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Ben MacWilliams

Principal

About

Ben MacWilliams advises global satellite, telecommunications and technology companies on international market access strategy. 

Ben was previously at SpaceX, where he led Starlink market access for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. In that role, he spearheaded negotiations with regulatory and policy agencies related to foreign ownership, radio frequency spectrum access and fees, taxation, data protection and privacy, and security requirements to create favorable telecom licensing frameworks in dozens of countries. Ben also advises investment firms on due diligence for transactions related to space, telecommunications and technology companies.

Ben has substantial experience in the public sector, having served in the US Government as a Diplomat in the Department of State with overseas postings in the Middle East and Europe. In that capacity, he engaged with the public and private sectors on international policy issues related to emerging and disruptive technologies, developing expertise in cybersecurity, telecommunications, 5G and the commercial space industry.

Ben does not provide legal services.

EXPERIENCE

  • Obtained the first ever Internet Service Provider (ISP) licenses for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband service in both the Middle East and Central Eurasia.
  • Obtained LEO Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) authorizations in the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Led negotiations with regulatory and policy agencies to secure concessions related to foreign ownership, radio frequency spectrum access and fees, taxation, data protection and privacy, and security requirements to create favorable licensing frameworks for LEO satellite constellations in dozens of countries.
  • Negotiated millions of dollars in annual recurring savings by successfully lobbying for reduction in spectrum access fees with senior government officials in multiple countries.
  • Led complex multi-stakeholder negotiations for more than US$50 million in international technology infrastructure investments to rapidly scale business across key emerging markets.
  • Led rapid satellite gateway earth station deployment to support the restoration of critical communications for disaster relief efforts in the South Pacific.
  • Advised venture capital firms conducting due diligence for investments in telecom, space and dual-use technology startups.
  • Engaged with the public and private sectors on international policy issues related to emerging and disruptive technologies, developing expertise in cybersecurity, telecommunications, 5G and the commercial space industry.
  • Managed key US government relationships with foreign governments in the Middle East and Europe.
  • Developed and implemented strategic risk management policies for US foreign policy programs in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, with a focus on complex physical, technical, cyber and reputational risks.
Languages
  • Farsi
Education
  • B.A., University of Maryland, College Park
    magna cum laude
  • The American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Media Mentions

  • “Uzbekistan woos Starlink, OneWeb to bring satellite broadband,” Space News, May 17, 2022
  • “Georgian Communications Commission authorises Elon Musk's Starlink project to launch satellite internet service in country,” Agenda.GE, July 14, 2022
  • “Space X’s Starlink to provide high-speed Internet services in Georgia with satellite systems from 2023,” Rustavi2, July 22, 2022
  • “Move to Connect Pakistan with Starlink Network,” Dawn, December 15, 2021
  • “Starlink to launch satellite internet across Pakistan,” The Express Tribune, December 15, 2021
  • “Bahrain to grant Starlink licenses for satellite and internet services,” Bahrain News Agency, April 27, 2022
  • “CRA Issues a Telecommunications License to Starlink Satellite Qatar,” Communications Regulatory Authority, September 28, 2022
  • “TRC discusses cooperation with SpaceX,” The Jordan Times, May 16, 2022
  • “SpaceX tests Starlink satellite internet service in southern Jordan,” Ammon News, October 31, 2022

Prior Experience

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Ben led Starlink market access for the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Eurasia for SpaceX. He also worked as a Diplomat with the US Department of State, serving in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

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