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The reluctant regulator: The Rural Utilities Service and American broadband policy

Christopher Ali and Mark Duemmel

Telecommunications Policy, 2019, vol. 43, issue 4, 380-392

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Rural broadband; Rural telecommunications; FCC; USDA; RUS; Internet policy; Media governance; Stakeholder analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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