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

By Jurgen Schmandt; Frederick Williams et al. | Go to book overview

spirit now manifests itself in the form of regional networks designed to meet the challenge of new possibilities. Just as earlier policy facilitated the creation of cooperatives, primarily through the REA, a similar approach needs to be developed to bolster regional networks.

Study of organization and incentives. In our study we found that the structure of telcos influenced their ability to provide advanced telecommunications services. For example, cooperatives seem to have greater incentive to invest in the local plant; as nonprofit companies they are restricted in their use of profits and, consequently, tend to invest more than they might otherwise. More in-depth analysis needs to be made of organizational structure because it directly impacts the development of infrastructure in rural areas.

In considering telecommunications and rural development in the United States, it is critical to understand the roles served by small independent telephone companies and cooperatives. These companies have already provided a basic telecommunications infrastructure to rural America and in many cases have acquired advanced telecommunications capabilities for their customers. Rural America will continue to benefit from telecommunications only if these companies remain healthy and progressive. Given the rapid pace of technological advances and the changing regulatory and policy environment, to keep these companies healthy and progressive will take a concerted effort.

The policy options discussed above will facilitate the growth and well-being of small independents. In general, policymakers must take care to include these companies in larger debates concerning the future roles of AT&T and the BOCs, as their decisions will have lasting effects on small independent telcos.


NOTES
1.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, FCC Telephone Price Caps: Hearings, 101st Cong., 2d sess., February 28, 1989, p. 286.
2.
J. Gillan, "Universal Service and Competition: The Rural Science," Public Utilities Fortnightly, May 15, 1986, pp. 22-26.
3.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Telecom 2000, NTIA Special Publication 88-21 ( Washington, D.C., 1988), p. 96; Pacific Bell, "Pacific Bell's Response to the Intelligent Network Task Force Report" ( San Francisco, 1987).
4.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, FCC Telephone Price Caps, p. 213.
5.
U.S. Congress, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, FCC Telephone Price Caps Proposal: Hearings, 100th Cong., 1st sess., November 10, 1987, p. 308.

-163-

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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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