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Using the economics of platforms to understand the broadband-based market formation in the New Zealand Ultra-Fast Broadband Network


  • Beltrán, Fernando


The government of New Zealand is currently building a nation-wide fibre-optics network, a project known as the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. The UFB network will cover 75 percent of New Zealanders over 10 years and will cost NZD $1.5 billion to the New Zealand government. The technical and economic characteristics of the new network will have a deep impact on the current landscape of the telecommunications markets. Institutional arrangements are in place for the development of the New Zealand's UFB: a government-owned agency, Crown Fibre Holdings (CFH); private investors who jointly with CFH own the Local Fibre Companies (LFCs) which will operate the UFB; and Retail Service Providers (RSP) that will provide end-user services by purchasing wholesale services to the LFCs. Relying on a normative economics approach that uses recent advances in the theory of platform-based markets with cross-network effects–also known as theory of two-sided platforms–the paper proposes a novel view of the way markets over the UFB will unfold. On one hand, the theory is used to explain the rationale behind regulatory decisions already made and their effect on the development of UFB-based markets for contents and services. Such analysis is followed, on the other hand, by the introduction of a simple taxonomy for the RSPs which provides the framework to argue about the most likely scenarios for service deployment and competition to develop over the UFB. The analytical framework reveals that the UFB ecosystem will be fraught with cross-network externalities which are the basis for regulatory decisions already adopted and the source of particular forms of strategic behavior adopted by the UFB-based market innovators.

Suggested Citation

  • Beltrán, Fernando, 2012. "Using the economics of platforms to understand the broadband-based market formation in the New Zealand Ultra-Fast Broadband Network," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 724-735.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:36:y:2012:i:9:p:724-735
    DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2012.06.015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean‐Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Two‐sided markets: a progress report," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 645-667, September.
    2. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    3. E. Glen Weyl, 2010. "A Price Theory of Multi-sided Platforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1642-1672, September.
    4. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Cooperation Among Competitors: Some Economics Of Payment Card Associations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 549-570, Winter.
    5. Oecd & Nea, 2012. "Multilateral agreements," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(2), pages 107-129.
    6. Crocioni, Pietro, 2011. "Net Neutrality in Europe: Desperately seeking a market failure," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-11, February.
    7. Oecd, 2011. "Framework Agreements," SIGMA Public Procurement Briefs 19, OECD Publishing.
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