Telecommunications and Rural Development: A Study of Private and Public Sector Innovation

By Jurgen Schmandt; Frederick Williams et al. | Go to book overview
1. Both the AMS and CIDS networks are difficult to access and use. The AMS has attempted to address this issue by seeking new ways of formatting its information. Nonetheless, throughout our research we found that usage of these networks was hindered by the difficulty of accessing them.
2. The CIDS network and other state networks are underused by their target audiences. This appears to be in part due to the difficulty in accessing them as well as resistance to using the networks by people such as extension agents.
3. The cost of maintaining national or statewide computer networks has increased since the divestiture of AT&T in 1984. This was more of a problem for state networks than for the USDA, whose AMS network utilizes satellite uplinks and downlinks instead of dedicated leased lines. Officials who manage state computer networks also noted that since divestiture it has become more complicated to manage a statewide network because of the additional telecommunications providers.
4. Some offices in remote rural areas experience problems in accessing computer networks because of data transmission problems due to the inferior quality of telephone lines.

CONCLUSIONS

Telecommunications advances offer many applications for public service provision to rural areas. Our research on health care and distance education examined research questions on two levels. First, how have rural communities been disadvantaged by lack of public service and how can telecommunications help? Second, which networks and partnerships constitute the best catalysts for progressive change in rural communities?

The answer to our first question is complex. To begin, small populations constitute unattractive working environments for professionals in many public services, particularly health care and education. In an era of increased specialization, many teachers and medical personnel trained in highly specific fields must practice in populated areas to find large enough clienteles. Service provision in health care and education in rural areas, therefore, has been several steps behind that of more populated communities, leaving rural areas disadvantaged.

Telecommunications now makes the provision of advanced education and health care services possible by creating new economies of scale for the delivery of public service. In the field of health care, neighboring communities are linked through medical information networks. Distance learning, in similar fashion, not only links neigh-

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Telecommunications and Rural Development: A Study of Private and Public Sector Innovation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • Notes 15
  • 2: Doing Business in Rural America 18
  • Introduction 18
  • CONCLUSIONS 51
  • Notes 56
  • 3: Public-Service Delivery 61
  • Introduction 61
  • CONCLUSIONS 90
  • Notes 92
  • 4: Small Rural Telephone Companies, Cooperatives, and Regional Alliances 95
  • Introduction 95
  • Notes 163
  • 5: Telecommunications and Community Development 172
  • Introduction 172
  • CONCLUSIONS 208
  • Appendix 5.1 Extended Area Service in Hutto, Texas 212
  • Appendix 5.2 U.S. Department of Agriculture 214
  • Appendix 5.2 U.S. Department of Agriculture 216
  • 6: Conclusions 222
  • Notes 238
  • Telecommunications Glossary 241
  • Selected Bibliography 253
  • Index 255
  • ABOUT THE EDITORS 262
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