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Broadband Openness Rules Are Fully Justified by Economic Research


  • Nicholas ECONOMIDES

    (New York University's Stern Business School, and NET Institute)


This paper is an outgrowth of the filings in the FCC's broadband openness proceeding that focused on the issue of networks neutrality. Newly available data confirm that competition in the broadband access marketplace is limited. Wireless broadband access services are unlikely to act as effective economic substitutes for wireline broadband access services and instead are likely to act as a complement. Nor will competition in the Internet backbone marketplace constrain "last mile" broadband access providers. The last mile's concentrated market structure, combined with high switching costs, provides these providers with the ability to engage in practices that will reduce social welfare in the absence of open broadband rules. Allowing broadband providers to charge third party content providers will not necessarily result in lower prices being charged to residential Internet subscribers. The effect of open broadband rules on broadband provider revenues is likely to be small and can be either positive or negative. Price discrimination by broadband providers against third party applications and content providers will reduce societal welfare for numerous reasons. This reduction in societal welfare is especially acute when price discrimination is taken to the extreme of exclusive dealing imposed on content providers. Antitrust and consumer protection laws are insufficient to protect societal welfare in the absence of open broadband rules.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas ECONOMIDES, 2011. "Broadband Openness Rules Are Fully Justified by Economic Research," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(84), pages 127-151, 4th quart.
  • Handle: RePEc:idt:journl:cs8407

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Economides & Lawrence J. White, 1995. "Access and Interconnection Pricing: How Efficient is the Efficient Component Pricing Rule?," Working Papers 95-04, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dutz Mark A. & Orszag Jonathan M. & Willig Robert D., 2012. "The Liftoff of Consumer Benefits from the Broadband Revolution," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(4), pages 1-34, December.
    2. D. Bring & W. Leighton & K. LoPiccalo & C. Matraves & J. Schwarz & D. Waterman, 2015. "The Year in Economics at the FCC, 2014–2015," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 47(4), pages 437-462, December.

    More about this item


    Network neutrality; Internet; two-sided market; discrimination; prioritization; market power; broadband; access pricing; AT&T; Verizon; Google;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection


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