Kent D. Bressie

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Kent is a partner with Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP and heads its international practice.  An expert on telecommunications, international trade and investment, and national security regulation, he represents communications and technology companies and investors in a wide variety of cross-border and domestic regulatory and commercial matters.  He is recognized in the current editions of Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America, SuperLawyers, and the Legal 500.

Undersea Cables.  Kent works extensively in the undersea cable sector and represents operators, suppliers, and investors to address the critical issues they face, including:  national security and foreign investment; telecoms licensing; corporate and commercial agreements for construction and maintenance, capacity sales, system supply, landings, and financing; environmental permitting; market access; and the law of the sea.

  • His recent representations before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and Team Telecom agencies (the U.S. Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security) to obtain licenses and national security approvals include:
    • Facebook for the Hong Kong-Americas system and Pacific Light Communications Network;
    • Microsoft, Facebook, and Telxius for their U.S.-Spain Marea system;
    • Telxius for its Brazil-U.S. BRUSA system;
    • DOCOMO Pacific for its Guam-Northern Marianas Atisa system;
    • Microsoft, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa, and KT for their U.S.-Japan-Korea-Taiwan-China New Cross Pacific Cable;
    • Globe Telecom, GTA, Hawaiian Telcom, RTI, and Telkom Indonesia with their Indonesia-Philippines-U.S. SEA-US system;
    • China Mobile for the U.S.-Japan-Taiwan FASTER system;
    • Seaborn Networks for its U.S.-Brazil Seabras-1 system; and
    • Angola Cables for the U.S.-Brazil Monet system.
  • He negotiated the supply contracts for DOCOMO Pacific’s Atisa system and Bluesky’s Moana system.
  • He negotiated the U.S. landing party agreements for Angola Cables in the Monet system and for Emerald Networks (now Aquacomms) with the U.S.-Ireland AE Connect system.
  • He has led various industry-wide regulatory-reform and cable-protection initiatives and has long served as counsel to the North American Submarine Cable Association.
  • From 2013-2016, he chaired the first-ever submarine cable working group of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, leading the development for the FCC Chairman of three landmark reports on submarine cable protection.
  • He chairs the Legal Committee of the UNESCO/International Telecommunication Union/World Meteorological Organization Joint Task Force regarding the use of marine data sensors on undersea cables for disaster warning and climate-change monitoring.

Foreign Investment, National Security, and Cybersecurity.  Kent represents investors and business owners in a wide range of defense and critical infrastructure businesses to obtain foreign investment approvals from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) under the Defense Production Act and, with respect to FCC-regulated business, the Team Telecom agencies.  He has negotiated dozens of security mitigation arrangements with CFIUS and Team Telecom.  He advises network and data center operators on cybersecurity, wiretapping, surveillance, and related policy issues under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (“CALEA”), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”), and the USA PATRIOT Act.  He also represents companies to obtain and maintain security clearances for work on classified contracts and negotiates agreements with the Defense Security Service to mitigate foreign ownership, control, or influence (“FOCI”).

  • His recent representations before the CFIUS and Team Telecom include:
    • Euronext NV in its acquisition of currency trading business FastMatch;
    • Telefónica in the sale of a stake in its Telxius infrastructure business to KKR;
    • Amper and Bluesky in the sale of South Pacific telecom group Bluesky to Fiji incumbent ATH;
    • Apax Partners S.A. in its acquisition of satellite services provider Marlink from Airbus;
    • Level 3 Communications in its acquisition of Global Crossing and its sale to CenturyLink;
    • TE Connectivity in its acquisitions of Measurement Specialties, the SEACON Group, and the Deutsch Group;
    • Centerbridge Partners in the recapitalization of satellite operator LightSquared L.P. (now Ligado); and
    • Clearwire in its acquisition by SoftBank and Sprint.
  • He represents Ericsson subsidiary iconectiv (formerly Telcordia Technologies) in national security-related aspects of its transition to serve as the U.S. Local Number Portability Administrator.

Communications Regulation, Licensing, and Transactions.  Kent represents network operators, service providers, and software and equipment manufacturers in policy, licensing, and environmental matters before a variety of regulators and policymakers—including the FCC; the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense; state and territorial regulators; the International Telecommunication Union; and numerous foreign regulators (particularly in the Pacific and Caribbean regions)—to enable new network infrastructure, emerging technologies, mergers and acquisitions, and financing arrangements.

