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Rural realities: digital communication challenges for rural Australian local governments

Freeman, Julie and Park, Sora 2015, Rural realities: digital communication challenges for rural Australian local governments, Transforming government: people, process and policy, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 465-479, doi: 10.1108/TG-03-2015-0012.

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Title Rural realities: digital communication challenges for rural Australian local governments
Author(s) Freeman, Julie
Park, Sora
Journal name Transforming government: people, process and policy
Volume number 9
Issue number 4
Start page 465
End page 479
Total pages 15
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1750-6174
Keyword(s) connectivity
broadband infrastructure
rural local government
digital government
digital inclusion
policy
Summary Purpose – This article explores challenges for rural Australian local governments during the transition to high-speed broadband infrastructure. Despite the National Broadband Network’s promised ubiquitous connectivity, significant access discrepancies remain between rural and urban areas.Methodology – Empirical findings are drawn from a full-day workshop on digital connectivity, which included participants from seven rural local governments in New South Wales, Australia. Thematic analysis of the workshop transcript was undertaken in order to extrapolate recurring nuances of rural digital exclusion. Findings – Rural communities face inequitable prospects for digital inclusion, and authorities confront dual issues of accommodating connected and unconnected citizens. Many areas have no or poor broadband access, and different digital engagement expectations are held by citizens and local governments. Citizens seek interactive opportunities, but rural authorities often lack the necessary resources to offer advanced participatory practices. Research limitations/implications – While this research draws from a small sample of government officials, their insights are nonetheless heuristically valuable in identifying connectivity issues faced in rural Australia. These issues can guide further research into other regions as well as civic experiences of digital inclusion. Practical/social implications – There is a need to reconceive Australia’s current policy approach to broadband. Greater rural digital inclusion may be achieved by focusing on connectivity as a public interest goal, targeting infrastructure developments to suit local contexts, and implementing participatory digital government practices. Originality/value – The actions suggested would help ensure equity of digital inclusion across Australian municipal areas. Without such changes, there is a risk of rural citizens facing further marginalisation through digital exclusion.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/TG-03-2015-0012
Field of Research 200102 Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
Socio Economic Objective 890403 Internet Broadcasting
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Emerald Group Publishing
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30075657

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.