Manner spent 2017 advocating for spectrum for satellite broadband and testifying about it before Congress. Manner told lawmakers that using satellites in broadband was not only cost-effective, but that satellites were not affected by disasters on the ground. She believes 5G interoperability could be the biggest sleeper issue in communications. “If 5G is really what it is going to be, you are going to have so many moving parts and of course, you have operators who are in competition,” she says. “We saw this years ago when competition first came to the telecommunications market place and I expect we will see it again.”
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
Spectrum Frontiers and making sure there is adequate spectrum for satellite broadband especially with the critical role of satellite in 5G. Preparing for the upcoming 2019 World Radicommunication Conference on satellite issues has been critical. We are also advancing the application of our new Jupiter 3 satellite system, with an application pending at the FCC. I would also highlight the upcoming non-geostationary orbit satellite systems. We have an investment in OneWeb, a non-geostationary orbit operator, who is also a customer, and we have been working to make sure there is a regulatory regime to enable the use of these important systems. Finally, I would be remiss if I do not focus on space traffic management. With the space industry being so vibrant, we expect a lot more traffic in space. We want to make sure that space remains safe for all users.
What new legal issues do you expect in 2018?
Continued work on the 2019 World Radicommunications Conference, Spectrum Frontiers and of course, space traffic management are key. But I do expect we will see more FCC reform proceedings and these will be critical to the industry.
How is today’s political environment impacting your job and the industry?
We operate globally, so we always face changes wherever we go. This means we need to be agile in how we address issues. This makes us particularly adept at facing political change, wherever it occurs.
What is your golden rule for negotiating?
It is actually two golden rules – always listen to the other side and always be honest. That way, you build a good basis for your negotiation and ensure that you are actually engaged in negotiations with the other party, not just yourself. From there, you can build a solid relationship to get to yes.
What’s the biggest sleeper issue in communications?
I think it is 5G interoperability. If 5G is really what it is going to be, you are going to have so many moving parts and of course, you have operators who are in competition. We saw this years ago when competition first came to the telecommunications market place and I expect we will see it again.
What movie superhero would you most like to be and how would that character fit into the legal world of communications?
Boy, is this going to be cliché, but Wonder Woman. It is mostly because she uses her super strength, speed, stamina and animal like cunning to be successful (among other attributes). With technology and the regulatory and political environments constantly changing, it is important to have the same qualities as Wonder Woman to be able to just stay on top of issues and then to respond as quickly as required and in a way that ensure success.