CARI: Center for Applied Rural Innovation


Date of this Version

October 2002


Published by the Center for Applied Rural Innovation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Copyright © 2002 by J. Allen, R. Vogt, S. Cordes, and R. Cantrell.


The use of telecommunications technologies nationwide has increased dramatically during the past five years. New applications are constantly being developed and implemented. How has rural Nebraskans’ use of telecommunications changed over the past five years? Does use of technology differ by age, income, and education?

This report details 2,841 responses to the 2002 Nebraska Rural Poll, the seventh annual effort to understand rural Nebraskans’ perceptions. Respondents were asked a question regarding their use of some telecommunications technologies or applications. Trends for this question are examined by comparing data from this year to the 1997 study. In addition, comparisons are made among different respondent subgroups, i.e., comparisons by age, occupation, region, etc. Based on these analyses, some key findings emerged:

The use of telecommunications technologies by rural Nebraskans has increased over the past five years. For example, in 1997 only 13 percent of the respondents regularly used e-mail. In 2002, 42 percent regularly use e-mail. Similarly, when asked about the “World Wide Web” in 1997, only eight percent said they use it regularly. However, in 2002, 43 percent say they regularly use “Internet access.”

The technologies or applications used most often include: telephone answering machine, cable TV, personal computer and cellular phone. The proportions reporting that they regularly use each are as follows: answering machine (65%), cable TV (53%), personal computer (49%) and cellular phone (47%).

The groups most likely to use all of the technologies include: younger persons, those with higher household incomes, males, persons with higher education levels, married respondents and persons with professional occupations.