Assessing the Economic Gains from Telecom Competition

66 Pages Posted: 26 May 2004 Last revised: 24 Aug 2022

See all articles by Richard N. Clarke

Richard N. Clarke


Kevin A. Hassett

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Zoya Ivanova

Boston University

Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Date Written: May 2004


This paper develops and simulates a dynamic model of strategic telecom competition. The goal is to understand how regulatory policy, particularly relative to lease charges for local network elements, affects telecom competition, investment, retail prices, and consumer welfare. The model assumes two products, local voice service and data (broadband), and three types of players the regional Bell operating companies, referred to as incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), cable companies (Cables), and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs). The game begins with a) ILECs established in each county with respect to the provision of local voice and data services and b) Cables established in roughly half of the counties with respect to the provision of data.There are one-time fixed costs of entering a county, product- and period-specific costs of operating in a county, and marginal costs of supplying each product. Economies of scope reduce the fixed entry and operating costs of supplying both products in a given county at a given point in time. Finally, in supplying telecom services in a given county, CLECs may enter by leasing ILEC infrastructure at specified access rates. The requirement that ILECs allow CLECs to lease their local network facilities was established in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as part of a quid pro quo that promised ILECs entry into the long distance market. But the ILECs continue to contest the quid. The ILECs support their position by suggesting that leased access reduces telecom investment and output and raises telecom prices. Our model considers the entire range of options available to each of the players, but it reaches the opposite conclusion. Indeed, we find thatif UNE-P rates were set at the Supreme Court-approved total element long-run incremental cost (TELRIC) levels, telecom investment and employment outlays would increase by over one fifth in counties containing the majority of the U.S. population and by over 30 percent in counties containing almost a third of the population. The present value of telecom outlays over the next 5 and 20 years would rise by $71 billion and $155 billion, respectively. On average, the switch from actual to TELRIC UNE rates would lower local phone rates across the country's 3108 counties by $57 per year, generating annual total savings to consumers of $15 billion. Almost two fifths of the population would experience reductions in local phone rates of 20 percent or more. Over one fifth would experience rate reductions of 30 percent or more. These findings of price reductions are based on a fairly conservative parameterization of our model with respect to the specification of true ILEC and CLEC incremental long-run production costs.

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Richard N. and Hassett, Kevin A. and Ivanova, Zoya and Kotlikoff, Laurence J., Assessing the Economic Gains from Telecom Competition (May 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10482, Available at SSRN:

Kevin A. Hassett

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202.862.7157 (Phone)
202.862.7177 (Fax)

Zoya Ivanova

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-4002 (Phone)
617-353-4449 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Gazetny per. 5-3
Moscow, 125993

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics