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Chambers Cuts to the Chase With USA Today

Frank Talk on Important IssuesCisco President and CEO John Chambers gave some no nonsense responses to questions in a recent interview with USA Today. He explained Cisco’s point of view on net neutrality, on doing business with China and the company’s Scientific Atlanta strategy.USA Today: Since you’re in Washington, why don’t we start with the issue of net neutrality. Some Internet service providers want to stop treating all websites the same, and start charging extra fees for those who want to send content to users quickly. Much of the tech industry is backing legislation to prevent this. What’s Cisco’s stand?Chambers: Our country is running behind in broadband build-out. I’m interested in our country building out its infrastructure. For that to occur, I differ from some of my tech peers. My view is regulation is not the answer. If you don’t allow companies to build out with a high probability of a reasonable return, shareholders will punish them for building out.USA Today: What about the argument that we’d wind up with a two-tiered Internet and start-ups won’t have the same ability to reach consumers as wealthy companies such as Google?Chambers: I wouldn’t expect companies to pay for high-speed access - consumers will. If I want to watch a ballgame from multiple angles and perhaps telepresence across the country with my brother … to expect that free of charge is not realistic.USA Today: How about the consumer space? Cisco recently bought Scientific-Atlanta, a maker of cable set-top boxes for Time Warner and others. Is home networking panning out for you?Chambers: We’ve learned that entering a market you don’t understand by building products from scratch does not work. So we entered it by (buying) Linksys. We have over 50% retail market share. Combine that with Scientific-Atlanta.Video is hard. Only two players do it well, Motorola and Scientific-Atlanta.While we’d love to partner with (Motorola CEO) Ed Zander, it was too hard to move at the speed that was needed. So we bought Scientific-Atlanta.USA Today: Cisco equipment is used by countries such as China and Saudi Arabia, where the Internet is censored. What do you say about that?Chambers: We do not help any government modify our equipment or our code, not even our own. Whatever anyone does, they do off standard capabilities. It’s like anything you have - like the telephone. It can be used for good or bad.Make no mistake: The Chinese leadership understood that when they introduced the Internet, it would bring communications, capitalism and - my term - democracy over time. The benefits far outweigh any disadvantages.For the entire interview, go to USA Today.

Looking for a Cybersecurity Czar

Good Cybersleuths are Hard to Find One year ago, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the establishment of the office of Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Telecommunications.Now the Business Software Alliance, whose members include Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Apple, Dell and Microsoft, has asked Chertoff to go ahead and appoint someone to fill the position.The office, as described by the Department of Homeland Security, seems to be designed to be a key player in security matters, responsbible for”identifying and assessing the vulnerability of critical telecommunications infrastructure and assets; providing timely, actionable and valuable threat information; and leading the national response to cyber and telecommunications attacks.”Robert Holleyman, President & CEO of the Business Software Alliance, said the group is ready to assist the office.”We are hopeful that you and the Administration will soon be able to nominate a qualified individual for the Assistant Secretary position,” Holleyman wrote to Chertoff.”Our industry remains fully committed to assisting the talented staff assembled at the National Cyber Security Division and look forward to furthering the public-private partnerships established to better protect our nation in both the cyber and physical worlds.” Jarrod Agen, a Homeland Security spokesman, said the department is “close to the final stages of the hiring process,” CNET reported.

Bolstering NAC defense

An InfoWorld podcast on NAC Appliance 4.0InfoWorld security expert Victor Garza interviewed Cisco’s Rohit Khetrapal in a podcast and includes a PowerPoint to explain the launch today of Cisco’s NAC Appliance 4.0, which pushes ahead policy-compliant network security for distributed enterprises.Khetrapal sets out an overview of the NAC product and talks about how the security strategy goes”beyond the worms and virus battle.”

Wired for Home Entertainment

Study Says Households Ready to Get ConnectedMarket research company Parks Associates says home networking adoption is about to take off as broadband adoption grows and easier-to-manage interfaces are made available. The number of U.S. households with a connected entertainment network will reach 30 million by 2010, up from four million currently, according to study by the company.”Broadband proliferation is a fundamental driver of connected entertainment opportunities inside the home,” Harry Wang, research analyst at Parks Associates, said in a statement.”But more importantly, better network configuration tools and easy-to-navigate user interfaces will assuage consumers’ concerns about setup difficulties or application glitches.”CNET, in a story about the survey, cites Cisco as a company anticipating the trend.”œSince 2003, the networking giant has acquired home networking gear provider Linksys, cable set-top box manufacturer Scientific-Atlanta, and Kiss technology, a maker of network-based DVD and DVR players,” the CNET story, by Catherine McCarthy, (no relation), with a contribution by Marguerite Reardon, said.”œCisco said its home-networking vision is to offer devices that can be connected to the Internet, as well as to other entertainment gadgets in the home,” McCarthy wrote.”And it plans to offer the networking equipment, such as wireless routers, used to shuttle IP packets of music, video or interactive games throughout the home.”

Snagging PRSA Awards

Kudos at the City Club of San Francisco

As far as award dinners go, the Public Relations Society of America’s 2006 Northern California event more than held its own. Convened at the City Club of San Francisco, the Silver & Bronze Anvil Awards competition included scores of entrants from pr firms and corporations from around the region.

And guess what? Cisco scored twice. Anwil Award

A Silver Anvil Award for an Integrated Communications Program for business to business went to the company for “œCisco Systems: Celebrating 20 Years of Innovation.” Above, Abby Smith (left), and Heather Goodwin, both of Cisco Corporate Communications, accepted the award on behalf of the multiple groups that worked on the project.

Anwil Award

Cisco also won a Merit Award, for the Cisco IPICS Press Launch. Pamela Rupert and Robert Barlow, below, also of Corporate Communications, show off the award for the launch which was spearheaded by colleague Linda Horiuchi.