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The Economics of Free Internet Access


  • Marco Haan


In an increasing number of European countries, Internet service providers offer free Internet access. Telephone companies are willing to pay these providers based on the amount of traffic they generate. In this paper, we explain these phenomena. We argue that, by offering a contract that pays the provider a certain lump sum conditional on it providing free Internet access, the telephone company solves a double marginalization problem. We analyze this in a simple model in which only the Internet access market is studied, and in a richer model, where the regular telephone market is also taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Haan, 2001. "The Economics of Free Internet Access," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(3), pages 359-359, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200109)157:3_359:teofia_2.0.tx_2-c

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nirvikar Singh & Xavier Vives, 1984. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 546-554, Winter.
    2. Joseph J. Spengler, 1950. "Vertical Integration and Antitrust Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 347-347.
    3. Walter Y. Oi, 1971. "A Disneyland Dilemma: Two-Part Tariffs for a Mickey Mouse Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 77-96.
    4. David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rajeev Goel & Edward Hsieh & Michael Nelson & Rati Ram, 2006. "Demand elasticities for Internet services," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 975-980.
    2. Fioramanti, Marco, 2005. "Free Internet access: When is it suitable?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 302-316, July.
    3. C. Deligiorgi & A. Vavoulas & Ch. Michalakelis & D. Varoutas & Th. Sphicopoulos, 2007. "On the construction of price index and the definition of factors affecting tariffs of ADSL connections across Europe," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 171-183, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts


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