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

Gerli, Paolo, Van der Wee, Marlies, Verbrugge, Sofie and Whalley, Jason (2018) The involvement of utilities in the development of broadband infrastructure: A comparison of EU case studies. Telecommunications Policy, 42 (9). pp. 726-743. ISSN 0308-5961

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Utility providers; Broadband investment; Broadband policy; Open-access networks
Subjects: N100 Business studies
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 15:52
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 09:46

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