  • His recent representations before the FCC include:
    • Telefónica in the sale of a stake in its Telxius infrastructure unit to KKR;
    • Amper and Bluesky in its sale of Bluesky to ATH;
    • Level 3 Communications in its sale to CenturyLink;
    • Bluesky in its acquisition of Club 42 spectrum;
    • National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (“CFC”) in its sale of the Innovative Group’s fixed, mobile, cable television, and ISP businesses in the Caribbean to ATN International (including additional representations before governments of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, France, and St. Maarten), having previously represented CFC before those regulators and a U.S. bankruptcy court to acquire those businesses in 2009-2010;
    • Apax Partners for its acquisition of satellite services provider Marlink from Airbus;
    • Centerbridge Partners for its investment in the reorganized LightSquared (now Ligado);
    • Level 3 Communications for its acquisitions of tw telecom, Global Crossing, Broadwing, TelCove, WilTel, Looking Glass Networks, Progress Telecom, ICG, and Genuity, and for its sales of network assets to CenturyLink, DG Fast Channel, IDT, Pioneer, and Reach;
  • He served as an expert witness testifying in federal court on U.S. and Japanese telecommunications regulation in the Asia Global Crossing bankruptcy.

Export Controls and Economic Sanctions.  Kent counsels companies regarding compliance with U.S. and multilateral economic sanctions and export controls, and represents them before the Departments of the Treasury (OFAC), Commerce (BIS), State (DDTC), and Defense to obtain licenses necessary to consummate investment, financial, and export transactions.

  • He represented T-Mobile and the Competitive Carriers Association to limit the impact of BIS restrictions on exports to Chinese equipment supplier ZTE Corporation on U.S. consumers.
  • He advised the board of directors of a satellite operator in a strategic review of operations under U.S. export controls.
  • He has represented numerous telecommunications carriers, equipment suppliers, and NGOs to obtain favorable State Department guidance and OFAC and BIS licenses for transactions in Cuba, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
  • He worked extensively with U.S. Government agencies to develop their regulations for Cuba-related telecommunications transactions.

Trade Policy and Market Access.  Kent represents companies before the U.S. Trade Representative and foreign governments in World Trade Organization (“WTO”) matters, market access disputes (including disputes over goods, services, investment, and government procurement), and bilateral and regional trade negotiations.

  • He has represented telecommunications companies seeking to reduce India’s security, technical, and local-content requirements for telecommunications equipment and to promote joint U.S.-India cybersecurity initiatives.
  • He has represented undersea cable interests to ensure access in Indonesia for foreign-flagged vessels installing and repairing undersea cables.
  • He has represented DIRECTV to combat satellite signal piracy in Latin America under bilateral and regional trade agreements.
  • He served as a consultant to the World Bank, analyzing the impact on economic development of WTO commitments to liberalize trade in basic telecommunications services and investment.

Public International Law, Law of the Sea, and Maritime Law.  Kent represents companies in a variety of public international law and treaty matters, particularly those involving jurisdictional disputes among sovereign states and the law of the sea.  He has long represented undersea cable operators regarding treaty protections, environmental regulation, and cable damage disputes, and mobile carriers regarding the provision of international roaming and cruise ship-based services.

  • He represented submarine cable supplier TE SubCom to settle favorably a dispute over damage to the Hawk system between Cyprus and Egypt.
  • He represents OPT French Polynesia before the International Seabed Authority to protect its Honotua submarine cable from deep seabed mining activities in the Pacific Ocean.
  • He represented cable ship operators and the North American Submarine Cable Association to limit the impact of the Jones Act, U.S. Coast Guard regulations, and other cabotage restrictions.

Kent graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1994, where he served as Associate Editor of The University of Chicago Legal Forum and won the Joseph Henry Beale Prize for legal writing.  Prior to law school, he served as an economic policy intern in the American Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.  Kent graduated from Stanford University, with distinction, in 1991, and studied political philosophy at Brasenose College, Oxford University, in 1990.  In 2013, he completed the diploma course of the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, a joint program of the University of Virginia and four foreign universities.

Kent is a member of the District of Columbia and New York Bars, the American Society of International Law (Assistant Treasurer, 2003-2006), and the Federal Communications Bar Association (Co-Chair, International Communications Committee, 2017-, and Co-Chair, Global Telecommunications Development Committee, 2000-2003).  He is a native of Portland, Oregon.



Education

University of Chicago Law School, J.D.

Stanford University, B.A., with distinction

Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, Diploma

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