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The FCC’s Moment is Now

With Senate confirmation of incoming FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, the FCC is now back at full strength.  A full plate of issues critical to the future of innovation and the national economy now awaits the five men and women who sit atop the agency.

Most FCC leadership teams are lucky if they get to decide one, maybe two, policy decisions of significant impact on the course of innovation and the national economy.  This leadership team has the opportunity to be the decision-makers on a number of critical matters. It is the FCC’s moment.

Among the key issues is radio spectrum – both in the licensed cellular and unlicensed Wi-Fi bands.  By 2017, the amount of mobile traffic moving over networks will be 67 times what it was in 2007.  Wi-Fi networks now carry half of all US Internet traffic, a number which will grow to two-thirds by 2017.  There is bipartisan agreement that more spectrum must be made available to ensure we can meet consumer demand, which is growing as a result of our ever-increasing reliance on smartphones and tablets, and the video and other content we consume every day.

The prior leadership of the FCC has successfully identified, and teed up, a number of spectrum bands that can be made available for broadband – 600 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 5 GHz.   Now these proceedings must be decided. The issues in these dockets are difficult ones – transitioning spectrum from existing uses to new uses, and in some cases sharing spectrum — and are not susceptible to easy resolution.  The FCC’s actions to resolve these matters over the next 12-18 months will determine whether our regulatory system is up to the challenges that technology change and consumer demand have laid at its feet.

And as the FCC swings into decision-making mode on spectrum, so too will it need to decide how to modernize and streamline the E-Rate program.  E-Rate is the cornerstone of America’s effort to connect schools and libraries to the Internet.  Since the program’s inception 15 years ago, it has connected 100,000 schools to the Internet. But the needs of modern districts and classrooms are much different than they were 15 years ago.  Fifteen years ago, having a dial-up connection in a classroom was considered cutting edge.  Today, we need 25 students at a time – in classroom after classroom — to be able to connect to video content over a wireless network.  Among others things, this requires ensuring that there not just be good connections to schools, but within schools as well.   Cisco has developed 5 major recommendations on E-Rate, to ensure that there will be high speed broadband in every classroom in America.  Our recommendations can be found here.

Finally, we’d like to congratulate Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly on their confirmations, and we stand ready to work with them – and the other FCC Commissioners – to find practical solutions to the significant telecommunications challenges facing our nation.

Statement by Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler on Introduction of the “Innovation Act”

“Cisco applauds introduction of the Innovation Act,  legislation which aims to address the growing problem of patent assertion entities, often called patent trolls.

“According to a new study released this week, the problem is getting worse.  Nearly 60 percent of new patent lawsuits are being filed by patent assertion entities, up from 25% in 2007.  They are targeting legitimate businesses with threat letters and costly lawsuits, in the hope for a quick and easy settlement.  According to one estimate, these profiteers cost American businesses $29 billion in 2011.  This is a problem that cries out for legislative action.

“The legislation introduced today by Chairman Goodlatte and others goes a long way toward addressing the issues.  It helps dry up the financial incentives that have allowed patent trolls to thrive and significantly increases transparency.

“We stand ready to work with Chairman Goodlatte and his cosponsors as the bill moves through the legislative process, and we are especially grateful for the support of Cisco’s local Representatives Eshoo, Holding and Lofgren for their cosponsorship of this important legislation to address a major challenge faced by America’s technology industry.”

Cisco and Oracle Support Cybersecurity Bill that Promotes Voluntary Industry-led Approach

Cisco and Oracle today announced their support for S. 1353, the Cybersecurity Act of 2013, sponsored by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and John Thune (R-SD).

In a letter of support, Cisco’s VP of Global Government Affairs,  Michael Timmeny, and Oracle’s VP of Government Affairs, Jason Mahler wrote:

“We appreciate the leadership you have shown to find solutions for the cybersecurity
issue, and in introducing S. 1353, the Cybersecurity Act of 2013. Your thoughtful,
bipartisan legislation is a significant step in developing the meaningful publicprivate
partnerships that are necessary to secure cyberspace.

