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It absolutely can be both. The government-run solution could be poorly managed, unreliable and overly expensive while still scaring away the massive investment needed for someone else to compete. A private for-profit business could be completely undercut by the government service which can be incredibly unprofitable but continue to operate using tax dollars.

The current telecom oligopoly is bad, but a government-run monopoly is the one thing that could be worse. Now, public money going to build last-mile fiber which is then leased to competing ISPs to create a functioning marketplace (neither corporate oligopoly nor government monopoly, but a true economics-textbook 'free market') sounds like something that could be a good use of public money & power.

Theoretically, there is no reason for a government-run utility to be worse. There should be democratic pressure to improve service, balanced by democratic pressure to cut costs. Despite what ideologues say, there are many examples of well-run government-run programs, such as NOAA, CDC, NIH, interstate highways, FDIC.

In what way are the enumerated programs well run? Well run compared to what?

Take NOAA vs Weather.com as an example. One employs hundreds of scientists and engineers to improve their forecasting models and early alert systems. The other employs hundreds of engineers to improve ad-clicks and increase profit margins.

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