The idea that IT can be used to alleviate and fight poverty has been widely embraced. However, while most IT- based interventions in poor and rural communities and villages have tended to demonstrate initial success, their long-term viability still remains unclear. Based on field experiences in India, we present findings of a case study that highlights issues and concerns beyond initial success associated with IT intervention in rural settings. We analyze the primary concern of sustainability to extend far beyond simple economic viability in the longer run. Governance structures for the IT setup, value links associated with the IT setup, and the nature of IT linkages add up to influencing the sustainability of IT interventions in rural settings. We base our analysis on Habermasí theory of communicative action (TCA) and conclude that sustaining the larger vision of empowerment and social change is more important that simply seeking economic viability for IT interventions. Our major implication from a policy perspective is to support IT interventions much longer than expected at present. The major implication for theory is the utility of TCA for assessing the value of IT investments.
Kanungo, Shivraj, "Examining the Sustainability of Rural IT Interventions: Lessons from the Field" (2002). ICIS 2002 Proceedings. 49.