How (and How Not) to Measure Market Power Over Business Data Services

Phoenix Center Policy Paper, No. 50

22 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017

See all articles by George S. Ford

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

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Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

The Federal Communications Commission recently outlined a “new path forward” for imposing price regulation on high-capacity telecommunications circuits sold to businesses and other telecommunications providers. The Commission outlines a two-step procedure for determining if it will apply rate regulation these Business Data Services: As a first step, the Commission proposes to determine “whether market power exist[s]” and where. If the Commission determines that market power exists, then the Agency proposes to apply a price-cap “style” regime to control prices. The problem, however, is that nowhere does the Commission define a meaningful concept of “market power.” To fill this gap, in this POLICY PAPER I construct a policy-relevant definition of market power. I then consider whether the Commission’s analysis is capable of identifying the presence of or quantifying the magnitude of market power for Business Data Services. As I demonstrate, it is not. The Agency’s analysis is unsupported by basic economics and good statistics, and is thus incapable of providing any meaningful evidence regarding the presence or absence of market power.

Keywords: Telecommunications, Regulation, Market Power, Broadband Data Service, Special Access, FCC, Federal Communications Commission

JEL Classification: L96

Suggested Citation

Ford, George S., How (and How Not) to Measure Market Power Over Business Data Services (September 2016). Phoenix Center Policy Paper, No. 50, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2913114 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2913114

George S. Ford (Contact Author)

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

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United States

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