3.4.1.1 Using a model based on economies of scale

In planning technology expansion in rural communities, it is necessary to examine the whole chain of production, its key actors, and the economic levels in which each operates.

For example, the last link in the chain is the community center, which usually operates in a subsistence economy. Monetary resources are scarce, but important economic resources can be found in the community’s inhabitants and their organizations.

In this economic setting, however, it may be difficult to find certain resources that community access centers require, such as technical advice, equipment maintenance, peripherals and other items. These must be sourced from outside the immediate economic environment -- from a higher economic tier (the local economy). It is important that these resources are obtained at the local level and not at a global level, which is often cost-ineffective.

Finally, access to the main backbone network can only be managed by a company that is present in the global economy, since the backbone usually is beyond the reach of local service providers.

The design and implementation of connectivity programs in remote areas must take into account the productive chain described above, and the manner in which actors are coordinated or motivated. This will be looked at later in a representative case study.