Purpose – There is much evidence that information and communication technologies (ICTs) are drivers of economic growth. As a result, government is keen to promote ICT take‐up, particularly where there is economic development need. The rural economy in most countries is regarded as that which requires intervention in order to foster sustainability and development, and there have been many empirical studies of both the value and the use of ICTs in rural areas. These are, however, highly disparate, often being industry‐, country‐ and, indeed, type‐of‐technology‐specific. Aims to draw together the highly eclectic literature on the use of ICTs in rural small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to provide an overview of generic issues, relevant to policy. Design/methodology/approach – Comprises a literature review, based on academic, government and agency publications, and provides commentary on emergent issues, particularly those relating to policy recommendations. Findings – Finds that there is a lag in rural uptake of ICTs and that the reasons for this include both supply and demand failures. From a policy perspective the review notes that intervention is best directed via a multi‐channel approach. Originality/value – The value of the paper lies in the provision, for the first time, of a coherent review of findings and implications of the many research studies and informed commentaries on ICT up‐take by SMEs, particularly in rural areas, thus providing a more sound basis for understanding the implications for, and informing, those involved in policy intervention and support.
info – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2005
Keywords: Rural areas; Rural economies; Communication technologies; Internet