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The Economics and Policy Implications of Infrastructure Sharing and Mutualisation in Africa

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In developing countries, governments know the importance of broadband for development and promoting broadband as a way to boost knowledge in society has now entered the political agenda. Infrastructure sharing is one of the main trends in broadband infrastructure deployment. In developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a trend for governments to back infrastructure sharing projects as a way to reduce costs in network deployments, expand coverage, reduce the rural-urban digital divide, and accelerate broadband take-up. Traditional infrastructure sharing models, such as regulated access to the so-called last-mile network or site sharing agreements among mobile operators, have given way in recent times to new designs. The mutualization model, where a common facility is operated by all market participants, and the cooperative model, where the telecommunication infrastructure is housed or jointly constructed with other linear infrastructures, is the two most popular designs. A regulatory intervention that favors infrastructure sharing can lessen a specific market problem - such as the existence of entry barriers in the access network - but it can create complications to the future market development or distort the functioning of an adjacent one. The consequences of a particular regulatory intervention to encourage or prevent sharing must be analyzed on a case by case basis taking into account dynamic aspects such as innovation and future investment incentives.


Marino Garcia, Jose; Kelly, Tim. 2015. The Economics and Policy Implications of Infrastructure Sharing and Mutualisation in Africa. WDR 2016 Background Paper;. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.


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