Competition & Regulation

Business Data Services

Another Failure of Free Market Fundamentalism to Promote Competition or Prevent Abuse of Market Power

This paper analyzes competition and public policy in the Business Data Services (BDS) market, showing that the powerful oligopolies at the center of the communications industry must be regulated to protect competition, innovation, speech, and, ultimately, consumers. It shows that the early deregulation of the BDS industry was based on erroneous theories of contestable markets and sufficient competition that did not play out in reality.

The report reviews evidence from the extensive antitrust literature to conclude that allowing the dominant BDS players’ market power to persist unchecked is not an option. This a problem that requires reinvigorated regulation and antitrust in the BDS market and beyond, at other crucial chokepoints in the digital communications sector.