IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The ladder of investment in Europe, in retrospect and prospect


  • Cave, Martin


The ladder of investment was adopted by many European (and other) regulators in the era of copper networks as a means of implementing unbundling in a way which progressively promotes competitive providers׳ infrastructure investment in fixed networks. The paper reviews the evidence of its application and effects, in comparison with the most likely alternative, argues that it probably conferred benefits. In the more recent era of transition to fibre in Europe, regulatory priorities have shifted towards promoting roll-out. Two broad approaches are identified; one continues the focus on a programme of infrastructure competition in taking fibre to the home; another, relying on fibre to the cabinet, reverses it with bitstream used as the access product. It is soon to evaluate the two approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Cave, Martin, 2014. "The ladder of investment in Europe, in retrospect and prospect," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 674-683.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:38:y:2014:i:8:p:674-683
    DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2014.04.012

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wolfgang Briglauer, 2014. "The impact of regulation and competition on the adoption of fiber-based broadband services: recent evidence from the European union member states," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 51-79, August.
    2. Bourreau, Marc & Dogan, PInar & Manant, Matthieu, 2010. "A critical review of the "ladder of investment" approach," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 683-696, December.
    3. Michał Grajek & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2012. "Regulation and Investment in Network Industries: Evidence from European Telecoms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 189-216.
    4. Marc Bourreau & Joeffrey Drouard, 2014. "Progressive entry and the incentives to invest in alternative infrastructures," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 329-351, June.
    5. Sen, Amartya K, 1972. "Control Areas and Accounting Prices: An Approach to Economic Evaluation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(325), pages 486-501, Supplemen.
    6. Crandall, Robert W. & Eisenach, Jeffrey A. & Ingraham, Allan T., 2013. "The long-run effects of copper-loop unbundling and the implications for fiber," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 262-281.
    7. Marc Bourreau & Carlo Cambini & Pınar Doğan, 2014. "Access regulation and the transition from copper to fiber networks in telecoms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 233-258, June.
    8. Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Valletti & Frank Verboven, 2015. "Unbundling The Incumbent: Evidence From Uk Broadband," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 330-362, April.
    9. Bouckaert, Jan & van Dijk, Theon & Verboven, Frank, 2010. "Access regulation, competition, and broadband penetration: An international study," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 661-671, December.
    10. Maya Bacache & Marc Bourreau & Germain Gaudin, 2014. "Dynamic Entry and Investment in New Infrastructures: Empirical Evidence from the Fixed Broadband Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(2), pages 179-209, March.
    11. M. Cave, 2004. "Remedies for broadband services," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, Intersentia, vol. 5(1), pages 23-50, September.
    12. Jay, Stephan & Neumann, Karl-Heinz & Plückebaum, Thomas, 2014. "Comparing FTTH access networks based on P2P and PMP fibre topologies," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 415-425.
    13. Dogan, Pinar & Bourreau, Marc & Manant, Matthieu, 2010. "A Critical Review of the “Ladder of Investment†Approach," Scholarly Articles 4777447, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    14. Vogelsang Ingo, 2013. "The Endgame of Telecommunications Policy? A Survey," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 64(3), pages 193-270, December.
    15. Martin CAVE & Antoine FOURNIER & Natalia SHUTOVA, 2012. "The Price of Copper and the Transition to Fibre," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(85), pages 147-168, 1st quart.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rendon Schneir, Juan & Xiong, Yupeng, 2016. "A cost study of fixed broadband access networks for rural areas," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 755-773.
    2. Bourreau, Marc & Grzybowski, Lukasz & Hasbi, Maude, 2019. "Unbundling the incumbent and deployment of high-speed internet: Evidence from France," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    3. Briglauer Wolfgang & Frübing Stefan & Vogelsang Ingo, 2014. "The Impact of Alternative Public Policies on the Deployment of New Communications Infrastructure – A Survey," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(3), pages 227-270, September.
    4. Klaus S. Friesenbichler, 2019. "What Explains Aggregate Telecom Investments? Evidence From an EU-OECD Panel," WIFO Working Papers 583, WIFO.
    5. Vogelsang, Ingo, 2019. "Has Europe missed the endgame of telecommunications policy?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-10.
    6. Vogelsang, Ingo, 2017. "The role of competition and regulation in stimulating innovation – Telecommunications," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(9), pages 802-812.
    7. Serdarević, Goran & Hunt, Matt & Ovington, Tom & Kenny, Clive, 2016. "Evidence for a Ladder of Investment in Central and Eastern European countries," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 515-531.
    8. Frias, Zoraida & Martínez, Jorge Pérez, 2019. "Rollout and regulation of Fibre-To-The-Premises networks. Insights from the Spanish case," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 225-237.
    9. Ingo Vogelsang, 2014. "Will the U.S. and EU Telecommunications Policies Converge? A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 4843, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Wolfgang Briglauer, 2015. "How EU sector-specific regulations and competition affect migration from old to new communications infrastructure: recent evidence from EU27 member states," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 194-217, October.
    11. Klaus S. Friesenbichler, 2016. "Österreich 2025 – Zur Zukunft der Telekommunikationspolitik in Österreich," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(12), pages 885-894, December.
    12. Francisco José García Paramio & Isabel Torre Díez & Beatriz Sainz de Abajo & Miguel López-Coronado Sánchez-Fortún & Joel J. P. C. Rodrigues, 2017. "How does the Spanish regulation of NGN affect to final users? Effects on the deployment of new FTTH infrastructures," Telecommunication Systems: Modelling, Analysis, Design and Management, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 391-415, February.
    13. Martin Cave & Christos Genakos & Tommaso Valletti, 2019. "The European Framework for Regulating Telecommunications: A 25-year Appraisal," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 55(1), pages 47-62, August.
    14. Vogelsang, Ingo, 2017. "Regulatory inertia versus ICT dynamics: The case of product innovations," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(10), pages 978-990.
    15. I. Vogelsang, 2015. "Will the U.S. and EU telecommunications policies converge? A survey," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(2), pages 117-155, June.
    16. Lehr, William & Clark, David & Bauer, Steve, 2019. "Regulation when platforms are layered," 30th European Regional ITS Conference, Helsinki 2019 205193, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    17. Vitor Miguel Ribeiro, 2018. "Dark fiber price regulation in the absence of facilities-based competition," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 45(2), pages 243-278, June.
    18. Garrone, Paola & Zaccagnino, Michele, 2015. "Seeking the links between competition and telecommunications investments," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 388-405.
    19. Falch, Morten & Henten, Anders, 2018. "Dimensions of broadband policies and developments," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 715-725.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:38:y:2014:i:8:p:674-683. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.