chapter  13
Removing Rural Development Barriers Through Telecommunications: Illusion or Reality?
WithThomas D. Rowley, Shirley L. Porterfield
Pages 18

This chapter examines the relationship between rural development and telecommunications by carefully assessing the potential for enhanced telecommunications to overcome barriers to the development of rural economies. It explores the ability of enhanced telecommunications to overcome five barriers to rural development: geographic isolation, declining job opportunities, lack of human capital, deficient institutional capacity, and inadequate services. The most common perspective for analyzing the role of telecommunication innovations in rural economic development is an accounting of the various ways these innovations may be put to use in rural areas. Many people concerned with rural development are excited about the potential for economic development through the provision of enhanced telecommunications infrastructure. Services—provision of infrastructure, governmental functions such as planning, police and fire protection, and nongovernmental functions such as health care—are an integral part of a community’s ability to develop. The approach would provide enhanced telecommunications in pilot communities for the purpose of familiarizing rural residents with the services.