Price Regulation and the Financing of Universal Services in Network Industries
This article explores the complementary roles of price regulation and universal service regulation in network industries. It analyzes compensation for the universal service provider (USP) by public finances and a fund to which operators contribute. As long as the USP enjoys market power, price regulation may serve as a means to finance universal services. This implies allowing for price increases to compensate for the net cost of the universal service obligation. It releases competing operators or the general government budget from contributing to its financing but results in distorted pricing and reduced overall welfare due to inefficient entry. The analysis shows that current practices of costing and financing universal services may result in unintended market distortions. The article quantifies these effects and demonstrates how such distortions can be avoided.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
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