Telecoms and Internet access
Fixed, mobile, IP and more
We have many years of experience working in the connectivity and telecoms environment, including mobile and fixed line operations, as well as cloud-based voice service platforms. Whether you need a hand with regulatory compliance, are looking at rolling out a new network, providing a new service, want advice on engaging with a regulator or anything else, do drop us a line.
What our clients say
Senior manager, multinational communications provider
"perfect ... and a huge help"
General manager, Internet service provider
"a tech lawyer who is very clueful"
MD, business communications provider
"This is perfect and just what I needed... both the research for the actual question and mitigation of risk."
If selling connectivity or telephony is your business, you will want a robust set of terms which protect your interests and comply with the numerous legal requirements — a generic "off-the-shelf" contract is unlikely to protect you adequately, and could easily leave you in breach of Ofcom's General Conditions.
We'll work with you to understand the specific nuances of your business, including any obligations imposed on you by supplier contracts (common for wholesale telephony services) and any particular concerns you might have, and craft a set of clear, concise, and suitable terms.
We have experience preparing terms to cover a range of services, including connectivity, telephony, domain name registration, email and web hosting, co-location, and equipment sales. Consumer-facing services are subject to more limitations, and have more complexity, than services which are sold only to businesses.
On the flip side, we have reviewed numerous supplier terms, including cloud service platforms, data centre / co-location facility terms, more data processing agreements than you can shake a stick at, wholesale telephony agreements, wholesale connectivity deals (fixed and mobile) and more.
The regulatory framework contains a large number of obligations on providers, particularly of public communications services. In addition to changes in the law itself, Ofcom often publishes guidance on the interpretation of its General Conditions of Entitlement, as well as making occasional chances to the GCs themselves.
We can help you navigate this, to minimise your legal and regulatory risk, and support you in designing and operating your service in a way which meets both regulatory requirements and your commercial objectives.
Depending on the nature of your service, and the processing of personal data, you may also be required to carry out a data protection impact assessment as part of the design process. We have helped with these for a range of different services. If you have a very active development cycle, necessitating numerous impact assessments, we can help you develop an in-house process for handling these, including automated tools if that suits your approach.
We've a good track record in helping communications providers deal with unfair demands for payments, unreasonable customer demands, and with some high profile litigatino on telecoms-related matters..
In particular, we have successfully fended-off demands from wholesale providers for substantial charges for fault investigating services, for faults which were not the client's responsibility, saving tens of thousands of pounds.
While we will staunchly promote and protect your interests, we also recognise that you may need to have an ongoing relationship with the other party so, as you would expect, we balance robustness with a common sense approach and a reasonable, pragmatic tone, to resolve the conflict without burning bridges or jeopardising valuable partnerships.
Many lawyers claim to be "cybersecurity" experts — but how many have substantial real-world experience in this area?
Neil was the sole legal advisor to a major communications company’s technology security team, with experience advising on both strategic and operational risks, from network security planning and deployment and security testing strategies through to advice on dealing with in-progress cyberattacks and engaging with law enforcement.
Neil has also been involved in a number of security audits, including ISO 27001 and CAS-T, and has advised on cybersecurity information sharing.
See the Cybersecurity section for more detail.
Dealing with regulators
Whether you want to approach a regulator pro-actively and want a hand planning your strategy, or you need some advice responding to a regulator's request or demand, let us know.
We have experience responding effectively to Ofcom information requests as well as third party information notices and other correspondence from the Information Commissioner's Office.
Our focus is on helping minimise the impact of demands on your business and maximising your ability to provide services in a commercially viable manner.
Filtering and blocking
Worried about the risk of infringement, or faced with demands to filter or block traffic on your network or service? We have experience advising on both the blocking of indecent images of children and of "adult content" filtering, as well as broader issues of copyright and trade mark infringement blocking.
We have also provided guidance to voice services providers following voluntary requests for disconnection from authorities, relating to alleged spam calling, or CLI-spoofing activity.
In addition to his advisory work in this area, Neil led lobbying efforts in respect of the imposition of disproportionate obligations in the process leading up to the Digital Economy Act 2010 and his writing on the "porn blocking" part of the Digital Economy Act 2017 was cited in the House of Commons.
Neil has also advised on membership of the Internet Watch Foundation, and the associated funding framework, as well as the reporting of child sex abuse imagery to the appropriate authorities.
Received a law enforcement demand?
One of the very few lawyers with substantial experience in these areas, Neil can help you deal with demands from law enforcement relating to lawful interception, communications data retention, disclosure notices, decryption orders and other similar matters, as well as advise on strategy and lobbying.
Alongside his practical experience, Neil sits on the Independent Digital Ethics Panel for Policing, convened by NPCC lead for Communications Data, Assistant Chief Constable Richard Berry.
We are happy to discuss enhanced security requirements.
Warning: If you disclose the existence or contents of a notice or warrant relating to this type of demand, you may commit a criminal offence, so we strongly suggest you take legal advice on your obligations and options before discussing the matter with others in your company, and especially before any discussion or disclosure to third parties or the public.