Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Stuart N. Brotman

Committee Members

Michael Wirth, Michael Fitzgerald, Mark Harmon


Multiple studies have shown that access to high-speed broadband networks significantly improves the economies, education, and lifestyle benefits in rural areas. Consequently, this dissertation seeks to show how electric co-operatives could be an effective means for providing rural and cash-poor communities with this vital access. It analyzes the history of electric co-operatives, the legislative and regulatory status of electric co-operatives, funding processes, and the current energy/telecommunications marketplace. In light of the opportunities presented, challenges regarding how they should be regulated, legislated, and funded are addressed as well.

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