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partnerships:articles:rural [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Rural communities and the Internet
 +
 +\
 +Moira K Stone (mailto:​mkstone@celtic.co.uk)
 +
 +\
 +November 1996
 +
 +\
 +
 +Introduction ​
 +------------
 +
 +\
 +
 +There'​s been a lot talked and written about the use of information
 +technology and the Internet to people living in rural areas and their
 +communities. But how useful is it actually proving to be? This article
 +presents some '​snapshots'​ of individuals and organisations which are
 +using the Internet to their overall benefit and, directly or indirectly,
 +strengthening rural communities. The snapshots are of different subjects
 +which are organised in three sections, although several snapshots could
 +as easily be in one section as in another. The sections are: information
 +and learning; making links and having a voice; and earning a living.
 +This article does not pretend to be comprehensive;​ there are gaps and
 +oversights which will no doubt be filled as more information is
 +shared.
 +
 +\
 +
 +It's clear that every rural community is unique: no two are exactly
 +alike. The challenges they face, though, are drawn from a common list.
 +Some of these are sketched in the following list - which will be more
 +than familiar to rural readers. (It should go without saying, of course,
 +that there are also many benefits of living in rural communities.)
 +
 +\
 +
 +People in rural areas can live at some distance from other communities,​
 +settlements,​ villages or towns. There may be only a small number of
 +people and this does not allow the economies of scale which benefit
 +urban residents.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Many people in rural communities live at some distance from services of
 +all kinds (such as shops and post offices, schools and colleges,
 +doctors, advice and benefit offices, and cinemas and theatres). And
 +these services may be found in completely different directions. It can
 +cost more than the budget will stand to travel to them. There may be no
 +choice.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Although some people in rural areas have well-paid, regular employment,
 +for others work may be scarce, irregular and/or badly paid. Just as in
 +urban areas, it's possible to be poor or deprived. The scenery does not
 +make this any easier.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Rural areas in many parts of Britain have seen people both moving away
 +(for education, to find work or seeking the bright lights) and moving in
 +(away from cities, to retire or sometimes for work).
 +\
 +
 +Information technology and the Internet are tools which can help to
 +minimise some of the challenges sketched above. In doing so, rural
 +communities can be strengthened - not only geographical communities but
 +also those other groups of which people are members: young people,
 +business, the agricultural community, and so on.
 +
 +\
 +
 +The '​snapshots'​ in this article begin to draw out out the benefits and
 +challenges of using the Internet, together with some advice for others
 +thinking of using it. These points are brought together at the end of
 +the article.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Information and learning
 +------------------------
 +
 +\
 +
 +Information technology makes it possible for many people in rural areas
 +to find information about a huge range of subjects much more easily and
 +conveniently.
 +
 +### Cousins in Hampshire
 +
 +Hampshire County Council'​s Cousin (Community Users Information) service
 +brings a enormous amount of community information to the public, easily,
 +quickly and locally. Anyone can 'ask their Cousin'​ for a contact name
 +for anything from beekeeping to waste recycling. Cousin harnesses the
 +power of technology to bring together half a dozen or more local
 +directories from local authorities,​ health service providers, business,
 +voluntary agencies and charities. It can be accessed from different
 +places including information centres, local information points,
 +libraries and schools.
 +
 +\
 +
 +David Walden, the director of Age Concern Hampshire says: 'We welcome
 +Cousin as an important new resource. All our outlets are in the
 +directory. Through Cousin we can raise awareness of the services we
 +provide, recruit volunteers for our branches and inform our clients
 +about what's available to them. Cousin takes voluntary service into the
 +information age and we're delighted to be part of that.'
