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Internationalisation and Economic Institutions:Comparing the European Experience$
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Mark Thatcher

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245680.001.0001

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British Telecommunications: From Laggard to Leader

British Telecommunications: From Laggard to Leader

Chapter:
(p.159) 8 British Telecommunications: From Laggard to Leader
Source:
Internationalisation and Economic Institutions:
Author(s):

Mark Thatcher (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245680.003.0009

This chapter argues that Britain followed its own distinct route to reform in telecommunications, in similar fashion to securities trading. Despite large-scale failures of supply, arising in part because of transnational technological and economic developments, only limited changes were introduced in 1969 and thereafter inertia reigned. This position altered dramatically in the 1980s. A determined government pushed through privatisation of the incumbent operator, British Telecom, ended its monopoly and transferred important regulatory powers to a newly created independent sectoral regulatory agency. The policies were initiated for domestic reasons, but thereafter examples of institutions in the US were used selectively to legitimate new arrangements. Hence, as in securities, the US example was important in the policy process but EU regulation played very little role in British decisions.

Keywords:   British Telecom, institutional reform, privatisation, monopoly, legitimation

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