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Cisco Hires FCC's Pepper

He still doesn't know how to use the corporate Web site to order pens and pencils, but in every other aspect of his new job at Cisco Systems, former FCC staffer Robert Pepper should be able to hit the ground running.

That's because Pepper, an advisor to six chairmen of the FCC during his 19-year stay at the commission, will largely drive the same type of evangelistic telecommunications policy agenda -- in such areas as Voice over IP, broadband services, wireless access and security -- that he did in his most recent role as the FCC's chief of policy development.

"I'll basically be working on the same set of policy issues, but now with a global focus," said Pepper in a phone interview Tuesday, his second day working for the networking giant. With a title of senior managing director, global advanced technology policy, Pepper will be working under Laura Ipsen, Cisco's vice president of worldwide government affairs. Pepper said his role will be similar to the one he performed at the FCC -- mainly, educating policymakers about new technologies and their potential impact on economic growth.

"It'll be the same kind of education I helped bring to the chairmen [of the FCC]," Pepper said. "I'll help people look at the cool new things, and try to understand what are the [policy] implications."

Cisco's goal in such matters, Pepper said, is to foster as much competition and growth as possible, so there is a larger market for its products. But the company, which has been mainly neutral in its lobbying efforts, is clearly taking a more-active role in the policymaking debate with the hiring of the well-connected Pepper.

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