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The reluctant regulator: the rural utilities service and American broadband policy

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Ali, Christopher (main author), Duemmel, Mark (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
government policies, government services, Internet, regulations, rural communication, rural development, telecommunications, broadband, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), stakeholders, USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), communication policy, Rural Utilities Service
13 pages., via online journal., Drawing on the increasing body of literature on policy stakeholders and the ever-growing acknowledgement that communication policy is crafted by more than just parliamentarians and formal communication regulators this paper examines the role that another set of regulators plays in communication policy: agriculture regulators. Based on a study of the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), this paper explores alternative agents of communication policy. More specifically, through document analysis we examine the way in which the Rural Utilities Service has shaped rural broadband policy in the United States over the last three decades. The implications for this research are wide, as it brings another policy actor into the policy making melee, and pushes communication policy scholars to consider the role that non-traditional communication regulators play in the communication policy making process.