Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Member, Internet Society Board of Trustees


Robert Pepper has been involved in Internet technical and governance issues for over thirty years beginning with his work as a visiting professor at the National Science Foundation in 1983. As a senior government official, he participated in the interagency working group that led to the privatization of NSFNet and for the last decade, he has been a private sector member and participant in ISOC and a frequent participant at IETF meetings. He has worked closely with ISOC’s global team as well as with local ISOC chapters on advocating Internet friendly policies, especially those focused on expanding Internet inclusion in emerging markets.

He currently helps lead Facebook’s connectivity and technology policy activities focusing on new technology development, deployment and adoption including being involved in Internet Governance issues. Pepper previously was Cisco’s Vice President for Global Technology Policy for more than a decade working with governments across the world helping them develop their digital strategies and address areas such as ICT and development, broadband plans, IP enabled services, wireless and spectrum policy, the Internet of Things, security, privacy as well as Internet governance.

Pepper was Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy and Chief of Policy Development at the FCC for 16 years beginning in 1989 where he helped develop policies promoting the development of the Internet, including decisions to not regulate the Internet as a telecommunications service, as well as leading teams designing and implementing the first U.S. spectrum auctions, implementing telecommunications legislation, and planning for the transition to digital television.

Before joining the FCC, Pepper was Director of the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy. His government service also included Acting Associate Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and initiating a program on Computers, Communications and Information Policy at the National Science Foundation.

His academic appointments included faculty positions at the Universities of Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, and as a research affiliate at Harvard University. He is on the board of the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute and has chaired the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy and has served on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and the UK’s OFCOM Spectrum Advisory Board.

Pepper received his BA. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Image credit: © Irene van Kessel