International Telecommunication Union   ITU
 
 
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 Thursday, January 17, 2013
This report analyzes rural broadband and use by consumers, the community-at-large, and businesses; rural broadband availability; and broadband's social and economic effects on rural areas. It also summarizes results from an ERS-sponsored workshop on rural broadband use, and other ERS-commissioned studies. Overall, rural communities that had greater broadband Internet access had greater economic growth, which conforms to supplemental research on the benefits that rural businesses, consumers, and communities ascribe to broadband Internet use. One of the rural business sectors mentioned is the farm business.

Agriculture is another rural business sector that benefits from the Internet. For farm operators with Internet access in 2000, 98 percent used it to gather information. Price tracking (82 percent) was the next most common application.

In general, rural America has shared in the growth of the Internet economy. Online course offerings for students in primary, secondary, post-secondary, and continuing education programs have improved educational opportunities, especially in small, isolated rural areas. And interaction among students, parents, teachers, and school administrators has been enhanced via online forums, which is especially significant given the importance of ongoing parental involvement in children’s education.

Telemedicine and telehealth have been hailed as vital to health care provision in rural communities, whether simply improving the perception of locally provided health care quality or expanding the menu of medical services. More accessible health information, products, and services confer real economic benefits on rural communities: reducing transportation time and expenses, treating emergencies more effectively, reducing time missed at work, increasing local lab and pharmacy work, and generating savings for health facilities from outsourcing specialized medical procedures.

Full Report

(Source: e-agriculture)