Carbonite President and CEO Mohamad Ali will attend tonight's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. as a special guest of Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.). Sen. Markey released a statement yesterday recognizing Ali as a leading advocate of net neutrality, and as a CEO whose personal story is one that should resonate with all Americans.
“Mohamad Ali is the American Dream, coming to this nation as a child, and through hard work, rising to become the leader of a successful technology company,” said Sen. Markey. “As a strong supporter of net neutrality, Mohamad recognizes the critical importance of a free and open internet for his company and its workers, and no one knows better that immigration is the lifeblood of the technology industry. He understands that America’s global competitive advantage comes from its openness to new people and new ideas, and his leadership on net neutrality is a model for the high-tech sector. I celebrate Mohamad’s story and success, and thank him for his commitment to diversity, job creation, and internet freedom.
“We are one vote away in the Senate from overturning the FCC’s partisan decision to end its net neutrality rules,” continued the Senator. “I urge my Republican colleagues to join the majority of Americans who support net neutrality and to co-sponsor my CRA resolution to reinstate the Open Internet Order.”
Markey and Ali have worked together in support of net neutrality regulations, which were recently overturned by the Trump administration and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
“I am honored to join Senator Markey as his guest at this year’s State of the Union address,” Ali said. “Senator Markey has been a strong ally in the fight to protect net neutrality and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to bring awareness to this important issue."
U.S. President Donald J. Trump will take the stage before both houses of Congress at about 9 pm EST in the U.S. Capitol Building. The president is expected to tout the strong performance of the stock market and his recently enacted tax cut package, among other topics.
Click on the player below to watch a WCVB Channel 5 news report on why Ali is attending the State of the Union address:
Net neutrality defenders
Enacted during the Obama years, net neutrality rules were designed to ensure that all traffic on the internet is treated equally. Net neutrality prevents large internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from slowing or blocking traffic to websites. Under net neutrality regulations, for example, a business can't pay Comcast to increase the speed of traffic to its ecommerce website while slowing traffic to a competitor's website.
Despite the efforts of Markey, Ali and countless other net neutrality supporters, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last December voted to repeal net neutrality regulations. Ali and other supporters of net neutrality predict the move will stifle competition and economic growth because it gives large companies with seemingly limitless resources an unfair advantage over the economy's real innovators—small and midsize businesses. Ali plans to keep fighting for net neutrality.
"Moving forward, I am eager to continue taking a stand for net neutrality in an effort to fuel healthy competition, innovation and job creation,” he said.
A nation of immigrants
Ali is also attending the State of the Union address to show support for immigrant rights and workforce development issues.
The Carbonite CEO believes the U.S. draws its global competitive advantage from its openness to new people and new ideas. And by embracing talented immigrants, the U.S. can begin to close the growing technology skills gap and grow its competitive edge.
A recent MassTLC "Economic Impact of Immigration" report found that:
• Fifty-eight percent of Massachusetts-based Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Those firms generate about $136.8 billion in annual revenue and employ approximate 466,892 people globally.
• Twenty-nine percent of new high-tech companies with at least one million dollars in sales in 2006 had at least one key founder who was foreign born.
• By 2020, about 1.4 million computer specialist positions will be open in the U.S. However, U.S. universities will only produce enough graduates to fill 29% of these jobs.