A joint study with research institutes in Denmark, Germany, Greece, the UK, Italy and Spain looked at ways in which telematics could improve development strategies for rural and peripheral regions of Europe. More than 900 projects in the fields of teleworking, tele-cottages, public, tourist and agricultural information systems, and even correspondence courses and tele-medical services were documented, and 60 of them analysed in detail. The results show that telematics can have a positive influence on the development of rural regions, although the effects vary from project to project depending on their nature and scope. In addition, the direct economic effects on jobs and income are less significant than the social and cultural impact: provision of extended qualifications, easier access to and better quality of social services, strengthening of community and regional identity. Conditions such as the average distance to large urban centres, small number of project operators, and simple, user-friendly and sophisticated technology were identified as key factors in the success of the projects.
01/1992 - 12/1995