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On the weal and woe of internet traffic management in Europe: A critical appraisal from a network economic perspective

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  • Stocker, Volker

Abstract

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has recently proposed a framework to assess the reasonableness of traffic management (TM) practices. This paper discusses BEREC's proposal from a network economic perspective focusing on the underlying concepts of congestion, application-agnosticism and layer separation. It can be shown that within the current European regulatory framework the adverse use of TM by network operators is no cause for concern as long as regulatory objectives are fulfilled and significant market power is adequately disciplined. Furthermore, entrepreneurial search processes for optimal price and quality differentiation may require the implementation of TM practices which deviate from strict application-agnosticism and thus violate BEREC's layer separation principle. They may according to BEREC be labeled unreasonable. Instead of the complex case-by-case assessment inducing regulatory micro-management necessary in BEREC's framework, an alternative from a network economic perspective is proposed. Based on an economic understanding of congestion, a market-driven interpretation of applicationagnosticism and a corresponding layer separation constitute the main pillars of a resilient and dynamic understanding of TM.

Suggested Citation

  • Stocker, Volker, 2013. "On the weal and woe of internet traffic management in Europe: A critical appraisal from a network economic perspective," 24th European Regional ITS Conference, Florence 2013 88542, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:itse13:88542
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blankart, Charles B. & Knieps, Günter & Zenhäusern, Patrick, 2007. "Regulation of new markets in telecommunications? Market dynamics and shrinking monopolistic bottlenecks," Discussion Papers 112 [rev.], University of Freiburg, Institute for Transport Economics and Regional Policy.
    2. Knieps, Günter & Zenhäusern, Patrick, 2008. "The fallacies of network neutrality regulation," Discussion Papers 115 [rev.], University of Freiburg, Institute for Transport Economics and Regional Policy.
    3. Knieps, Gunter, 1997. "Phasing Out Sector-Specific Regulation in Competitive Telecommunications," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 325-339.
    4. Günter Knieps, 2011. "Network neutrality and the evolution of the internet," International Journal of Management and Network Economics, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(1), pages 24-38.
    5. Robin S. Lee & Tim Wu, 2009. "Subsidizing Creativity through Network Design: Zero-Pricing and Net Neutrality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 61-76, Summer.
    6. G. Knieps & P. Zenhäusern, 2008. "The Fallacies of Network Neutrality Regulation," Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, Intersentia, vol. 9(2), pages 119-135, June.
    7. Günter Knieps & Patrick Zenhäusern, 2014. "Regulatory fallacies in global telecommunications: the case of international mobile roaming," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 63-79, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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