A public utility (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies. The term utilities can also refer to the set of services provided by these organizations consumed by the public: electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, telephone, and transportation. Broadband internet services (both fixed-line and mobile) are increasingly being included within the definition. However, because of the lack of definition, the economist Murray Rothbard wrote in his book Power and Market that: The very term “public utility,” furthermore, is an absurd one. Every good is useful “to the public,” and almost every good, if we take a large enough chunk of supply as the unit, may be considered “necessary.” Any designation of a few industries as “public utilities” is completely arbitrary and unjustified.
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