Abstract - The Information Society 19(5)

SPECIAL ISSUE: ICTs and Community Networking

Assessing the Need and Potential of Community Networking for Development in Rural India

Christopher Blattman, Robert Jensen, and Raul Roman


This paper reports the results and conclusions of a mixed-methods research strategy designed to assess the potential of community networking in rural Tamil Nadu, India. The data reported and analyzed in this article include socioeconomic and household spending, agricultural marketing and price search, availability and use of information on agricultural problems, and communication media use. We use these data to define a framework of existing sources of information for various community agents, with a special emphasis on farmers. We analyze the methods and costs at which these agents obtain information, and identify information and communication gaps that ICTs may help alleviate. This study allows us to demonstrate opportunities for socioeconomic development through ICT-enabled information access. The paper concludes by stating the importance of basic communication technologies and contextually relevant information services, and suggesting recommendations for future research in this area.

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