Why and how should innovative industries with high consumer switching costs be re-regulated?
The existence of costs to consumers to switch between products is central to the process by which firms set prices. Their effect on the introduction and diffusion of innovative technologies is not by now well understood, however. This paper aims to study this effect based on evidence in the broadband Internet industry and to discuss the movement of deregulation implemented since the early 2000s in France, as well as the apparent emerging potential of re-regulation. We argue the presence of a cost to consumers to switch between technologies may impede the expected beneficial outcomes of self-regulation through competition in liberalised innovative industries as it has been implemented so far in several countries. We provide a measure of the cost to switch from ADSL to cable for retail consumers in France which supports the domination of the former technology. These results suggest that retail broadband Internet markets may need some sort of re-regulation, including new principles for competition policy, to avoid the unwanted effects of consumer switching costs.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
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