The Economic Impact of Rural Telecommunications: The Greater Gains

Hanns Kuttner, Hudson Institute
Prepared for the Foundation for Rural Service


  • Rural telecommunications companies contributed $14.5 billion to the economies of the states in which they operated in 2009. Of this, $10.3 billion was through their own operations and $4.2 billion was through the follow-on impact of their operations. The cumulative $14.5 billion can be referred to as "final economic demand."

  • While the industry's output is telecommunications services in rural areas, the economic activity it generates accrues both to the rural areas served and also to urban areas as well.

  • Surprisingly, only one-third (34 percent or $4.97 billion) of the $14.5 billion final economic demand generated by rural telecom companies accrues to rural areas; the other two-thirds (66 percent or $9.57 billion) redounds to the benefit of urban areas.

  • The rural telecommunications sector supported 70,700 jobs in 2009, both through its own employment and the employment that its purchases of goods and services generated.

Colorado's impact:

Direct Impact Additional Impact Total Impact Employment
$117.5 million $62.3 million $179.8 million 853

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Copyright 2012, Colorado Community Access Alliance