Abstract - The Information Society 2 (2)

Telecommunications in Rural America: An Appraisal and a Prediction

Elizabeth L Young and Louis A Bransford

Rural communities have been isolated from the health, educational, and public services available in more densely populated areas. Advances in telecommunications technology, including low-power television, direct broadcast satellites, and satellite-fed cable services, offer the opportunity to alleviate rural isolation, to improve the quality of rural life, and to promote economic development. Despite such technological advances and the recognized need, rural telecommunications networks have not been established. Rural markets have been considered unprofitable and lacking in sufficient consumer demand. Thus, commercial suppliers have not made the substantial investments necessary to provide rural telecommunications services. Government subsidies will be required to motivate the private sector to invest in rural telecommunications. Once rural communication networks are in place, they should become self-supporting.

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