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Essays, based on five years of survey research in Iowa and case study examples from across the United States, examine the implications of telecommunications technologies for rural community development. Supported by data from five years of survey and case study research, telecommunications adoption and use is explored in nine sectors of the rural community to determine the influence these organizations and institutions have on telecommunications development within the broader rural community. These sectors include local government, economic development, business, newspapers, library services, health care, university extension to communities, and farming. Also considered are the factors that promote and retard telecommunications development, particularly the impact of telecommunications policy, the availability of state-of-the-art infrastructure and service, and the involvement of telephone companies in local community development. Using a community development framework, this work discusses the physical, financial, human and social capitals necessary for holistic community development and the significance of critical mass, the roles of internal and external networks, as well as vertical and horizontal linkages, and the importance of visionary leadership and the championing of telecommunications.
Social Science and telecommunications scholars will appreciate the interdisciplinary approach these case studies represent. In addition, this research is intended to assist local leaders, community service providers, businesses, community officials, and state policy makers in capturing the potential benefits of innovative telecommunications technologies for local economic development, while avoiding potential problems and pitfalls. Essays are organized in three sections. The first presents theory, policy, and issues within a community development framework. The second discusses perspectives and actions of community sectors in their adoption and use of telecommunications. The third examines what occurs within an organization as it implements a new telecommunications system. Charts and graphs enhance the text and a glossary of terms is provided.
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About the Author
PETER F. KORSCHING is a Professor with the Department of Sociology at Iowa State University./e He has published scholarly articles and book chapters and is coeditor of two previous sociological studies and coauthor of one textbook.
PATRICIA C. HIPPLE has a long career as an applied sociologist with more than 20 years of experience in social research, program evaluation, policy analysis, human service administration, and education./e Her areas of specialization include social change, international development, communication and culture, environment, population, and social inequality.
ERIC A. ABBOT is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University./e His research specialty is the study of implications of new communication technologies for rural development in the United States, Russia, and Nigeria.
Table of Contents
Theory, Policy, and Practice: Setting the Stage for Rural Telecommunications
Rural America and the Information and Communications Revolution by Peter F. Korsching, Patricia C. Hipple, and Eric A. Abbott
Policy Initiatives and Rural Telecommunications by Dom Caristi
Telephone Companies: Providing All the Right Connections for Viable Rural Communities by Peter F. Korsching and Sami El-Ghamrini
When Public Leadership Outperforms Private Leadership: The Case of Public Telecommunications Utilities by Montgomery Van Wart, Dianne Rahm, and Scott Sanders
Using Telecommunications in the Rural Community
Rural Business and Telecommunications Technologies by G. Premkumar
The Community Newspaper in an Online Society by Eric A. Abbott and Walter E. Niebauer, Jr.
Rural Libraries: Conflicting Visions and Realities in the Information Age by Eric A. Abbott and Bridget Moser Pellerin
Municipal Governments' Use of Telecommunications: Leading the Charge or Lagging Behind? by Erin K. Schreck and Patricia C. Hipple
Telecommunications: A Complex Prescription for Rural Health Care Providers by Patricia C. Hipple and Melody Ramsey
Farmers, Computers, and the Internet: How Structures and Roles Shape the Information Society by Eric A. Abbott, J. Paul Yarbrough, and Allan Schmidt
Making the Connections
What Happens When Information Technologies Are Forced On Rural Community Organizations? The Case of Iowa State University Extension by Eric A. Abbott and Jennifer L. Gregg
Telecommunications and Economic Development: Chasing Smokestacks with the Internet by Brent Hales, Joy Gieseke, and Delfino Vargas-Chanes
On-Ramps and Road Blocks to the Information Superhighway by Peter F. Korsching, Eric A. Abbott and Patricia C. Hipple