Will Technology Trickle Down to Rural America?

A NetAction Report


This sampling of a few innovative technologies is indicative of the fact that the digital divide is not insurmountable. There already exist a wide range of innovative access technologies. Despite the seeming cornucopia at the technological level, actual deployment remains fairly thin. This leaves one wondering whether Internet access technologies will really trickle down to all Americans who want it. Unfortunately the workings of the network economy inhibit the trickling of technology into high cost sparsely populated rural areas.

The economy by it self cannot bring high speed net access to rural areas. Regulatory incentives such as the Rural Telecommunications Modernization Act and the E-rate plan will go a long way in creating incentives to invest in broadband infrastructure for rural areas. In addition, the high success rate of pilot projects work to plant the seeds of competition as well as demonstrate that there exists a demand for Internet access in rural areas.

Advances in technology, and the gradual decrease in prices have made a broadband infrastructure possible. The natural state of the network economy can accommodate these so called "high cost" areas, albeit with a little initiative from within the community, and with seed money from the state.

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