ERIC Number: ED444799
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-May
Reference Count: N/A
Rural America's Stake in the Digital Economy. The Main Street Economist: Commentary on the Rural Economy.
This first article in a series on telecommunications in rural America provides an overview of several key telecommunication issues facing rural regions. High speed data services known as broadband have the potential to make rural areas less isolated and improve the rural quality of life, but physical barriers, sparse population density, and few markets present significant obstacles to their deployment in rural areas. Three types of broadband delivery--digital subscriber line (DSL), cable modems, and wireless--are discussed, along with their advantages and limitations for rural implementation. E-commerce, the use of the Internet for commerce, is expanding rapidly. Whether e-commerce will help rural enterprises thrive or hurt rural areas by increased by-passing of the middle man is yet to be seen. The telecommunications industry was deregulated to offer customers the benefits of competition, but the need for a physical connection between the phone company and the customer makes true competition impractical, especially in sparsely populated rural areas. Rural and urban residents are unlikely to have the same competitive choices. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provided for subsidies to rural schools, libraries, and health care providers for various telecommunications services. Schools in rural high-cost areas were specifically targeted to receive the highest "e-rate" discounts. Recent regulatory developments have allowed wireless technologies to receive ETC (eligible telecommunications carrier) status. Whether regulators will require wireless services to replace wireline service will have a profound effect on the availability of advanced services in rural areas. (TD)
Descriptors: Access to Information, Distance Education, Internet, Policy Analysis, Rural Areas, Rural Development, Rural Schools, Rural Urban Differences, Telecommunications
Full text at Web site: http://www.kc.frb.org/RuralCenter/mainstreet/MSE_0500.pdf.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, MO. Center for the Study of Rural America.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Telecommunications Act 1996