Directions for the Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Regions
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 9: The existence of pent-up demand for rural broadband services: an exploration
Connecting to the Internet via high-speed technology such as DSL lines, cable, satellite and wireless networks makes the Internet much more useful to businesses, households and governments. The increased incidence of high-speed Internet access has quickened growth in electronic commerce, video on demand, telecommuting, collaborative scientific projects, videoconferencing and virtual environments, resulting in deepening integration of online activities within the economy. As a result a great deal of business, household and government activities have moved onto Internet platforms with some Internet activities not even requiring direct human involvement in the process. Rural American communities, like rural communities in other parts of the world, have not been left out of the evolving digital economy, but rural–urban equity is an issue. While American rural households are almost as likely as urban households to use the Internet, broadband Internet access in rural areas has been less prevalent. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the difference may lie in the higher cost or more limited availability of broadband Internet access in rural areas (Stenberg et al., 2009). Is there evidence to suggest pent-up demand for rural broadband Internet service exists? That is the question addressed here.
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