Telecommunication and Internet - Economics and Policy




The course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the economic principles, dynamics, and policies that govern the telecommunication and internet industries and markets. It focuses on the infrastructure of the internet, both physical and logical.


Course Objectives:


Understand the telecommunication and internet landscape: Students will be introduced to the historical development, evolution, and current state of the telecommunication and internet industries. This includes technology, industrial organization, regulation, and other policies. Students will explore the emergence of modern telecommunication networks, the birth of the internet, and key milestones that have shaped the global communication landscape.


Examine network economics: Students will explore the unique economic characteristics of telecommunications networks, including network effects, economies of scale, the implications for investment decisions and market entry barriers, and regulatory responses.


Analyse market structures and competition policies: Students will dive into the various market structures that exist within the telecommunication and internet industries, including:  access to the internet by users, access to the infrastructure by firms, economic interactions between the autonomous systems (i.e. sub-networks) and other players (like internet exchange points) of the internet, implications for quality of services and network neutrality. Emphasis will be placed on competitiveness of markets, resp. market power, on the role of regulation, and how they impact market dynamics.


Investigate infrastructure investment and policy: The course will address the significant role of infrastructure investment in the telecommunication and internet sectors. Students will analyse the economic drivers behind infrastructure construction, government policies, and regulatory frameworks that influence investment decisions.


Address emerging trends: The course will address the latest trends and technologies in telecommunication and the internet, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, content delivery networks, and their economic implications.


Assess platform economics: The role of digital platforms in the telecommunication and internet industries will be addressed. Students will understand platform business models and the economics of multisided markets. In this context, the "hypergiants" of the internet get into the focus as well as the challenges and opportunities they present.

Teaching Methodology:


The course will adopt a combination of lectures, case studies, and guest lectures from (industry) experts. Real-world examples will be used to illustrate economic principles in action within the telecommunication and internet sectors. A few economic models will be analysed, but most of the issues will be addressed verbally.