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States and start-ups: Public competitors in Australian communications


  • Jock Given


This article explores three state-owned or supported communications enterprises: the Pacific Cable, opened in 1902; Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA), which launched international wireless telegraphy services in 1927; and AUSSAT, a domestic satellite system established in 1985. All were partnerships formed to build and operate new communications infrastructure in competition with an incumbent. Of each, the article asks: what problem needed to be solved? What institutional solution and technologies were chosen and why? How did incumbents respond? How did the enterprise perform and why did it end? It finds very mixed performance, both as investments of public money and as solutions to the problems they were set up to solve.

Suggested Citation

  • Jock Given, 2011. "States and start-ups: Public competitors in Australian communications," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 706-722, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:53:y:2011:i:5:p:706-722
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2011.599594

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Taylor Reynolds, 2009. "The Role of Communication Infrastructure Investment in Economic Recovery," OECD Digital Economy Papers 154, OECD Publishing.
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