Auctions for Universal Service Subsidies
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires that telephone service be available in high-cost areas at rates that are "affordable" and "reasonably comparable" to those charged in low-cost areas. It also requires that carriers serving high-cost areas at below-cost rates be compensated with explicit and sufficient subsidies. This paper analyzes an auction mechanism for the allocation of such subsidies. It shows that in a wide range of circumstances auctions are more efficient than traditional subsidy schemes. It also shows, however, that auction designs aimed at stimulating competition among several subsidized carriers may be particularly vulnerable to collusion. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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