impact on the telecommunications market, I would concur with his statement from where I sit at Cisco. The net neutrality issue is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist.Please read the full article here or cut and paste this URL: http://telephonyonline.com/home/news/whitacre_net_neutrality_032106/
ATW – The Alliance of Technology and Women – is holding a panel session on blogging on Thursday, March 23rd in Foster City, CA with some area bloggers to chat about their experiences with blogging at large and small companies, service business and non profits. Please come, won’t you?Panelists include: yours truly; – Robin D. Stavisky, Managing Partner of New Venture Marketing (Moderator) at http://newventuremarketing.typepad.com/; – Paul Rosenfeld, General Manager for QuickBooks Online Edition at http://quickbooks_online_blog.typepad.com/blogmain/; – Tara Hunt, Marketing Director, Riya.com (Panelist) at http://www.horsepigcow.com/; and – Britt Bravo at Blogher.org (the leading blog and conference for women “to pursue exposure, education, and community”), Youngcaucasus.neweurasia.net, her personal blog, Have Fun * Do Good, http://havefundogood.blogspot.com/ and http://www.netsquared.org/blog/britt-bravo. All may attend…for a nominal fee…the particulars are here: Date and time: Thursday, March 23, 2006, 5:30 -8:30 PMLocation: Applera, 200 (room 2A) Lincoln Centre Drive, Foster City, CA 94404Registration:For online registration, go to: http://www.atwinternational.org/chapters/silicon_valley/upcoming_events.aspx. The advanced registration is $10 for members and $25 for non-members (add an extra $5 for registrations at the door).
Net Neutrality has been a hot topic in technology circles, so I thought you would be interested in Cisco’s position. Here it is:Net NeutralityConnectivity Principles and Consumer ChoiceCisco has long supported an open and innovative Internet. Many of the Internet’s benefits come from its open nature and the ability of anyone to develop new and innovative devices and services that connect to it. Such innovation has created entirely new industries and has fostered competitive markets in Internet applications and equipment. Recognizing these advantages, Cisco helped produce the High Tech Broadband Coalition’s”Connectivity Principles” in 2003, which were embodied in the FCC’s Policy Statement of 2005. The Connectivity Principles and FCC Policy protect consumers with information and the ability to use the Internet in an open fashion. Cisco continues to support these principles:1. Broadband Internet access consumers should have access to their choice of legal Internet content within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plan. 2. Broadband Internet access consumers should be able to run applications of their choice, within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plans, as long as they do not harm the provider’s network.3. Consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to their broadband Internet access connection at the consumer’s premises, so long as they operate within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plans and do not harm the provider’s network or enable theft of services.4. Consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their broadband Internet access service plans.Network ManagementInnovation inside the network is just as important as innovation in services and devices connected to the Internet. As the Internet becomes better, faster and more integral to our economy and personal lives, it is necessary for broadband Internet access providers to use innovative technology to manage their networks to provide quality of service and new features and services to meet evolving consumer needs. Cisco supports the use of network management tools by Internet access providers to improve the Internet experience as long as there is no anticompetitive effect. Specifically, Cisco supports:- Broadband Internet access service providers should remain free to engage in pro-competitive network management techniques to alleviate congestion, ameliorate capacity constraints, and enable new services. – Broadband Internet access service providers should remain free to offer additional services to supplement broadband Internet access, including bandwidth tiers, quality of service, security, anti-virus and anti-spam services, network management services, as well as to enter into commercially negotiated agreements with unaffiliated parties for the provision of such additional services.Regulate Only if Problems Occur, Not Before In recent years, telecommunications regulation has had a difficult time keeping up with changes in technology and markets. Imposing specific network neutrality rules now to address hypothetical problems would only compound the problem. Rather, the FCC has taken the appropriate path by setting forth principles and indicating that it will take enforcement action in the event that problems arise. At present, there is no indication of any significant violations of the Connectivity Principles by broadband Internet access providers. Cisco therefore supports case-by-case FCC action only if and when it is faced with a specific complaint with respect to the Connectivity Principles or related anticompetitive behavior.