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [Hantsweb@hants.gov.uk](mailto:​Hantsweb@hants.gov.uk)
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.hants.gov.uk](http://​www.hants.gov.uk/​)
 +
 +### LOIS in Hereford and Worcester ​
 +
 +The Hereford and Worcester Library Online Information Service (LOIS)
 +began in March 1993 as the Golden Valley Information Project. This
 +tested the feasibility of providing electronic information services to
 +the Golden Valley area, a relatively isolated area which is home to
 +about 2,500 people. The 1991 census showed that as many as 20 per cent
 +of households had no car and were dependent on public transport.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Computer terminals which could access external databases were put in
 +public places such as village post offices, a shop and a resource
 +centre. The public'​s response to this, together with other information,​
 +has led to a strategy to place public computer terminals throughout the
 +county. In rural areas these will probably based in the Community
 +Council of Hereford and Worcester'​s most well-used community resource
 +centres. The service already connects to the county council'​s '​intranet'​
 +and, depending on funding, may connect to the Internet in the future.
 +External databases (such as that of the Department of Social Security)
 +can be accessed and more and more local organisations,​ such as DIAL -
 +the Disability Information Advice Line, are making their information
 +available to be used by the service.
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits?​** People can now find out information from train times
 +across the country and entertainment listings to education courses and
 +benefits details. All of this would have been difficult to find before.
 +Job vacancies within local government are posted weekly. Soon other job
 +vacancies will be advertised and, in time, schools'​ prospectuses.
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges?​** Finding the right place to put a public computer
 +terminal can be difficult in a rural area. Even when somewhere is found
 +circumstances can change. A room in a school worked well for a time, for
 +example, but eventually it was needed for other purposes.
 +
 +\
 +
 +It can take time for people to get used to different services. The post
 +office might seem an ideal location but in some communities it's only
 +open in the morning. Although the key is available next door, some
 +people are, as yet, reluctant to go and fetch it.
 +
 +\
 +
 +How the '​custodian'​ of the computer behaves can affect how much people
 +use it. He or she may think of it as personal property so potential
 +users may have to ask for it to be switched on and not allowed to use it
 +themselves.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice?** Considerable time was spent in discussing with residents of
 +Golden Valley the types of information they needed. This continued
 +throughout the project to ensure that the service grew from the actual
 +needs of the area rather than being imposed from outside. David Morris
 +of Hereford and Worcester'​s Library Online Information Service suggests:
 +'Give it time for people to become comfortable with the techonology.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [dmorris@tacin.co.uk](mailto:​dmorris@tacin.co.uk)
 +
 +LOIS web-site: [http://​www.open.gov.uk/​hereford/​homepage.html](http://​www.open.gov.uk/​hereford/​homepage.html)
 +
 +Golden Valley web-site: [http://​www.open.gov.uk/​hereford/​gvishome.htm](http://​www.open.gov.uk/​hereford/​gvishome.htm)
 +
 +### University of Highlands and Islands ​
 +
 +Information technology now makes it possible for students to choose from
 +a wider range of subjects at all levels, whether they live in a city or
 +a small rural community. There'​s less of a need for a knowledgeable
 +teacher or resources to be available locally or for there to be enough
 +students to make running a course economical. The technology makes it
 +possible for teaching to be delivered from urban or larger centres to
 +smaller ones. Students from small schools in the Highlands and Islands
 +of Scotland, for example, join with others in taking lessons, preparing
 +for exams and talking to friends all round the world. In West Wales,
 +eight schools are taking part in a pilot project about remote sensing
 +and geography. The schools make use of a large archive of remotely
 +sensed images from the Satellite Centre, together with image-processing
 +software and support on using it. Video-conferencing allows them to
 +share data.
 +
 +\
 +
 +The ambitious University of Highlands and Islands project will use
 +technology to link 11 further education collges and research
 +institutions. '​Distance learning'​ techniques such as video and computer
 +conferences will be used by students across an area bigger than Belgium.
 +The first UHI network degree will be one in rural development. Sabhal
 +Mór Ostaig, the Gaelic-medium college on Skye, is part of the
 +developing network. It has developed a web-site so that it can become a
 +centre for providing information in and about Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic)
 +and to advertise the college and its courses across the world.