Cisco and Oracle strongly support S.1353 and the voluntary, industry-led approach
you have taken. The legislation incorporates concepts that are important in the U.S.
and globally: a voluntary approach based on technology neutrality and innovation; a
focus on industry-led best practices, using the existing foundation and expertise of
the innovation-oriented National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the
protection of privacy; preventing conflicts with, and duplication of, existing
regulatory processes or requirements; and a considered focus on increased research
and development, education, workforce development, and cybersecurity awareness.

As leading information technology companies, Cisco and Oracle are squarely focused
on driving innovation and security into networks and systems. We appreciate your
sensitivity to the importance of technological innovation globally. Ultimately,
innovation will provide the best defense against cyber incidents and data breaches.

We thank you for your outreach as you considered a path forward, and we look forward
to working with you and others in Congress on this critical issue.”


Statement on FCC Effort to Modernize E-Rate

In opening this rulemaking, the FCC has taken a major step toward modernizing the E-Rate program.  

Since its inception 15 years ago, E-rate has connected over 100,000 schools and millions of children to the Internet in all 50 states.  It’s the cornerstone of America’s efforts to provide quality digital education to students, and its track record has been nothing short of amazing.

But given the rapidly changing technology environment, E-Rate needs to keep up with the times and ensure that our children have the skills necessary to compete in the globally connected marketplace.  Other countries are making major investments in digital education.  For the sake of our children, we need to do the same. 

Cisco stands ready to work with the FCC to modernize and streamline the program. 

Tech Leaders including John Chambers Call on Senate to Approve Immigration Reform

The tech industry is at its strongest in Washington, DC when we speak with one voice.  That’s just what happened today, when more than 100 tech leaders, including Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, called on the U.S. Senate to pass a strong and fair immigration bill.

Cisco believes that immigration reform is critical.  It will help draw the best, brightest and most ambitious minds from around the world to the United States, while treating those already here with more compassion.  This would be accomplished by reducing the green card backlog and by increasing the number of H1B visas available.  Such reforms would be good for our industry, for Cisco, our employees and their families.

If you care about immigration reform, then reach out to your Senator or Representative – and just as our tech leaders did today – make your voice heard.

Following is the letter released today.


Technology Leaders Urge U.S. Senate to Approve Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation

June 20, 2013

Washington, DC – More than 100 executives from the technology sector and leading innovation advocacy organizations today called on the U.S. Senate to approve comprehensive immigration reform legislation (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013/S. 744).

In the letter, the technology executives wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and all members of the Senate.The executives urged the Senate to quickly approve the bill that includes reforms to enable a more open and flexible U.S. immigration system for high-skilled workers.

The following is the text of the letter from leading technology executives:

“As representatives of the leading technology innovators, designers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and job creators in the United States, we write to request your support for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.  This critically important legislation would help ensure that America continues to be the location of the world’s most innovative and fastest growing industries—those that rely on intellectual property and highly educated talent.  Your support for S. 744 will allow America to better realize opportunities for innovation and job creation today, as well as secure our economic strength in the future.

“America is the most prosperous country in the world.  The U.S. technology sector employs over 6 million Americans and contributes $1 trillion to our country’s Gross Domestic Product.  Our success stems from our historic diversity, and the constant infusion of new and innovative ideas fostered by our democratic system of education and innovation. 

 “We applaud the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan sponsors of S. 744, as well as the bill’s bipartisan supporters in the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have collaboratively crafted and refined a comprehensive bill that would truly modernize a broken and outdated immigration system. We strongly believe the many reforms in S. 744 that impact high skilled immigration – including key improvements in the availability of both green cards and H-1B visas – will help address the national talent shortage in the near-term, while also creating a long-term pipeline of American workers through establishing a much-needed new fund for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, including computer science education.  The bill will also protect and better prepare American workers, and enable employers and entrepreneurs of all sizes in every state to recruit and retain the world’s best talent. 

Senate approval of S. 744 is essential for our economy to continue to foster innovation and invigorate many U.S. business sectors through an educated and highly skilled workforce of domestic and foreign-born talent.  Absent reform, if every American graduate receiving an advanced STEM degree gets a job, the U.S. is estimated to face at least 200,000 unfilled advanced-degree STEM jobs by 2018.   These unfilled jobs represent lost opportunities for our country, but with S. 744, we can fill these jobs, create new ones and invest in a future of economic growth.

