Reconciling the Off -Net Cost Pricing Principle with Efficient Network Utilization

Patrick DeGraba
Working Paper:

The off-net-cost pricing principle argues that under a broad range of environments a positive “access” charge paid by originating networks to interconnected terminating networks would cause networks to set on-net usage charges equal to off-net rates, and that these charges would fully reflect the access charge. However, other results in the literature provide reasonable conditions under which on-net usage charges will not reflect access charges, but would be set to induce the social surplus maximizing level of on-net usage. This paper harmonizes these two apparently opposing results by showing that retail usage charges depend on two effects. One is a rent seeking effect on the part of networks and the other is an efficient utilization effect. In models in which the rent seeking effect is more important, on-net usage charges will tend to equal their off-net usage charges and incorporate the access charge. In models in which the efficient utilization effect matters more, off-net usage charges will reflect access charges, while on-net usage charges will not be affected by the level of access charges, but instead will tend to be set at the levels that promote efficient on-net utilization.