 +\
 +
 +University of the Highlands and Islands web-site: [http://​www.uhi.ac.uk/​](http://​www.uhi.ac.uk/​en)
 +
 +Sabhal Mór Ostaig web-site: [http://​www.uhi.smo.ac.uk/​](http://​www.uhi.smo.ac.uk/​)
 +
 +### North East Scotland Telematics Forum 
 +
 +NEST, the North East Scotland Telematics Forum is currently running an
 +innovative training programme, the Telematics Competence Programme, on
 +behalf of Community Business Grampian Limited. It leads to three units
 +of the Information Technology Scottish Vocational Qualification and may
 +be the first in Britain to provide a formal qualification in telematics.
 +A team of participants work together on a project usually destined to be
 +placed on the Internet. What makes it unique is that they work from home
 +or resource centres around the region and only meet four times, for
 +workshops at the Northern College in Aberdeen. Course tutors stay in
 +touch by e-mail and by personal visits and all course work is
 +transferred electronically to them. The SVQ assessor from the Northern
 +College also works electronically,​ although a home visit must be done
 +just to check it's really the participant on the other end of the
 +e-mail.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ Running the course in this way makes it much easier for
 +people living in rural areas and people with disabilities to take part.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​regionlink.com/​grampian/​gtp/​tele.htm](http://​regionlink.com/​grampian/​gtp/​tele.htm)
 +
 +\
 +
 +Making links and having a voice 
 +-------------------------------
 +
 +\
 +
 +One of the possibilities offered by the Internet is for community to
 +talk to community.
 +
 +### Network 2000 
 +
 +Network 2000 in Devon and Cornwall is based on the recognition that work
 +in society is changing and that people need a range of skills to
 +accompany them throughout their lives. Interactive and visual skills
 +connected with telematics (information technology and
 +telecommunications) are part of this range. Network 2000 believes,
 +therefore, that training and '​learning for life' are the key, both to
 +individual development and to the future prosperity of the South West.
 +
 +\
 +
 +The Network also promotes direct access. In January 1996 a number of
 +rural community strategic organisations took part in a live satellite
 +and video-conferencing link-up with Jimmy Jamar, the head of the
 +European Lifelong Learning Year event. People from Devon and Cornwall
 +were able to question him directly without editing. He, in turn, was
 +amazed to find himself speaking to a huge number of people, often in
 +small groups tucked away in villages or hamlets.
 +
 +\
 +
 +A European Training by Satellite project links rural areas in Devon and
 +Cornwall with rural clusters in Finland, Denmark, Spain, Sicily and a
 +number of other European partners. The project is creating joint
 +training programmes for the tourism sector in rural areas using
 +satellite television. With simply a telephone in the same room as the
 +television, people are able to contribute by telephone. Where groups
 +also have video-conferencing facilities, they can take part '​visually'​
 +from their own area and be broadcast simultaneously across Europe by
 +satellite. They are visible to all, even though they are not
 +broadcasting by satellite itself.
