Does Broadband Connectivity and Social networking sites build and maintain social capital in rural communities?
Broadband is a general purpose technology and major enabler for building social capital (SC) by better connecting rural communities – locally, nationally and internationally with families and friends and broadening their circles of influence. The main objectives of this paper are to determine to what extent broadband connectivity and Social Networking Sites (SNS) can facilitate building and maintaining SC in rural households. A large scale survey collected empirical data in the Western Downs Region of Queensland, Australia regarding households’ adoption and use of broadband Internet including SNSs and the contribution to building SC in rural communities. The results of this study suggest that Broadband connectivity would appear to build and maintain two dimensions of SC, namely bonding and bridging for households in rural communities in the study area. Moreover SNS users appeared to have significantly higher levels of SC than non-SNS users in rural communities with Broadband connectivity.