Keywords: Welfare; Quantitative Methodology; Consumers; Telecommunications Sector; Government Policy; Regulation.
This paper aims to contribute to the research agenda on guiding values that shape regulatory state and the development of economic and social regulation in the communications sector after the approval of the European directives on consumer and user protection and on universal service. It explores the way Independent Regulatory Agencies (IRAs) give an account of their different roles in setting protection regimes and specific policy instruments such as the universal service programs in the TLC sector. Applying a quantitative-qualitative analysis of textual data to annual reports delivered by nine European member states between 2003-2014, we explore how the ideas of market efficiency and liberalization associated with regulatory state and instances of social inclusion are balanced within universal service programs in Europe. The paper, in conclusion, offers a new typology of protection regimes combining two variables: the orientation towards market or state, and the protection channel, through access or service content.