 +
 +\
 +
 +The most recent broadcast of this type (called '​co-terminus
 +ISDN/​satellite broadcast'​) took place on 23 October 1996 from the ITN
 +building in London. Even seasoned business television broadcasters were
 +impressed, one of whom said, 'In all the years I've been broadcasting,​
 +I've never actually seen the audience come back to us and know who they
 +are.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ People in rural communities can take advantage of
 +high-quality training without having to travel. This saves time and
 +money and has environmental benefit. Satellite broadcast works well in
 +rural areas where telecommunications can be less good than in urban
 +areas.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges**?​ Christine Fraser of Network 2000 comments: 'When you
 +take part in projects like this which reach out to you, then you have to
 +be active rather than passive. "​Interactivity"​ itself is a challenge.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice**? '​Satellite broadcast can be received right across Europe. If
 +anyone is broadcasting in the "​clear"​ and you know about it, all you
 +need is a TV set, a satellite box and a dish to see it. Network 2000
 +would be happy to include you if you wanted to know when and what we are
 +broadcasting. You could do the same and we'd have a rural community
 +satellite broadcast system up and running before anyone could say
 +"​knife!"​ Community groups should be able to find niches for themselves
 +in the digital and cable broadcasting explosion.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +For the future, RAINBOW is a project to get a dedicated satellite
 +transponder for Devon and Cornwall. The project will train rural
 +radio/​internet hams to broadcast by satellite using a mini-console. It
 +will enable rural communities to have independent control of their
 +interactive broadcasts. The transponder would be available to business
 +and community groups such as women'​s institutes, farmers, young people,
 +arts groups, the emergency services and mobile phone users. The '​carboot
 +sale in cyberspace'​ - that is, distance auctioning (CyberBoot -
 +copyright Network 2000) - would leave the drawing board, ensuring that
 +useable material is being recycled in the region and that local products
 +find new local markets.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [christin@net2000.zynet.co.uk](mailto:​christin@net2000.zynet.co.uk)
 +
 +Lifelong learning event web-site: [http://​www.zynet.co.uk/​net2000/​](http://​www.zynet.co.uk/​net2000/​)
 +
 +### Linking Wales and Canada
 +
 +What do Llanfairpwll on Anglesey in North Wales and Tatamagouche in Nova
 +Scotia in Canada have in common? Not only non-English names but they'​re
 +also near ferry ports. You catch the ferry to Ireland from Holyhead on
 +Anglesey, just up the road from Llanfairpwll and you catch the ferry to
 +Prince Edward Island just up the road from Tatamagouche. Both are ideal
 +stops for travellers before or after the ferry crossing.
 +
 +\
 +
 +Llanfairpwll'​s community organisation,​ Cyswllt, says: 'In the future,
 +when we get ourselves sorted out, we would like to share ideas and
 +compare notes with other community groups via e-mail, so that we can all
 +help each other on how best to approach particular projects, pitfalls to
 +avoid, possible new activities, etc.
 +\
 +
 +(NB - Llanfairpwll is the village with the longest name in Britain:
 +Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. In English,
 +the Welsh name means Saint Mary's church in the hollow of the white
 +hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of Saint Tysilio of the red
 +cave.)
 +
 +\
 +
 +Llanfairpwll web-site: [http://​www.nwi.co.uk/​llanfair/​](http://​www.nwi.co.uk/​llanfair/​)
 +
 +North Wales Internet message pages: [http://​www.nwi.co.uk/​](http://​www.nwi.co.uk/​)
 +
 +\
 +
 +Tatamagouche and area is home to a project which aims to develop a
 +'smart rural community',​ using the power of the computer and its related
 +technologies. The people of Tatamagouche believe that access to and
 +sharing information within their community and with other communities
 +will contribute to a prosperous future. In May 1996 the project held a
 +successful event about information technology. One participant said:
 +'All who came to the event, whether they were a novice (who thought that
 +'​surfing the net' involved a bathing suit) or an experienced computer
 +technologist walked away knowing more about the potential of the
 +Internet.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +Tatamagouche Smart Rural Community exposition web-site:
 +http://​south.nsis.com/​\~expo
 +
 +Tatamagouche unofficial home page: http://​south.nsis.com/​\~two/​
 +
 +### Kington in Herefordshire
 +
 +Kington in Herefordshire has been running a similar project for a number
 +of years, the Kington Connected Community (KC3). KC3 sees it as a dual
 +experiment. The first part is technological:​ what happens when you
 +invest a large amount of state-of-the-art technology in a small,
 +declining rural town? The second part is democratic: all people living
 +or working in the community are members or shareholders in the projects
 +and the majority of the board is elected by them.
 +\
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​sundial.kc3ltd.co.uk/​index.html](http://​sundial.kc3ltd.co.uk/​index.html)
 +
 +### Western Isles internet café ​
 +
 +Angus and Mairi Mackenzie have got a unique location for children'​s
 +parties. And a collection of football memorabilia. They run the Western
 +Isles internet café in Stornoway, the first in the Western Isles and
 +only the fifth in Scotland. The café has been open since March 1996 and
 +has five multi-media PCs with 17" screens available for the public to
 +come in and use to get onto the net. People of all ages use the café
 +although, at present, three-quarters are between 10 and 17 years old.
