Discussion Papers

Anna Maria Doose, Dieter Elixmann

National Broadband Strategies and its Implications for Competition Policy and Regulation

No. 352/March 2011

(full version only available in German)


Deployment of broadband infrastructure supporting high bit rate applications is proceeding in several countries in the world. In this context undertakings deploying fiber infrastructure directly to the end-user’s premise or at least "next to" the premise play an important role. These kinds of network infrastructures are based on fiber to the building (FTTB) or to the home (FTTH), respectively. On the one hand the fiber deployments are market driven. On the other hand governments all over the world have defined more or less ambitious broadband strategies and have begun with their implementation.

The present study is based on the implementation approaches of national broadband strategies in different countries of the world. It aims at working out which particular approaches are being discussed and implemented in order to reach specific macroeconomic objectives and competition policy and regulatory objectives, respectively. We focus on three particular issues. First, we analyze separation approaches for telecoms companies which in some countries are viewed as instruments to guarantee equivalence of inputs regarding network infrastructure (elements). Second, we evaluate concrete offers (or concepts of offers) for fibre based next generation wholesale services. Third, we identify approaches and instruments, utilized by different governments all over the world, aiming specifically at providing access to (high speed) broadband network infrastructure in un- and underserved areas.

Regarding the topic of separation, the study focuses on the countries and the main telecoms companies involved, respectively, in Australia (Telstra, NBN Co.), United Kingdom (BT, Openreach), New Zealand (Telecom New Zealand, Chorus), and Singapore (OpenNet, Nucelus Connect). On the one hand, our analysis concentrates on identifying specific drivers and objectives serving as a justification for applying the separation instrument. On the other hand, we aim at characterizing concrete forms of separation as well as the physical and/or logical interfaces within the network where separation actually takes place.

As to next generation wholesale services our analysis focuses on the one hand on the approaches in Australia and Singapore. We thereby analyze Layer-1, Layer-2 and Layer-3 wholesale services offering access to unbundled network elements and bitstream services, respectively. On the other hand, we address concepts from Austria („virtual unbundled local loop" (vULL)) and the UK („virtual unbundled local access" (VULA)). These concepts – albeit the name suggest an unbundled service – in principal can be classified as an NGA bitstream approach.

Concerning the analysis of approaches and instruments particularly aiming at providing access to the (high speed) broadband network in rural areas we firstly focus on the instrument of imposing a universal service obligation. Secondly, we examine the broadband initiatives for rural areas developed in New Zealand, the USA, the UK, and in France. Thirdly, we address approaches and lessons learned from the first release sites of NBN Co. in Australia, the role of regional councils in Finland, and the function of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations for broadband deployment in France.

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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