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The involvement of utilities in the development of broadband infrastructure : a comparison of EU case studies

(2018) TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY. 42(9). p.726-743
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Abstract
Energy companies and other utility providers have been often involved in the provision of telecommunications services. Nevertheless, their contribution to broadband development has varied significantly over time. In the late 1990s, both local and national utilities in the European Union (EU) engaged in the provision of broadband networks, but only few of them managed to establish themselves as major broadband providers. More recently, new projects involving national utilities have been announced in several EU countries, opening new scenarios for utilities' contribution to Next Generation Access (NGA) development. This paper identifies and explores the factors affecting the entry and the success of utilities in the EU broadband market, through the comparison of four case studies from four EU countries (Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK). The evolution of utility involvement in the EU broadband markets is assessed against the interaction of market, technology and policy factors, focusing on the impact of policy and regulatory measures. As a result, this paper provides fruitful insights into the relevance and effectiveness of public interventions in broadband markets. Across the four case studies, public support and public ownership emerged as the main drivers for the involvement of utilities in EU broadband markets, with regulatory measures and economies of scope exerting a limited and decreasing influence. However, the contribution of utilities has varied significantly across the cases studied, reflecting the different approaches taken at national and local level to support broadband development, in spite of the common regulatory framework.
Keywords
NETWORK INDUSTRIES, INVESTMENT, ACCESS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, SERVICES, POLICY, LIBERALIZATION, INTERVENTION, COMPETITION, STRATEGIES, Utility providers, Broadband investment, Broadband policy, Open-access, networks

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Citation

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Chicago
Gerli, Paolo, Marlies Van der Wee, Sofie Verbrugge, and Jason Whalley. 2018. “The Involvement of Utilities in the Development of Broadband Infrastructure : a Comparison of EU Case Studies.” Telecommunications Policy 42 (9): 726–743.
APA
Gerli, P., Van der Wee, M., Verbrugge, S., & Whalley, J. (2018). The involvement of utilities in the development of broadband infrastructure : a comparison of EU case studies. TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY, 42(9), 726–743.
Vancouver
1.
Gerli P, Van der Wee M, Verbrugge S, Whalley J. The involvement of utilities in the development of broadband infrastructure : a comparison of EU case studies. TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY. Oxford: Elsevier Sci Ltd; 2018;42(9):726–43.
MLA
Gerli, Paolo et al. “The Involvement of Utilities in the Development of Broadband Infrastructure : a Comparison of EU Case Studies.” TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY 42.9 (2018): 726–743. Print.
@article{8581928,
  abstract     = {Energy companies and other utility providers have been often involved in the provision of telecommunications services. Nevertheless, their contribution to broadband development has varied significantly over time. In the late 1990s, both local and national utilities in the European Union (EU) engaged in the provision of broadband networks, but only few of them managed to establish themselves as major broadband providers. More recently, new projects involving national utilities have been announced in several EU countries, opening new scenarios for utilities' contribution to Next Generation Access (NGA) development. This paper identifies and explores the factors affecting the entry and the success of utilities in the EU broadband market, through the comparison of four case studies from four EU countries (Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK). The evolution of utility involvement in the EU broadband markets is assessed against the interaction of market, technology and policy factors, focusing on the impact of policy and regulatory measures. As a result, this paper provides fruitful insights into the relevance and effectiveness of public interventions in broadband markets. Across the four case studies, public support and public ownership emerged as the main drivers for the involvement of utilities in EU broadband markets, with regulatory measures and economies of scope exerting a limited and decreasing influence. However, the contribution of utilities has varied significantly across the cases studied, reflecting the different approaches taken at national and local level to support broadband development, in spite of the common regulatory framework.},
  author       = {Gerli, Paolo and Van der Wee, Marlies and Verbrugge, Sofie and Whalley, Jason},
  issn         = {0308-5961},
  journal      = {TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  pages        = {726--743},
  publisher    = {Elsevier Sci Ltd},
  title        = {The involvement of utilities in the development of broadband infrastructure : a comparison of EU case studies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2018.03.001},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2018},
}

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