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Telecommunications Access, Social Capital and Sustainable Development

Authors: Susan.Bandias


This paper examines the role of telecommunications in sustainable development of urban, rural and remote communities in the Northern Territory of Australia through the theoretical lens of Social Capital. Social Capital is a relatively new construct and is rapidly gaining interest among policy makers, politicians and researchers as a means to both describe and understand social and economic development. Increasingly, the concept of Social Capital, as opposed to the traditional economic indicators, is seen as a more accurate measure of well-being. Whilst the essence of Social Capital is quality social relations, the concept intersects with telecommunications and Information Communications Technology (ICT) in a number of ways. The potential of ICT to disseminate information quickly, to reach vast numbers of people simultaneously and to include the previously excluded, is immense. However, the exact nature of the relationship is not clearly defined. This paper examines the nexus between social relations of mutual benefit, telecommunications access and sustainable development. A mixed methodological approach was used to test the hypothesis that No relationship exists between Social Capital and access to telecommunications services and facilities. Four communities, which included two urban, a rural and a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory of Australia are the focus of this research paper.

Keywords: Indigenous disadvantage, Social Capital, sustainable development, telecommunications.

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