As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week submitted its proposal to Congress outlining a plan to increase the quality and the quantity of broadband connections here in the United States. By doing so, the United States is following on the heels of countries such as Singapore and Australia who have already adopted national broadband plans to increase broadband usage in their countries.
As a CEO of a networking company, my position on the broadband plan is not as clear as it might seem. There is no doubt that I would view any plan that increases the use of networking technologies and possibly accelerates the upgrade cycles of networking hardware and software as a good thing. However, some of my best customers, particularly those in the service provider industry, may have some serious reservations and concerns about further regulation of their business by the federal government. I must weigh both views in formulating my own opinions.
But, putting aside commercial interests, I believe that this is the time for the private sector to partner with the public sector to help not only create a national plan for broadband but to put the plan into motion. In addition, I believe there are at least two other areas that the private and public sectors can partner on (specifically in corporate tax and educations reforms) that will help keep the United States as the world’s leader in innovation, a position that is arguably more tenuous than it has been in more than 150 years.
This was the basis of a recent speech I delivered to an audience full of fellow CEOs and captains-of-industry. In it, I outlined a three-step proposal that the US should adopt to keep our competitive edge especially compared to countries in emerging regions that are less burdened with legacy technology infrastructures and regulatory structures than we are. Specifically, I called for action on these three areas:
One, work with the federal government and develop a sensible national broadband plan.
Two, introduce comprehensive corporate tax reforms that will result in more US exports of technology and encourage more R&D investments.
Three, increase our investment in educating our students in math and sciences through whatever means including overhauling our arcane public education system.
I have posted a complete copy of the presentation with notes below. You can download the full file by clicking on the icon. I would greatly appreciate to hear back from you with your thoughts – good, bad or indifferent – on my proposal. I hope to inspire a healthy dialogue on the three areas of action and to foster collaboration among businesses and the federal government to help get the U.S. recapture its history of innovation and economic leadership.