For the Oral Session on Regulatory Permits and Network Security, Kent Bressie is presenting on how companies cope with National Security Regulations of undersea cables.

“Today I'd like to talk a little bit about a subject that fills cable providers and investors with feeling of dread,” began Bressie.  Security is the word on everyone's lips, says Bressie. There has been a shift in perception.  So much so that when there is a break in a cable, the first thought isn't an accident, but a terrorist attack.  This has led to all sorts of new oversight by governments.

“This kind of scrutiny and regulation has the potential to increase costs significantly,” Bressie said.

He devote a little time explaining national security.  Apparently, the treaties don't properly define what is meant as national security, because countries often define it differently.  Risks that are feared include malicious attacks like terrorism or cyber attacks, impediments to facilitating policy.  Then there are non-malicious risks.

These continue to be the main risk to cable systems.  They include things like vessel anchors, commercial fishing, earthquakes, or tsunamis.

Activities surrounding undersea cables that are scrutinized by governments include things like: system ownership, choice of lenders and finance, management and employees, network design, maintenance, and more and more.

Regulations that have been employed focus on a few different aspects.  Cyber security is high on the list, according to Bressie.  Security reviews have also been used to examine infrastructure.  Such reviews have also been used to examine ownership, mainly of foreign investors.

“Governments seem to be getting back into the business, which gives them control over procurement,” Bressie said.  Governments are buy systems again.

Other remedies that governments are employing include surveillance, local content requirements, and more.

These reviews and regulations do have consequences.  Companies can lose revenue due to project delays and higher compliance costs (which can even go up) are just a couple.

Bressie recommends that a company should make sure that they understand new regulations and that their managers do as well.