Vertical separation of telecommunications networks: Evidence from 5 countries

Vertical separation of telecommunications networks: Evidence from 5 countries

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Abstract:
   
The widespread adoption of mandatory unbundling in telecommunications markets has led to growing interest in mandatory “functional separation” i.e., separation of upstream network operations from downstream retail operations. Since 2002, vertical separation has been implemented in five OECD countries: Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In 2008, the International Telecommunications Union noted “a tremendous amount of interest” in functional separation around the world; and, in April 2009, the European Parliament held its second reading on a new regulatory framework that embraces functional separation as an “exceptional measure.” While the U.S. does not currently require unbundling of broadband telecommunications networks, at least one influential group is advocating both unbundling and vertical separation for U.S. network operators. In this context, this study examines mandatory vertical separation in telecommunications markets from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. The theoretical case against vertical separation is very strong, predicting in particular that mandated separation will discourage innovation and investment in new technologies. The empirical evidence tends to confirm these predictions, suggesting that overall, vertical separation is likely to impose significant costs without measurably increasing broadband penetration.

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About the Author

 

Jeffrey
Eisenach
  • Jeffrey Eisenach is a visiting scholar at AEI. Eisenach has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget. At AEI, he focuses on policies affecting the information technology sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Eisenach is also a senior vice president at NERA Economic Consulting and an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Law, where he teaches Regulated Industries. He writes on a wide range of issues, including industrial organization, communications policy and the Internet, government regulations, labor economics, and public finance. He has also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.


    Learn more about Jeffrey Eisenach and AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy.

  • Phone: 202-448-9029
    Email: jeffrey.eisenach@aei.org

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