The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume III
Edited by Gary Madden
Chapter 20: Regulation of French telecommunications and electricity markets
20. Regulation of French telecommunications and electricity markets Nicolas Curien and Dominique Bureau INTRODUCTION In French telecommunications and electricity sectors the state has gradually delegated regulatory responsibility to independent authorities. The Broadcasting Council (CSA) and the Stock Market Regulatory Body (COB) also hold such powers, however, they operate on established markets where public operators are no longer dominant and do not control essential facilities. Among network industries, telecommunications and electricity were not uniquely aﬀected by liberalization and market-oriented European Union (EU) directives – for example, regional air transport evolved rapidly toward a competitive framework with regulation based on common law. Conversely, liberalization of postal and rail services was postponed. Given the criteria of opening markets to competition and maintaining the public operators’ dominant position in certain market segments, with control over access to essential facilities, telecommunications and electricity are interesting sectors in which to study the emergence of independent regulatory authorities. Moreover comparison of the sectors is relevant because of their considerable economic impact and because the public sector companies involved, France Télécom and EdF, are deemed eﬃcient and potentially able to withstand international competition. NEW MARKET ORGANIZATION Both sectors exhibit similar organizational structures (see Table 20.1). Salient features include the preservation of the vertical integration of the incumbent ﬁrm; market liberalization based on regulated third-party access; and the focus of sector regulators on network access conditions and on the assessment of the net costs of public service obligations reimbursed 361 Table 20.1 Telecommunications (LRT) Electricity (LMDSPE)...
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