Magazine article Management Services

Impact of Information and Communication Technologies in EU Rural Areas

Magazine article Management Services

Impact of Information and Communication Technologies in EU Rural Areas

Article excerpt

Small firms in Britain's rural areas are more positive and better prepared to use computers and the internet than their counterparts in other parts of Europe according to the Impact of Information and Communications Technologies on EU Rural Areas, a report published by the Small Business Research Trust.

The six-country cross-national surveys found that small firms in the rural areas of Cornwall, Devon and around Stirling in Scotland were more familiar with and positive in their attitudes towards the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) than small firms from similar areas in Denmark, Greece, Italy and Spain.

Responses from more than 1,000 people living in rural areas revealed a wide, and growing, use of computers and the Internet at both home and work but that lack of access to ISDN, ADSL, cable or other broadband connections has restricted internet use in some remote rural areas.

Although the level of reported businessto-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce was low, small firms with experience in using computers were positive about making more use of e-commerce and tele-working in the future.

There was evidence, however, that dayto-day familiarity with computers develops a readiness to be more adventurous in using the internet and online services and that some people living and working in rural areas have fewer opportunities to develop that familiarity.

Experience and future increased use of ICT are strongly linked to educational levels and access to hands-on use, mainly at work but in southern Europe (Greece, Italy and Spain) also through the use of computers and the internet for entertainment. Interestingly, there were no significant age or gender effects, indicating that women and older people in rural areas are not particularly reluctant to use computers or access online services. …

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