Abstract - The Information Society 19(4)


Geo-Policy Barriers and Rural Internet Access: The Regulatory Role in Constructing the Digital Divide

Kyle Nicholas


A combination of geography, public policy and commercial investment in information infrastructure combines to create geo-policy barriers that in turn structure the ability of rural citizens to access the Internet. A statistical study of 208 rural telephone exchanges in Texas combined with case studies from rural counties explores the impact of distance and policies aimed at enabling rural telephone connection on the presence of Internet Service Providers. Market territories, including exchange areas and LATAs, and the distance requirements of Expanded Local Calling policy in Texas can both help and hinder Internet access in remote areas.

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