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Internet Interconnection and the Off-Net-Cost Pricing Principle

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  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques
  • Marcus, Scott
  • Rey, Patrick
  • Tirole, Jean

Abstract

We develop a framework for Internet backbone competition. In the absence of direct payments between websites and consumers, the access charge allocates communication costs between websites and consumers and affects the volume of traffic. We analyze the impact of the access charge on competitive strategies in an unregulated retail environment. In a remarkably broad range of environments, operators set prices for their customers as if their customers' traffic were entirely off-net. We then compare the socially optimal access charge with the privately desirable one. Finally, when websites charge micropayments, or sell goods and services, the impact of the access charge on welfare is reduced; in particular, the access charge is neutral in a range of circumstances. Copyright 2003 by the RAND Corporation.

Suggested Citation

  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Marcus, Scott & Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Internet Interconnection and the Off-Net-Cost Pricing Principle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 370-390, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:34:y:2003:i:2:p:370-90
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Patrick Rey & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Network Competition: I. Overview and Nondiscriminatory Pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 1-37, Spring.
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    5. Armstrong, M., 1996. "Network interconnection," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9625, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    6. Doh-Shin Jeon & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 2004. "On the Receiver-Pays Principle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 85-110, Spring.
    7. Michael Carter & Julian Wright, 1999. "Interconnection in Network Industries," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 14(1), pages 1-25, February.
    8. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Patrick Rey & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Network Competition: II. Price Discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 38-56, Spring.
    9. Gans, Joshua S. & King, Stephen P., 2001. "Using 'bill and keep' interconnect arrangements to soften network competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 413-420, June.
    10. Cremer, Jacques & Rey, Patrick & Tirole, Jean, 2000. "Connectivity in the Commercial Internet," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 433-472, December.
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