Quantifying the Benefits of Entry into Local Phone Service
Local telecommunications competition was an important goal of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. We evaluate the consumer welfare effects of entry into residential local telephone service in New York State using household-level data from September 1999 to March 2003. We address the prevalence of nonlinear tariffs by developing a discrete/continuous demand model that allows for service bundling and unobservable provider quality. We find that the average subscriber to the entrants' services gains a monthly equivalent of $2.33, or 6.2% of her bill, in welfare from competition. These gains accrue primarily from firm differentiation and new plan introductions rather than from price effects.
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