 +Angus and Mairi Mackenzie say: 'We are more than happy to pass e-mail
 +messages on to others on Lewis on your behalf.'​ It's no more than you'd
 +do if you found a person in common with someone you met whilst
 +travelling but also a good marketing device.
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ The Internet offers people in rural communities 'an
 +instant information access and communication method, not disrupted by
 +postal strikes, adverse weather or non-sailing of the ferry! Children
 +can further their education by corresponding with people all over the
 +world.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges**?​ Although younger people are keen to use information
 +technology, it's a challenge to get the older community to become
 +familiar with it.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice**? 'Check thoroughly what funds or help are available from
 +enterprise companies, the local council and so on.'
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [bayble@captions.co.uk](mailto:​bayble@captions.co.uk)
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.captions.co.uk/​](http://​www.captions.co.uk/​)
 +
 +### County Mayo
 +
 +In County Mayo in the west of Ireland Roisin Hambly (aged 14) puts
 +together her global e-zine with the help of her father. It's called
 +Roizine. The magazine has sections on entertainment,​ poetry, short
 +stories and stars or you can find an e-pal. There are links to pages
 +about Mayo. ​
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ Roisin says: 'The benefits of the net are that I get to
 +contact lots of interesting people all over the world and see the
 +homepages they themselves have made. I've got loads of e-pals and I've
 +learnt a lot about different cultures and I've made great friends. The
 +benefits of my magazine to me are that it's a hobby; it's interesting
 +reading other people'​s work; knowing that at anytime, someone, somewhere
 +could be looking at my magazine. The benefits to others are that they
 +get a chance to put their work in a magazine that can be looked at by
 +anyone; they can find e-pals easily; they get an insight into Irish
 +life.'
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges**?​ Roisin doesn'​t see there being any more challenges to
 +her than to someone with a magazine in New York.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice**? Roisin says: 'Well, I've only been on the net since April or
 +May and I think for a while I was really addicted! There'​s no end of
 +things you can find, it's very helpful for some school work or if you're
 +interested in contacting people in different countries. It's really easy
 +to get the hang of it - even my mother can use it and she hates
 +computers! When I first started up my magazine it had about three pages
 +and one person on the e-pal page. It took a fair bit of work to get it
 +off the ground but once people started to find it and send in their work
 +it got bigger and better. Now when I have to make changes it doesn'​t
 +take long. I'm really glad I set up my magazine and I think anyone who's
 +thinking about it should definitely give it a go.'
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [editor@mayo-ireland.ie](mailto:​editor@mayo-ireland.ie)
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.mayo-ireland.ie/​Roizine.htm](http://​www.mayo-ireland.ie/​Roizine.htm)
 +\
 +
 +Earning a living ​
 +----------------
 +
 +\
 +
 +Most businesses operating and employing people in rural areas are small
 +and that includes tourism and accommodation businesses. How do they make
 +sure they stay in business and make a profit, thereby putting money into
 +the local economy? How do they market their product effectively?​ Being
 +part of an umbrella organisation is one way. Using the Internet as a
 +marketing tool to convert interest from anywhere in the world into an
 +immediate sale is another.
 +
 +\
 +
 +It's an easy mistake to think that only farming happens on farms. Many,
 +if not all, farms have always had more than one source of income and
 +that has become increasingly important. Tourism is an area into which
 +many farms have diversified,​ whether by providing bed and breakfast
 +accommodation or tourist activities.
