IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Assessing the Economic Gains from Telecom Competition


  • Richard N. Clarke
  • Kevin A. Hassett
  • Zoya Ivanova
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff


This paper develops and simulates a dynamic model of strategic telecom competition. The goal is to understand how regulatory policy, particularly relative to lease charges for local network elements, affects telecom competition, investment, retail prices, and consumer welfare. The model assumes two products, local voice service and data (broadband), and three types of players the regional Bell operating companies, referred to as incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), cable companies (Cables), and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). The game begins with a) ILECs established in each county with respect to the provision of local voice and data services and b) Cables established in roughly half of the counties with respect to the provision of data.There are one-time fixed costs of entering a county, product- and period-specific costs of operating in a county, and marginal costs of supplying each product. Economies of scope reduce the fixed entry and operating costs of supplying both products in a given county at a given point in time. Finally, in supplying telecom services in a given county, CLECs may enter by leasing ILEC infrastructure at specified access rates. The requirement that ILECs allow CLECs to lease their local network facilities was established in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as part of a quid pro quo that promised ILECs entry into the long distance market. But the ILECs continue to contest the quid. The ILECs support their position by suggesting that leased access reduces telecom investment and output and raises telecom prices. Our model considers the entire range of options available to each of the players, but it reaches the opposite conclusion. Indeed, we find thatif UNE-P rates were set at the Supreme Court-approved total element long-run incremental cost (TELRIC) levels, telecom investment and employment outlays would increase by over one fifth in counties containing the majority of the U.S. population and by over 30 percent in counties containing almost a third of the population. The present value of telecom outlays over the next 5 and 20 years would rise by $71 billion and $155 billion, respectively. On average, the switch from actual to TELRIC UNE rates would lower local phone rates across the country's 3108 counties by $57 per year, generating annual total savings to consumers of $15 billion. Almost two fifths of the population would experience reductions in local phone rates of 20 percent or more. Over one fifth would experience rate reductions of 30 percent or more. These findings of price reductions are based on a fairly conservative parameterization of our model with respect to the specification of true ILEC and CLEC incremental long-run production costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard N. Clarke & Kevin A. Hassett & Zoya Ivanova & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2004. "Assessing the Economic Gains from Telecom Competition," NBER Working Papers 10482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10482
    Note: IO

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oecd, 2001. "The Development of Broadband Access in the OECD Countries," OECD Digital Economy Papers 56, OECD Publishing.
    2. Aumann, Robert J., 1974. "Subjectivity and correlation in randomized strategies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 67-96, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kolko, Jed, 2006. "Why Should Governments Support Broadband Adoption?," MPRA Paper 3363, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Robert S. Pindyck, 2005. "Pricing Capital Under Mandatory Unbundling and Facilities Sharing," NBER Working Papers 11225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10482. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.