We urge your support for S. 744, which will help to open a new path to American innovation, American economic strength, and greater opportunities for American workers.

The following executives have signed on to the letter:

Evan Burfield, Co-founder, 1776; Maury Blackman, President & Chief Executive Office, Accela;Khaled Naim, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Addy Inc.; Darrell Ford, Chief Human Resources Officer, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD); Pankaj Jindal, Chief Operating Officer, Akraya Inc.; Hannah Kain, Chief Executive Officer , ALOM; Eric Davidson, President, American Automation & Communications, Inc.; David A. Raymond, President & Chief Executive Officer,  American Council of Engineering Companies; Mike Splinter, Chief Executive Officer, Applied Materials, Inc.; Kevin Surace, Chief Executive Officer, Appvance; Steven Zylstra, President & Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Technology Council; Richard Lord, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Massachusetts; Morgan Reed, Executive Director, Association for Competitive Technology; Randall Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T;Carl Bass, President & Chief Executive Officer, Autodesk, Inc.; Kevin Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, Avaya Inc.; Jim Wunderman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Bay Area Council;Michael S. Scheeringa, President & Chief Executive Officer, BBA Aviation Flight Support; Brad Bullington, Chief Executive Officer, Bridgelux; Matt Reid, Senior Vice President External Affairs, BSA | The Software Alliance; Mike Montgomery, Executive Director, CALinnovates; Pasquale Romano, President & Chief Executive Officer, ChargePoint; Richard Lowenthal, Chief Technology Officer, ChargePoint, John Chambers, Chief Executive Officer, Cisco Systems; Kim Polese, Chairman, ClearStreet Inc.; Edward Black, President & Chief Executive Officer, Computer & Communications Industry Association; Todd Thibodeaux, President & Chief Executive Officer, Computing Technology Industry Association; Gary Shapiro, President & Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Electronics Association; David Spreng, Managing Partner, Crescendo Ventures; Kim Fennell, President & Chief Executive Officer, deCarta Inc.; Steve Price, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Dell; Don Means, Founder & Principal, Digital Village; John Donahoe, President & Chief Executive Officer, eBay Inc.; Ronald Sege, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Corporation; Vishal Verma, Partner, EDGEWOOD Ventures;Fabio Rosati, Chief Executive Officer, Elance, Inc.; Michael McGeary, Co-Founder, Engine, Belal Hummadi, Chief Executive Officer, ExciteM; John McAdam, President & Chief Executive Officer F5 Networks Inc.; Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer, Facebook; Jerry Mix, Chief Executive Officer, Finelite Inc.; Caroline Dowling, President INS, Flextronics; Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital; Martin Schoeppler, President & Chief Executive Officer, FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc.; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google; Rami Branitzky, Chief Executive Officer, Grok; Koichi Fujikawa, Co-Founder, Hapyrus Inc.; Josh Mendelsohn, Managing Director, Hattery; Fred Hoch, President & Chief Executive Officer; Illinois Technology Association; Thomas Fallon, Chief Executive Officer, Infinera; Dean Garfield, President & Chief Executive Officer, Information Technology Industry Council; James Gutierrez, Chief Executive Officer, Insikt; Douglas Melamed, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Intel; Adriane Brown, President & Chief Executive Officer, Intellectual Ventures; Paul Lovoi, Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Jan Medical; Kevin Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Juniper Networks; Mary Meeker, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers; Shaun Cross, Chief Executive Officer, Lee & Hayes; Josh Becker, Chief Executive Officer, Lex Machina; Marty Beard,President & Chief Executive Officer, LiveOps, Inc.; Karl Sun, Chief Executive Officer, Lucid Software Inc.; Geetha Vallabhaneni, Chief Executive Office, Luminix, Inc.; Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Tom Hopcroft, Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; Darlene McCalmont, Chief Executive Officer, McCalmont Engineering; Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft; Robert Greifeld, Chief Executive Officer, NASDAQ OMX; William Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council; Bobbie Kilberg, President & Chief Executive Officer, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC); Randell J. McMills, Senior Vice President, Regional Executive the Americas, nxp Semiconductors; Ralph Schmitt, President & Chief Executive Officer, OCZ Technology Group, Inc.; Eric Stang, Chief Executive Officer, Ooma; Chris Larsen, Chief Executive Officer, OpenCoin, Inc.; Safra Catz, President & Chief Financial Officer, Oracle; Joseph Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America; Maryse Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Pokeware; Paul Jacobs, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Incorporated; Lanham Napier, Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace; Steve Case, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, Revolution LLC; Rita Cepeda, Chancellor, San Jose Evergreen/Community College District; Barbara Holzapfel, SVP & Managing Director, SAP Labs North America, SAP;Denny McGuirk, President & Chief Executive Officer, SEMI; Brian Toohey, President & Chief Executive Officer, Semiconductor Industry Association; Greg Becker, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Bank; Carl Guardino, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Scott Lang, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Silver Spring Networks; Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association; Gary Yacoubian, Chief Executive Officer, Specialty Technologies, LLC, Andrew Ball, President, West RegionSuffolk; Virginia Klausmeier, Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder, Sylvatex Inc;  Steve Bennett, President & Chief Executive Officer, Symantec Corporation; Aart de Geus, Chairman and co-Chief Executive Officer, Synopsys, Inc., Scott Allison, Chief Executive Officer, Teamly Inc;Bruce Mehlman, Executive Director, Technology CEO Council; Shawn Osborne, President & Chief Executive Officer, TechAmerica; Alix Burns, Acting Chief Executive Officer, TechNet; Terry Howerton, Founder, TechNexus LLC; Grant Seiffert, President, Telecommunications Industry Association; Rich Templeton, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Texas Instruments Incorporated; James Brett, President & Chief Executive Officer, The New England Council; Steve Westly, Managing Director, The Westly Group; Ryan Rogowski, Chief Executive Officer, Translate Abroad; Robert Lally, President, TransPak, Inc.; Steven Berglund, President & Chief Executive Officer, Trimble Navigation; Stephen Kaufer, President & Chief Executive Officer, TripAdvisor; David Cush, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin America; Susan Sigl, President & Chief Executive Officer, Washington Technology Industry Association; Steve Milligan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Western Digital Corporation; Moshe Gavrielov, Chief Executive Officer, Xilinx; Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer,Yahoo!; Jeremy Stoppelman, Chief Executive Officer, Yelp; and, Mark Pincus, Chief Executive Officer, Zynga.