 +
 +### Farm Holiday Bureau ​
 +
 +The Farm Holiday Bureau is a network of over 1,000 farms which provide
 +bed and breakfast or self-catering accommodation in England, Scotland,
 +Wales and Northern Ireland. In the last year (1995-96) it has put its
 +400-page guide to members on the world-wide web. Each member can also
 +pay an annual fee of between £35 and £40 to have their own page which
 +usually incorporates a picture of the farm. Webscape, the Bureau'​s
 +Internet provider, then links the farmhouses to make sure that pages are
 +visited. In addition, the information is available in Japanese on a
 +Japanese web-server. (Webscape is also the service provider for the
 +Icelandic Farm Holiday Bureau.)
 +
 +
 +\
 +
 +Visitors to the Bureau'​s pages can order a copy of the printed guide and
 +be put on the e-mail news list. They can make bookings using e-mail or
 +fax directly from the Internet, if farms have either of these
 +facilities.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ In the year in which the service has been running, there
 +have been 25,000 visitors to one or more of the Farm Holiday Bureau
 +pages, equivalent to the number of printed guides sold. Visits are made
 +not only via the first of the web pages (its 'front door') but also
 +directly to farms' own pages. Small bed and breakfast operations are
 +getting world-wide advertising at an affordable price.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges**?​ Although some farms have had tremendous success others
 +are still waiting to reap the benefit. It can take time for people to
 +understand the possibilities offered by the Internet.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice**? Roger Phillips of Webscape suggests: 'Start with a small
 +site which can cost as little as £50 a year. Then decide whether and
 +how you want to expand it. Let it expand naturally.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [info@fhbaccom.demon.co.uk](mailto:​info@fhbaccom.demon.co.uk)
 +
 +Farm Holiday Bureau web-site: [http://​www.webscape.co.uk/​farmaccom/​](http://​www.webscape.co.uk/​farmaccom/​)
 +
 +Japanese version: [http://​www.aandepro.com/​farmholiday/​](http://​www.aandepro.com/​farmholiday/​)
 +
 +Icelandic Farm Holiday Bureau web-site: [http://​www.webscape.co.uk/​iceland/​](http://​www.webscape.co.uk/​iceland/​)
 +
 +\
 +
 +'It was the quietness that was heard most, broken only by the sound of a
 +cow lowing, or the breeze stirring the trees and the crunch of gravel
 +under our tires.'​ So wrote the New York Times about a cycling holiday
 +organised by Bicycle Beano in Mid Wales and the Marches area of England.
 +
 +### Bicycle Beano 
 +
 +In order to target potential customers in North America and Europe
 +(particularly Germany) Jane Barnes and Rob Green decided to be ahead of
 +the game and put their brochure on the world-wide web in May 1995.
 +Potential customers can browse through the brochure, choose a holiday
 +and then make a booking. At present this is done by printing out the
 +booking form and sending a deposit by post although provisional bookings
 +can be made by e-mail. There are plans to have a multi-lingual
 +site.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Benefits**?​ Direct marketing abroad is often too expensive and
 +time-consuming for small rural businesses but the world-wide web makes
 +it possible to reach individual potential customers. People are able to
 +respond immediately and make a booking. In the future, Bicycle Beano
 +will certainly save on costs, especially postage abroad and printing
 +brochures.
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Challenges**?​ Jane Barnes says: 'You have to make sure that your pages
 +are quick to load but still look good. We've gone for a black background
 +which shows up our photos nicely. You also have to work hard to make
 +sure that your site is visited - by sending information around to the
 +major search engines and other sites.'​
 +
 +\
 +
 +**Advice**: 'Count the cost because doing it properly will cost more
 +than just buying the basic kit. You have to decide if you think it's
 +going to be worthwhile. And you won't get it right in the first year!'
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [bicycle@beano.kc3Ltd.co.uk](mailto:​bicycle@beano.kc3Ltd.co.uk)
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.kc3Ltd.co.uk/​local/​beano/​](http://​www.kc3Ltd.co.uk/​local/​beano/​)
 +
 +\
 +
 +So...? ​
 +------
 +
 +\
 +
 +So what have the '​snapshots'​ in this article told us about some of the
 +benefits and challenges of information technology and the Internet to
 +people in rural communities?​
 +
 +\
 +
 +### Distance and cost 
 +\
 +
 +Information technology and the Internet certainly can '​shrink distance'​.
