Indian Broadband Policy and Regulatory Resources

Competition and Universal access/service

It is believed that competitive framework for telecommunications services can foster reliable and affordable services to the people who otherwise would have been devoid of the services. However, there are a number of trade-offs that the regulatory regimes should look at before decisions of competition and universal access/services are taken. It is also important to acknowledge that these practices are also contingent upon the culture and economic condition of the country in question.

 Universal service policy in telecommunications does not have its roots in the desire to ensure telephone access to all people. Instead, early in the twentieth century universal service policy arose from the desire by the Bell Telephone Company, which constructed the first telephone network in many nations throughout the world, to stifle competition. Universal service did not mean that everyone should have a telephone. Instead, it meant that everyone who had telephone service should be allowed to have only a Bell telephone according to this paper by Brookings Institute on Universal Services in India. Therefore it is critical to ensure that Universal Access Policies do not stifle competition.

Links 

Impact and importance of competition on Universal Access – This link describes how Universal Access Policies affect competition and how to avoid pitfalls.

Articles

Telecommunication Competition and Universal Service: The essential trade offs – Can a government really create a world in which communications services will be offered on a truly competitive basis and in which regulations mandate below cost prices for some customers, expensive new services, and the scope of each vendor’s customer base? Are policy makers the world over fooling themselves and their constituents into believing that they can have it all? This paper examines the hard trade-offs emerging as governments try to open the telecommunications industry to competition and preserve (or increase) their commitment to “universal” access to telecommunications.