The leading technology associations organizing this effort include: American Council of Engineering Companies; Association for Competitive Technology; Business Software Alliance; Compete America; CompTIA; Computer and Communications Industry Association; Consumer Electronics Association; Engine Advocacy; Information Technology Industry Council; Inspire STEM USA; Internet Association; Partnership for a New American Economy; SEMI; Semiconductor Industry Association; TechAmerica; Tech CEO Council; and TechNet.

A copy of the letter is available here.

Media Contacts:

TechNet:  Jim Hock, 463 Communications, 202-463-0013 ext. 202, moc.364@kcoh.mij

Association for Competitive Technology: Jonathan Godfrey, 202-331-2130,gro.enilnotca@yerfdogj

Business Software Alliance: Randolph Court, gro.asb@chplodnar

CompeteAmerica: Kasey Pipes, 817-542-3870, moc.sepipyelroc@yesak

CompTIA: Lisa Fasold, 630-678-8558, gro.aitpmoc@dlosafl

Consumer Electronics Association: Laura Hubbard, 703-907-4326,

Engine: Eva Arevuo, 415-404-0991, moc.yrettah@aave

Information Technology Industry Council: Meghan Fletcher, 202-524-4389,

Internet Association: Betsy Barrett, gro.noitaicossatenretni@ysteb

SEMI: Deborah Geiger, 408-943-7988, gro.imes@regiegd

Silicon Valley Leadership Group: Steve Wright, 408-501-7853, gro.glvs@thgirws

TechAmerica: Stephanie Craig, 202-682-4443, gro.aciremahcet@giarc.einahpetS

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