Publication details [#9103]

Ramirez, Ricardo. 2007. Appreciating the contribution of broadband ICT with rural and remote communities: Stepping stones toward an alternative paradigm. 10 pp.


This article challenges conventional policy development and evaluation approaches that emphasize the instrumental side of technology. There is a growing gap between conventional planning and evaluation approaches for rural broadband ICTs that seek to demonstrate a direct link between investments and results on the one hand, and on the other, with evidence that the contribution of ICTs to rural economic, social and cultural wellbeing is increasingly difficult to demonstrate beyond short-term measurable indicators. The article proposes an alternative paradigm based on sociotechnical systems, stakeholder engagement, an acknowledgment of the multiple dimensions at play, and the growing evidence of unpredictability of ICTs. The article emphasizes a perspective based on "contribution," not attribution; policymaking that is both adaptive and inclusive of multiple perspectives; methodological testing of emerging evaluation methodologies; and projects as learning experiments. This alternative theoretical and policymaking paradigm is encapsulated in a metaphor based on the management of natural resources where stakeholders track their own indicators of impact by reading how the system responds to a project intervention. (LLBA, Accession Number 18651438, (c) CSA [2008]. All rights reserved.)