 +They make it possible to communicate immediately with people both near
 +at hand and very far away. Business, education, government and work is
 +no longer as dependent on place or transport. People can stay in touch
 +easily with their distant friends and family; businesses can market
 +their products and services further afield. There can be savings in the
 +amount of time and money spent on travelling and in the amount of money
 +spent on postage and printing. These savings, in turn, mean
 +environmental gains.
 +
 +### Resources and services ​
 +
 +A wider range of information and advice can be made available to rural
 +residents and professionals. Choice in some areas (such as learning and
 +hobbies) can be expanded. The quality of provision (such as in types of
 +local health care) may be improved. Potential visitors can learn about
 +rural communities.
 +
 +### Work and jobs
 +
 +Information technology has broadened the range of work it's possible to
 +do in and from rural areas. Existing businesses, even small ones, can
 +market themselves abroad with the potential to convert interest into
 +immediate sales. It has become possible to work at home, increasing job
 +opportunities,​ and giving more free time at home and in the community.
 +It is no longer necessary for some high-level jobs to be done in towns
 +and cities. Areas and communities can promote themselves on the
 +world-wide web, giving an insight into their way of life and encouraging
 +tourism.
 +
 +### Community ​
 +
 +An increase in the variety of types of work which can be done in rural
 +areas means that people don't necessarily have to move away to find
 +work. They can both live and work in their own communities.
 +
 +\
 +
 +The community has access to a wider pool of interests and talents which
 +may generate new and innovative ideas. Links can be made between
 +communities debating similar issues and new communities of interest can
 +be formed.
 +
 +### Time and motivation ​
 +
 +It takes time to become familiar with and to understand the
 +possibilities offered by information technology and the Internet.
 +Training and practice are needed, as is the motivation to communicate
 +with other groups and individuals.
 +
 +### Equality of access ​
 +
 +People in rural communities are already benefiting indirectly from
 +information technology but ensuring that everyone in rural communities
 +can benefit directly is a big challenge. Cost, location, ownership and
 +training are some of the areas for discussion and clarification.
 +
 +### Advice? ​
 +
 +\
 +
 +Finally, though, to adapt Roisin Hambly'​s advice: '​Anyone who's thinking
 +about it should definitely give it a go.'
 +
 +\
 +
 +More information ​
 +----------------
 +
 +### AeRIE - Applied Rural Telecom Resource Guide
 +
 +\
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.yampa.com/​aerie/​resource/​resource.html](http://​www.yampa.com/​aerie/​resource/​resource.html)
 +
 +\
 +
 +The guide provides rural communities throughout the United States and
 +the world with a toolkit of resources to help them meet their economic
 +and community development goals using telecommunications. The guide
 +offers a directory of economic development resources, an overview of
 +basic telecommunications concepts, a schedule of forthcoming conferences
 +and events, and background information on rural infrastructure.
 +
 +### LEADER ​
 +
 +NiAA (Northern Informatics Applications Agency)
 +
 +\
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.niaa.org.uk/​rural.html](http://​www.niaa.org.uk/​rural.html)
 +
 +### Scottish Teleworking Association ​
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [100447.1113@compuserve.com](mailto:​100447.1113@compuserve.com)
 +
 +### TCA 
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [100272.3137@compuserve.com](mailto:​100272.3137@compuserve.com)
 +
 +Web-site: http://​www.tca.org.uk/​
 +
 +### Telecottages Wales 
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [74431.1372@compuserve.com](mailto:​74431.1372@compuserve.com)
 +
 +Web-site: [http://​www.telecottages.org/​](http://​www.telecottages.org/​)
 +
 +### Telework Ireland
 +
 +\
 +
 +E-mail: [100272.1472@compuserve.com](mailto:​100272.1472@compuserve.com)
  
partnerships/articles/rural.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)