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Restructuring telecommunications tariffs in Europe: A historical analysis of the political-economics of tariffs in four EC member states

Joosten, M. (1993). Restructuring telecommunications tariffs in Europe: A historical analysis of the political-economics of tariffs in four EC member states. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

This thesis researches the influence of national and international political-economic factors on the evolution of telecommunications tariffs in four European countries: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Germany. It argues that in the past as in the present tariffs are far from an outcome of a simple, ’objective’ and straightforward cost calculation combined with an uncomplicated valuation and depreciation of existing assets and new investments. The reason for this is not just the traditional public ownership of the telecommunications operator, the PTT, nor just because of its legal monopoly: the main reason why telecommunications tariffs did not and do not reflect their ’true costs’ is that they cannot reflect ’true costs’ as that concept itself turns out to be a myth; or to be more precise: an ideological construct veiling the actual (re-)distribution of costs, revenues and profits between user groups and operators, nationally and internationally.

Using the French regulationists’ school of political-economy and their interpretation of International Relations a multi-disciplinary and multi- facetted concept called the Telecommunications Regulation Mode (TRM) is constructed. It incorporates national as well as international developments in technology, production, consumption, accumulation and regulation in a non-functionalistic and non-deterministic manner. This TRM is subsequently studied in a abstract, logical fashion (its logical working, consistency and stability) as well as in a historical fashion (its concrete international development as well as its concrete evolution in the four EC countries). For both the pre-Fordist as well as the Fordist TRM the specific variations per country are analysed, as well as the developments of cost accounting, cost allocation and pricing. Much attention is given to the demise of the Fordist TRM throughout the 1980s and the recent shift towards what is categorised as a post-Fordist TRM. The latter is, contrary to the Fordist model, characterised not by a highly centralised and standardised, relatively inflexible and monopolistic operator and standardised, inflexible and averaged tariffs, but by emerging competition in some market segments, network fragmentation, internationalisation and de-averaged, flexible tariffs.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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