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Unveiling the intricate public-private interplay in next generation communications
Gómez Barroso, José Luis and Feijoo Gonzalez, Claudio Antonio
Unveiling the intricate public-private interplay in next generation communications.
"Telecommunications Policy", v. 34
For most of the last century, telephone services and telecommunication services more generally were provided by national companies operating as monopolies. The monopolist was in charge of deploying the networks, using criteria that were often more political than economic. The generalisation tends to hold internationally, although at certain times and in certain places, it has not been true. The United States is the most prominent exception.
In the mid-1980s, the first tentative efforts to reform the sector began. Once these efforts intensified and spread, they led to an extraordinary transformation process that in most cases included the privatisation of the monopolistic companies. Barely a decade after the first instances of privatisation, with markets being progressively liberalised and companies operating in competition, it seemed that the direct construction of networks by public bodies or companies under their control was definitely left behind.
However, almost at the same time as the privatisation process reached its zenith of activity, new policies of unquestionable influence on the industry emerged. The rise of what has been called the knowledge economy or new economy has reinforced the role of telecommunications as a strategic investment. The consensus regarding the importance of telecommunications has changed the reasoning at play. It no longer includes the existence of an adequate infrastructure as a factor affecting regional development. Instead, its absence is considered a sign of underdevelopment. As a result, governments pay particular attention to telecommunications. This renewed interest includes direct intervention in network deployment
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