LEGAL AND REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS

Scope:

Strong trends featuring, amongst other things, condominium cables, open systems technology and the arrival of non-traditional players are changing the way projects are financed and, potentially, regulated.  At the same time, shifting geopolitical forces are directly impacting subsea projects.

This Masterclass will discuss financing trends and related legal and commercial issues, the extent to which regulation may impact or support the protection of and access to systems and recent regulatory developments.

The format of the Masterclass will be a mix of presentation and panel discussion featuring, in addition to experienced legal practitioners in the sector, representatives from leading industry stakeholders.

The Masterclass will cover the following topic areas and questions:

  • The distinctions in a subsea cable build from other infrastructure projects – how these can impact financing opportunities.
  • Are cable systems able to comply with standard project finance covenants and ratios?
  • Private equity houses and infrastructure funds are engaging in the sector; what investment criteria do such institutions typically apply?
  • Do cable systems need to adjust established operational models to meet such criteria?
  • To what extent does vendor financing continue to be offered to system operators? Is there scope for asset financing, eg of the cable or other equipment? What are the legal issues or concerns with asset financing?

Access and threats to cables: role of regulation

  • Submarine cable systems are generally recognized as critical communications infrastructure – but are they adequately protected under existing law and regulation against cyberattack?
  • In the face of perceived cybersecurity concerns will we see more data localization requirements? Will operators be required to implement more robust cybersecurity protections?
  • Recent trends in foreign investment controls (such as CFIUS). Will such controls likely increase in the face of perceived security threats?
  • Is there a risk of greater national registration requirements – such as seen in the previously threatened application in the US of the Jones Act?
  • Twenty years or so ago, the original PTT club cables were regulated to some extent to allow access to other operators. Will new regulation be required to allow access to a new generation of operators/customers?

Law of the sea – recent developments

Mike Conradi of DLA Piper will discuss the legal issues that arise and the allocation of legal risk involved in different elements of a turnkey submarine cable supply contract. Issues covered will include the risk of bad weather during construction, the legal meaning of a design life warranty and risk of cost increases following a marine survey.

Principal Instructor, Legal and Regulatory Developments
Stuart Blythe, Partner
CMS Cameron McKenna

Stuart Blythe is Head of Digital Infrastructure and global Co-Head of M&A in the TMC sector at CMS.

He is dual US/UK qualified and advises corporations and financial institutions on a wide range of corporate and commercial transactions in the TMC sector, often of a global nature. He has significant industry experience, having spent nearly ten years in general counsel roles for telecoms multinationals, including as international general counsel for MCI WorldCom (now Verizon).

Stuart has specific expertise in the construction and operation of submarine cable systems having advised on some of the largest deployed, including the USD 1bn Southern Cross project and is currently advising on projects in Europe, the Middle East , Africa and the Pacific.

He actively supports the telecoms industry and was previously chairman of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP).

ASSOCIATE INSTRUCTOR

Associate Instructor, Legal and Regulatory Developments
Ulises R. Pin
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Ulises R. Pin represents US and foreign communications and technology companies on corporate, financial, and regulatory matters. He also advises private equity firms, venture capital funds, and financial institutions on investments in the telecommunications, media, and technology (TMT) sectors. Ulises represents clients before the Federal Communications Commission and government agencies in Mexico, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. He has substantial experience in cross-border transactions. Ulises’s practice covers all sectors of the TMT market, including wireline, wireless and international communications, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), infrastructure projects (land and submarine networks), satellite services, and emerging technologies. He counsels on complex cross-border transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; public offerings; joint ventures; and private and public equity investments. He also represents public and private companies in international corporate and finance transactions across industries, including telecommunications, technology, energy, retail, and real estate. Additionally, Ulises drafts and negotiates telecommunications and technology contracts on behalf of telecommunications operators, equipment manufacturers, and large telecommunications users.

Ulises has also represented institutional, high-yield, and distressed debt investors in complex workout and insolvency matters in domestic and cross-border financial restructurings. He counsels clients on foreign investment, export controls, and embargo issues before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of Treasury, and the Departments of Commerce, State, Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice.

Ulises is a member of the Morgan Lewis CFIUS working group. He is a native Spanish speaker.

Associate Instructor, Legal and Regulatory Developments
Kent Bressie
Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis

Kent Bressie is a partner and head of international practice at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP in Washington, D.C. Kent specializes in cross-border and national-security regulation of telecommunications networks, investment, and technology and related public international law issues. He serves as the International Law Adviser to the International Cable Protection Committee and as counsel to the North American Submarine Cable Association. Kent works extensively in the submarine cable sector and represents operators, suppliers, investors, and cable protection organizations in a wide variety of law-of-the-sea, national security and cybersecurity, foreign investment, environmental, commercial, and maritime matters. Much of his current law-of-the-sea work focuses on: conflicts between submarine cables and deep seabed mining; excessive assertions of jurisdiction by coastal states through infrastructure permitting and cabotage; and environmental protection in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction. Kent previously served as a consultant to the World Bank and worked for the U.S. embassy in Stockholm, Sweden prior to law school. He holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and an A.B. with distinction from Stanford University. He is also a graduate of the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy.

Associate Instructor, Legal and Regulatory Developments
Mike Conradi
DLA Piper

Mike is one of the lead telecoms partners at global law firm DLA Piper LLP. He is rated amongst the leading telecoms lawyers globally by all the various guides and was the editor of the Communications Law Handbook. The legal guide Chambers and Partners says of him that “[he] produces punchy and straightforward answers – he’s direct and commercial, and gets to the point quickly.”

Mike has a particular interest in submarine cable systems – having worked on the legal aspects of more than 50 different cable projects during the course of his career. He has delivered a legal “masterclass” to every “SubOptic” event since 2004 and was the only private practice lawyer on the SubOptic industry legal standards working group.

MODERATOR

Moderator, Legal and Regulatory Developments
Joel Saltsman
Independent Consultant

Joel Saltsman worked for the past 12 years as a lawyer with Orange in international commercial law, specializing in networks, IT and submarine cable contracts. In that capacity he served as legal counsel to the ACE Cable Consortium from 2010 to 2018. He was previously VP regulatory affairs for SITA-Equant. He now works as a consultant and trainer, and is Secretary to the SubOptic Association. A member of the Ontario bar and a solicitor in England, he has an LLM from LSE and an MBA from ESCP Europe.