Many rural communities across America face several obstacles in the implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) initiatives and struggle with the best approaches for leveraging these elements into an economic development strategy. These obstacles include: lack of quality local ICTs infrastructure, funding, inability to aggregate demand, lack of leadership, and lack of technical skills. Thus, these rural communities may be at risk of falling behind in their quality of life and their economic status if they are unable or unwilling to implement and use information technology effectively. Conversely, some rural areas have begun to promote themselves as "ecommunities," successfully employing the use of ICTs as a way of addressing both economic and community development.
The main purpose of this study is to identify, examine, and determine critical components of successful community ICTs implementation strategies that build community capacity and promote economic development. This dissertation addresses the key issue of how best to ensure rural citizens have the access and ability for changing access capacity into genuine 21st century opportunities. The specific research question this study seeks to answer is "What critical factors contribute to successful ICTs implementation strategies in rural areas?" Many of the implementation strategies and practices vary from one rural community to the next. However, regardless of the strategies used, studies show several key factors which have consistently been attributed to the success of these ICTs initiatives.