Bureaucrats as Entrepreneurs: Do Municipal Telecommunications Providers Hinder Private Entrepreneurs?

Author(s): 
Janice A. Hauge, University of North Texas
Mark A. Jamison, University of Florida
Richard J. Gentry, West Virginia University
Publication Date: 
Monday, 2008, January 14

We consider how government-owned enterprises affect privately owned rivals. Specifically, we compare the types of markets that municipally owned telecommunications providers in the United States serve to the types of markets that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) serve. We find that CLECs focus on potential profitability while municipalities appear to respond to other factors, such as political considerations or the desire to provide competition to incumbents. As a result, municipal providers tend to serve markets that CLECs do not. We also find that the presence of a municipal provider in a market does not affect the probability that a CLEC also serves that market. Our results suggest municipalities may not pose a significant competitive threat to CLECs and do not preclude CLEC participation.