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Abstract

Rural communities suffer from both supply and demand-side disadvantages when dealing with Internet access. Telecommunications companies are less likely to provide them with needed infrastructure due to lower population densities, and they also tend to have lower levels of specific factors known to influence the access decision such as education and income. This study looks at the broadband Internet setting in Oklahoma over a 3-year period, examining the diffusion of both infrastructure and access rates. A non-linear decomposition technique allows for measurement of how specific characteristics, including the availability of infrastructure, contribute to observed metropolitan – micropolitan or metropolitan – noncore “digital divides.” The results suggest that while differences in infrastructure are consistently only minor contributors to the divide, their importance has increased as knowledge about the Internet has diffused.

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