Purpose – To examine broadband competition and broadband penetration in a set of countries that employ the same regulation framework. To define the policy and strategy required to promote broadband in weak markets that do not employ alternative infrastructures.
Design/methodology/approach – Study penetration and competition level statistics from 2002 to 2005 in a set of countries with different infrastructures deployed, services provided as well as in their social-economic structures but employing the same regulation framework. Measure the level of inter-platform and intra-platform competition as well as the availability of bitstream access versus the incumbents' shares.
Findings – The paper concludes that a mature broadband market is the one that exhibits a high penetration ratio in combination with a high competition level. Bitstream access can counterbalance the inexistence of alternative broadband infrastructures, especially in weak markets. In particular the availability of numerous bitstream access types in combination with the proper price differentiation can fuel broadband adoption in relatively weak broadband markets.
Originality/value – The paper challenges the general rule that only platform (also known as facility) based competition guarantees long-term growth of the broadband market. Bitstream and resale access do not lag local loop unbundling and can be used in weak markets that do not employ alternative infrastructures to fuel competition in the relevant markets. Different policies and strategies must be followed, in that case, on behalf of the local NRA.