ERIC Number: ED445839
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Rural Telecommunications: Why Your Community Isn't Connected and What You Can Do about It. Staff Paper.
Telecommunications technologies have great potential for linking rural homes, schools, businesses, and government. Experts agree that rural development depends on investment in additional telecommunications infrastructure and on local access to the Internet, but getting advanced telecommunications services to rural areas will take time. This report examines the obstacles to rural telecommunications access and ways to address them. Market obstacles include low rural demand for new telecommunications services, fewer large telecommunications users, fewer providers willing to serve rural markets, existing investments in rural infrastructure, and higher costs and technical complexity in rural areas. Regulatory obstacles include assumptions about the benefits of free market competition, lack of agreement about what constitutes "universal service," failure of regulations to differentiate between rural and urban conditions or between deployment and diffusion, and failure to tie telecommunications policy to economic development goals. Physical and technical obstacles include effects of distance and terrain on costs and service deterioration and the slow upgrading to digital switches in rural areas. End-user obstacles include the slower adoption of new technologies due to lower education and income among rural people. Local governments may try to counter these obstacles by using regulatory procedures or government purchasing power or by developing publicly owned infrastructure. Other community strategies for improving rural access include using rural area networks, interconnecting to urban networks, using wireless technologies, or working with alternative providers. (Contains references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Computer Literacy, Free Enterprise System, Internet, Networks, Public Policy, Rural Areas, Rural Development, Telecommunications
Full text at Web site: http://www.rural.org/publications/Rowley99-1.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Kentucky Univ., Lexington. TVA Rural Studies Program.