Find out more about our work on leading economic and policy issues.

Licensing fixed links

We reviewed ComReg's fixed links licenses and produced a series of reports supporting its fixed links consultation process.

Fixed links – radio links between two points (point-to-point) or less commonly between one point and several end points (point-to-multipoint) – are crucial inputs in mobile backhaul, fixed wireless access and many other uses. As bandwidth requirements have increased substantially and fibre is not an option everywhere, demand for fixed links and the underlying radio spectrum remains high.

The Irish Telecoms regulator, ComReg, commissioned DotEcon and Axon Partners to review its fixed links licensing framework and recommend adjustments to to support the varied use cases into the future. We developed a simple fee formula that proxies the opportunity costs of each link and made recommendations on available frequency bands, the licensing process and technical conditions. Read more here.

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Costs of network outages

A study on the economic and societal impacts of network incidents.

ComReg has published a study by DotEcon (with the support of Analysys Mason) into the resilience of networks and the occurrence of network incidents. It explores the prevalence and impact of connectivity outages using crowd-sourced big data and a large-scale consumer survey, capturing the heterogeneous consumer experiences of network outages.

We measure the relative performance of different platforms and find that diversity in backhaul networks is associated with greater reliability. There is evidence of power laws at work in the likelihood of outages of different scales, with a long tail of high impact events.

Consumers’ unmet demand for reliability would justify an investment of at least €2 billion into improving resilience, similar in scale to the Irish state’s contribution to its National Broadband Plan.

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Selecting a consolidated tape provider

We used our auction expertise to advise the FCA on a public procurement project.

The Financial Conduct Authority has published a study by DotEcon on how the UK Government might structure, regulate and procure a consolidated tape provider (CTP). Following the Edinburgh Reforms of wholesale financial markets, the UK Government proposes to create a consolidated feed of trading data from across all UK trading venues and approved publication arrangements, likely for bonds first and subsequently equities.

Our study forms part of the FCA’s consultation and considers the case for an exclusive CTP for each asset class, what obligations it might operate under and how a CTP might be appointed through a competitive process.

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Selling sites for wind farms

We look at options for auctioning of multiple off-shore wind farm sites

With the growing role played by wind energy, sites for the construction of wind farms are becoming a sought-after resource, especially in relation to off-shore wind. Where wind farm operators may previously have asked for subsidies, they are now prepared to pay for access to possible sites.

National governments resort to auctions for the allocation of these scarce public resources. The design of such processes has to take account of the specific needs of operators and the nature of the sites offered and to ensure that newly constructed capacity can be integrated into the transmission grid.

We were commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency – a part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy – to look at options for auctioning multiple permits for the construction of off-shore wind farms. The report setting out our recommendations can be found here.

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Direct and deterrent effects of competition enforcement

Analysing the impact of competition enforcement on the behaviour of firms

In addition to the direct effects through the remedies imposed, competition law enforcement can also affect the behaviour of firms in adjacent sectors (and more generally) by increasing awareness of competition rules and changing views of the likelihood of anticompetitive behaviour being detected and sanctioned.

We looked at the deterrent effects of specific cases by surveying businesses in adjacent sectors to find out how the enforcement action would affect their behaviour. Our findings indicate that the indirect benefits from deterring anticompetitive behaviour outweigh the direct benefits from the interventions, often by an order of magnitude.

The report is available from the CMA website and can also be downloaded here.

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Deployment of FTTP in rural Northern Ireland

Benefits of investing in ultrafast broadband in Northern Ireland

Good connectivity is seen as a major contributor to economic growth and a source of wider benefits from improved home-working opportunities and greater participation in the development of digital services.

There are reasons to expect that measures to increase rural broadband speeds could be particularly effective in Northern Ireland, given the relatively poor availability of high-speed broadband compared with both urban areas in Northern Ireland and other rural areas in the rest of the United Kingdom.

In a report commissioned by BT, we have estimated the benefits of a proposed £150m investment in extending ultrafast fibre broadband to rural areas of Northern Ireland at around £1.2 billion, a return of £8 for every £1 invested. Increased employment would be the largest source of benefit, but there would also be a significant contribution to productivity growth.

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