November 02, 2010

Master Agent Legality Discussed By Lawyer Ben Bronston

By Erin Monda
TMCnet Contributor
Reprinted From:

Master Agent agreements are fairly common these days, but one might not think of the legality surrounding them. But there’s quite a bit of red tape and it is a fact that respected telecom lawyer Ben Bronston, acknowledges.

After all, he has made a career out of telecom law. “I’ve been practicing law for 21 years now, 18 of which exclusively in the telecom realm” Bronston said.

According to an article written by my fellow TMC (News – Alert) editor, Chris DiMarco, Bronston specializes in drafting law for startups, merger and acquisition assistance and regulatory compliance. He also offers consulting in privacy matters. He has worked as a consultant and/or lawyer for “many and most” telecom providers, focusing on reselling and agent/master agent related law.

In the quickly changing world Bronston’s expertise is invaluable to any telecom company looking for advice. With emerging fields of communications a common place undefined new law can be maddeningly complicated. Bronston said “The world is a vastly different place. The constant is that a legal contract is still a legal contract and it doesn’t matter how tech or regulation has changed.”

Chris landed this interview when Bronston stopped by to exhibit at ITEXPO (News – Alert)after speaking at the collocated Channel Vision Expo. “For the very first time I’ll be exhibit because of the newness of CVx and the fact that it’s collocated with a much bigger,” Bronston said when he sat down to talk with TMC.

Bronston’s recent cases have focused on the rights and contractual agreements amongst freelance communication service resellers commonly referred to as agents or master agents. His current concentration on the indirect distribution channel from the agent’s perspective is based in trends that have emerged as companies become more willing to use agents to sell their services.  Continual evergreen commission streams after a sales contract has been terminated have become probably the biggest issues in this regard. While effective in increasing productivity by allowing developers to concentrate on the development of products and service, outsourcing still poses a legal challenge in terms of how undefined it is.

“In terms of service providers there have always been niche players, as long as there is capital there will be someone working on the next best thing. Likewise from the sales perspective there will always be ingenious marketers and resellers who have a better mousetrap in distribution. Some of the cleverest minds in that capacity live within the telecom industry. You learn who the fly-by-night and the long termers are and who’s honest and who to stay away from. There are a lot of players but it seems increasingly small because everybody knows each other,” Just as Bronston finished this statement a group of other exhibitors stop to greet him, highlighting his words and offering insight into just how intimate the telecom space can be. Bronston’s presence at the show reminded attendees that behind the implementation and development of all the latest and greatest communications solutions, there are still loads of regulation and negotiation going on – particularly in the master agent space.

Mediating between sellers and providers requires intimate understanding of the field and the people who populate it. Which is something that Bronston understands in spades.

Erin Monda recently graduated from W.C.S.U. with a degree in professional writing. She primarily writes about network technologies, including cloud computing, virtualization and network optimization, however she also has a focus on E911 technologies and legislation

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