Connecting Rural America

By Staihr, Brian K. | Independent Banker, November 2000 | Go to article overview

Connecting Rural America


Staihr, Brian K., Independent Banker


Telecommunications are key to bringing the digital economy to rural communities

In an age when farmers trade on the futures market while standing in a wheat field, and small-town doctors download X-rays from hospitals hundreds of miles away, the potential for rural America to benefit from advances in telecommunications seems limitless.

As Internet technology evolves, consumers will continue to enjoy more access to information and new ways of doing business. And as the telecom industry becomes less regulated, consumers are positioned to enjoy the fruits of new competition. But as this "telecom revolution" unfolds, will rural communities enjoy the same benefits as their urban and suburban counterparts do?

Several key telecom issues face communities in rural America-ranging from high-speed data services to e-commerce to telemedicine. Resolving these issues won't solve all of rural America's problems, but in many cases it will help to level the economic playing field between urban and rural regions.

In the near future, enhanced connectivity and information infrastructure will prove crucial to the health of the rural economy. They will be critical not only for development-attracting and retaining residents and businesses-but also for basic sustainability in an ever-changing economic environment. Some of the key issues facing rural residents and policymakers include:

The outlook for rural, high-speed data. Are telecommunications advances creating a digital divide or building a digital bridge between urban and rural America?

The effect of e-commerce on the economy. Will e-commerce help rural enterprises thrive, or will they fall victim to new methods of bypassing the middleman?

Government support for telemedicine and distance learning. Is rural America receiving its share, and are these subsidies going to the areas most in need?

The growth of competition. Competition brings innovation, cost-based prices and greater customer choice. Will rural America enjoy the same competitive benefits as urban residents?

Alternative technologies such as wireless telecommunications. Will satellites and microwave replace wires in the long run?

High-Speed Data Services

The phenomenal growth in the use of data applications-Internet access, telecommuting, e-commerce, distance learning-has led consumers to demand devices that move data faster than ever. Generally referred to as broadband, these high-speed data mechanisms currently serve nearly three million customers across the United States. Industry forecasts predict this number will grow to 16.6 million by 2004.

But broadband deployment represents something of a conundrum for rural policy makers. On the one hand, high-speed data has the potential to make rural areas relatively less isolated, and high-speed applications such as telemedicine might significantly improve quality of life.

On the other hand, rural areas present significant challenges for the telephone and cable TV companies that will provide the high-speed data services. For example, there are physical barriers to deployment, customers are few and widely dispersed, and rural areas seldom represent the most attractive markets. It is no mystery why less than 1 percent of towns with fewer than 2,500 people have any broadband deployment at all.

There are generally three ways to deploy high-speed data on a marketwide basis. Digital subscriber line, or DSL, uses the telephone network. Cable modems use the cable television network. And certain wireless approaches use satellite or microwave technology. Each technology has advantages, but each also has limitations that might deter companies from offering services in rural or remote areas.

For DSL, the key advantage is that it uses the existing telephone infrastructure, which is virtually ubiquitous, even in many remote areas. The disadvantages for rural customers are that many of them live too far from the telephone company's office to receive the service, and the telephone company must achieve a critical mass of customers to offset the cost of deploying additional equipment in the central office. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Connecting Rural America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.