Over the last decade the objectives of telecommunications policy have changed from the regulation of protected monopolies towards easing market entry and promoting competition. With the exception of local access networks these policies have proved to be quite successful.
Access networks were for a long time regarded as "natural monopolies" which can be provided most efficiently by a single provider. Facility based competition was therefore not regarded as viable and desirable in this sector. However, new technologies opened, new ways of network access, and also created the demand for new services that could not be served with the incumbents' infrastructures.
A central objective of this project was the assessment of the potential of these technological developments to establish viable competition in access networks and to derive challenges and consequences for the regulation of telecommunications. The analysis showed that from a technical point of view numerous alternatives exist, their survival in a competitive market is, however, highly implausible for economic reasons. A permanent abandonment of sector specific regulations is therefore not realistic.