Creating Capacity and Competition in Broadband Telecommunications: The City of Tacoma's Initiative

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Proceedings of the Western Decision Sciences Institute, April, 2000




This paper describes the process by which the City of Tacoma, Washington came to build an open access, broadband telecommunications system designed to promote effective competition in the provision of Internet and other telecommunications services. The decision by the City's electric utility to build a state-ofthe- art communications system as a strategic response to deregulation in the electric utility industry is detailed. And, the decision to provide open access to the telecommunications system to promote competition in the broadband Internet services market is considered in light of telecommunications deregulation. Tacoma’s open access cable system is analyzed in the context of contestable market theory. The state of broadband Internet competition is described, as is the current regulatory framework.