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Net Neutrality Debate is a “False Choice”

Today, I was talking to Robert Pepper, former long-time FCC’er and current Cisco colleague, and he described Net Neutrality as a “false choice.” The way the debate has currently been framed has it as an all or nothing scenario, i.e. you need to regulate or legislate or, the alternative, consumers get it in the shorts. This is just patently false. It is also too bad that some in this debate are trying to make this consumers vs. businesses. Do you really think that the big businesses who are arguing to legislate net neutrality have the best interests of consumers in mind? Sure they do…as long as it also makes them a buck. Our argument has been give to everybody access to legal appications on the internet but to allow providers to optimize the consumer experience, much like cell phone companies do. Let me ‘splain: If you only want to talk a little bit, then you only pay a little bit. If you want to talk a lot, then you pay more. If you only use your phone at certain times during the day (i.e. nights or weekends) then you can get a package that provides for that as well. In my mind, this is all providers are asking for – flexibility to give the consumers the best experience.The OTT’s (over the top providers) are saying that the government must legislate or regulate to keep providers from BLOCKING access. How many times has this actually happened you might ask. Um, that would be “What is once, Alex?” That’s right. Once. And the FCC quickly acted on this ONE misstep by a provider. Leave well enough alone…nothing is being blocked…and if something is blocked then there is already a mechanism for the FCC to act.

“The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

SAN JOSE, CA – This is a very interesting quote from science fiction writer William Gibson which I heard on KQED’s California Report this morning as they were doing a profile on the California Institiute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Cal IT2) at the University of California at San Diego. I encourage you to check out their site. It is definitely a nice feather in the hat of American innovation and the university system in California and the U.S.They are doing very cool, APPLICABLE technology projects there and it, of course, made me think of what we’re doing here at Cisco. Some we can talk about and, of course, some not so much.Some cool technology that we are currently showing internally is something I think is going to have a big impact. Can’t talk about it now, but I’ll leave you with this question: Will it revolutionize business travel? We will see, but as Mr. Gibson says, the future is here.So, based on this, here’s my new Cisco tagline co-opted from many sources: “Cisco: The Future of Telecommunications. Now.” I haven’t run that by marketing…and I haven’t quit my day job…but, that’s just out and out gold… : )

Immigration in the Spotlight…or is it Education?

SAN JOSE, CA – Today, and recently, there has been a big focus on the immigration debate in the U.S….as well as in other developed nations. Since I’m in the U.S. and a little closer to this debate, I’m going to focus my thoughts on this side of the ponds…and less on amnesty or a worker program then on the highly-skilled and highly-educated workers that are needed to motor economies.In this “world is flat” or world 2.0 era, if you will, the jobs will go to where the best educated workforces are – and (commercial) Cisco provides the technologies that allows for anywhere, anytime, seamless communications. The U.S. still has great universities that attract the best talent around the world. Noted Silicon Valley venture capitalist and education advocate John Doerr has stated that he thinks that all advanced degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math (the so-called STEM majors) obtained by foreign nationals should have a green card attached to them. Those U.S. educated workers, he argues, should be encouraged to stay and contribute to the U.S. economy rather than being forced to go back to their home countries – where, by the way, there are more and more opportunities for them. Read More »

2006 U.S. Elections…and, of course, 2008!

I’m in DC now having just finished up our internal government affairs team worldwide offsite (which when I started in government affairs at Cisco, by the way, could have been done at the water cooler). One of our external speakers was from the noted political poop-sheet The Hotline, published by National Journal. He spent his time talking about the ’06 election prospects as well as what he saw shaping up in ’08. I will attempt to paraphrase some of his thoughts as well as insert some of my own expert analysis.He (I will err on the side of caution and not name him as I did not tell him I would blog on this, although I’m sure he didn’t share anything that he wouldn’t have said to any external audience) currently sees the Democrats having a good chance of winning the Senate with possible pick-ups in OH, PA, MT, RI and MO. He said the tougher ones that could be possible pick-ups for the Democrats include VA, TN, and AZ. Read More »

In the event of a water landing…

I just got to DC from San Francisco International Airport, so I obviously flew-and boy are my arms tired. Thank you, Henny Youngman. The flight attendants were giving the safety briefing and they spend the majority of the time, it seems, on the”water landing.” Like most fellow passengers, I already know how to buckle a seatbelt and I will definitely put my oxygen mask on first before helping others, thankyouverymuch. However, will I really be using that seat as a flotation device? Will the slide from the emergency exit door really be used for a raft? I guess what I’m getting at -and I hate to sound fatalistic here -is, IF we really did have a”water landing” would any of these water devices be used? Have they EVER been used? Or, as I suspect, is all the”water landing” information meant to make us all feel a little better as we jump on the plane yet again?What is the technology equivalent of”in the event of a water landing” instructions? I suspect it is very much like”please refrain from using your typewriter until we have reached our cruising altitude.” Or, perhaps,”if you help that nice Nigerian son of the Treasury minister get his money to an U.S. bank account, you really WILL get a handsome helpers fee.” Or, better yet,”giving all your personal information online in order to win that free IPOD will, in no way, ever be used by spammers.”Okay, perhaps I’m just a little cranky from traveling.