Network Separation

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 Models, Economics and Regulatory Implications

March 26, 2009

9:00am - 1:00pm

Columbia University

Uris Hall

Room 306

3022 Broadway

New York, NY

For over a century the relationship between telecom incumbents and those who rely on access to their networks to deliver their own services has been at the core of the regulatory debate. A range of approaches were tried in the US They include a segmentation between the local and the long distance networks, a divestiture, access regulations, unbundling, as well as accounting, functional and structural separations. Many of these approaches have been abandoned over time. More recently, the UK, Sweden, and New Zealand instituted separations policies that specified organizations structures and the terms on which access to the incumbent’s network is granted to other operators. In the US, the focus of debate has been on opening the networks neutrally to content and applications providers. Recently, the European Commission has introduced functional separation as a potential remedy. However, there is no agreement among regulators, firms and analysts regarding the potential benefits of this approach. This workshop reviewed some of the approaches, existing and proposed.



9:00 - 9:15: SETTING THE STAGE: Introducing the Issues

Eli Noam – Professor, Columbia Business School and Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information


  • As network separation has been adopted, a variety of models have emerged that take into account the specific national context of its implementation (UK, Sweden, New Zealand)
  • An examination of alternative models
  • Policy objectives and drivers
  • Alignment between regulators and incumbents
  • Impact on competitive dynamics

Moderator: Robert Atkinson - Director of Policy Research, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information

Giovanni Amendola, VP Equivalence & Regulatory Affairs, Telecom Italia:  Telecom Italia's undertakings: building up an operational separation model | Presentation (PDF)

Lawson Hunter, Stikeman Elliot LLP (Former EVP-Regulatory Policy Bell Canada): Canada's Structural Separation Experience | Presentation (PDF)

Richard Nohe, Chief Counsel, BT Global Services (US, Canada): A look at Openreach After Three Years | Presentation (PDF)

Raul Katz, Director of Business Strategy Research, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information: The US structural separation experience | Presentation (PDF)

Kevin Werbach, Professor, Wharton School-University of Pennsylvania Separation Anxiety: An American Story | Presentation (PDF)

11:00 - 11:15   BREAK


Assessment of impact

  • Ability of network separation to resolve the tensions that exist and the extent to which network separation
  • influences the willingness of incumbents and others to make infrastructure investments
  • How innovation fares under network separation | Presentation (PDF)
  • Regulatory experience in the management of structurally separated carriers: the cost of complexity
  • Economics of network separation: the cost of redundancy
  • Competitive experience: equal access, equivalence and benefits of competition

Moderator: Russell Neuman, Professor-University of Michigan

Craig Moffett, Vice President and Senior Analyst U.S. Telecommunications, Cable and Satellite Broadcasting-Alliance Bernstein

Stefano Mannoni, AGCOM Commissioner: Network separation: the European and the Italian Prospective

Lorenzo Pupillo, Executive Director Public Affairs,Telecom Italia: Impact on the Economy of Functional Separation: The Case of Italy | Presentation (PDF)

Richard N. Clarke, Assistant Vice President Public Policy - AT&T: Network Separation: Mission Imprudent | Presentation (PDF)