The Price of Copper and the Transition to Fibre

Communications & Strategies, No. 85, 1st Quarter 2012, pp. 147-168

22 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2013

See all articles by Martin E. Cave

Martin E. Cave

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School; Brunel University London

Antoine Fournier

Natalia Shutova

TERA Consultants

Date Written: 2012


The question of how to price access to the copper network during the period of transition to fibre has attracted much attention, both from regulators and in reports prepared by consultants (notably Plum Consulting and WIK Consult) acting for different groups of operators. Our paper considers three regulatory objectives - the two familiar ones of efficient cost recovery and efficient entry, and an additional one of efficient migration to fibre. It examines a range of possible pricing principles including the LRIC, HCA and CCA approaches, and mixed HCA/CCA approaches observed in France and the UK. These are simulated using a data set for the copper local loop in France, prepared by the regulator, ARCEP. Recognising that the number of instruments available to the regulator is less than the number of objectives, the paper proposes an approach which ensures nearly exact cost recovery, and which takes separate account of the obsolescent copper and of the continuing value of the trenches and ducts which contain it. Where full cost recovery allows it, the price of access to the physical works should be lowered to encourage the transition to fibre. The simulations show that the access prices associated with the proposed approach are lower than those derived from CCA and LRIC methods for pricing copper.

Keywords: access regulation, asset valuation, NGA networks

JEL Classification: L51, L96

Suggested Citation

Cave, Martin E. and Fournier, Antoine and Shutova, Natalia, The Price of Copper and the Transition to Fibre (2012). Communications & Strategies, No. 85, 1st Quarter 2012, pp. 147-168, Available at SSRN:

Martin E. Cave (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Centre for Management under Regulation (CMuR)
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Brunel University London

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

Natalia Shutova

TERA Consultants ( email )

32 rue de Jeûneurs
PARIS, 75002

No contact information is available for Antoine Fournier

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