Supporting rural Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to take up broadband-enabled technology: What works?

Price, Liz and Shutt, Jim and Sellick, Jessica (2018) Supporting rural Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to take up broadband-enabled technology: What works? Local Economy, 33 (5). pp. 515-536. ISSN UNSPECIFIED

Full content URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269094218...

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Supporting rural Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to take up broadband-enabled technology: What works?
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Abstract

The last 15 years have seen major changes in the availability and usage of broadband in the UK. Despite these improvements, rural areas continue to lag behind urban areas for broadband connection speeds – a divide that is exacerbated by lower rates of broadband adoption among rural Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This paper examines the experiences of SMEs that have participated in a publicly funded programme designed to stimulate demand for broadband in the rural region of Lincolnshire, UK. Drawing on interviews conducted over two periods of policy intervention (2003–2006 and 2010–2015) it examines the variety of business support approaches used and identifies the effects of these on use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovation, and sales within participating SMEs. The results show that while training events provide entry-level support for broadband use, more intensive support such as 1:1 advice and ICT grants leads to the significant changes within the business. Direct access to new technology in spaces such as Technology Hubs is identified as particularly important for rural SMEs. The paper concludes by identifying some common features of the business support that bring about the greatest benefits to SMEs in rural areas.

Additional Information:The final published version of this article can be accessed online at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0269094218791508
Keywords:broadband adoption, broadband-enabled technology, business support, rural broadband, SMEs
Subjects:L Social studies > L721 Economic Geography
N Business and Administrative studies > N190 Business studies not elsewhere classified
L Social studies > L231 Public Administration
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:33118
Deposited On:10 Sep 2018 14:02

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