Digital Communication and its Impact on Rural Economy

Digital Communication and its Impact on Rural Economy


Now a day’s “Digital” come as a word as broader sense in society. The evolution of technology, basically cable based technology take “Digital” in lime light. Contemporary society is called knowledge based society. Technological development brings this knowledge society. No develop is possible without the help of this technology of knowledge. Modern technology in the twenty-first century will have to be collaborative. It has to be built through a two-way exchange of information, experience, ideas, norms, and values. It must tap into modern system of societies and culture. The technology base communication can make it possible, which we called Digital Communication.

It was only in the nineteenth century, however, that communication network were systematically organized on a global scale. It was nineteenth century, therefore, that the globalization of communication took hold. This is partly due to the development of new technologies which enabled communication to be dissociated from physical transportation. Digital Communication focusing on three key developments on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s: (1) the development of underwater cable system by European imperials powers; (2) the establishment of international news agencies and their division of the world in to exclusive spheres of operation; and (3) the formation of international organization concerned with the allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum.

But the real figure of Bangladesh is not much bright. The concept of digital come this country with a few decade. So the digital sunshine comes slowly and the rural area is not much brighter than urban.

 Statement of the Problem

There can be no doubt that the organization of economic activities and concentration of economic power have played a crucial role in the process of Digital Communication. All forms of power- economic, political, coercive and symbolic- have both contribute and been affected by this process.

Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Brig Gen (retd) Zia Ahmed said the government is determined to reach the ICT facilities to the doorsteps of the people to build a ‘Digital Bangladesh’. “To achieve the goal, optimum use of information and communication technology (ICT) facilities such as internet connectivity, fiber optics, WiMax and 3G will have to be ensured for the people,” he told a press conference.[1]

The use of information and communication technology has been playing a vital role in the 21st century due to globalization and the government is encouraged to adapting with the coming future. Maximum people of Bangladesh live in village so that it is depending Bangladesh development after the development of rural area. Information technology can contribute to socio-economic development of any developing countries like Bangladesh. So it is the time demand to express mind with digital world. Though it is few but the village is now with digital touch. Bangladesh is becoming rapidly urbanized. The urbanization rate is currently 5-6 per cent per annum. In 1991, approximately 46 per cent of the country’s total urban population was located in the four largest metropolitan cities – Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi. In that same year, Dhaka’s population was 6.95 million, or 29 per cent of the country’s total urban population. It has been predicted that by the year 2025 more than 50 per cent of Bangladesh’s population will be living in urban areas. Dhaka’s present population is roughly over 10 million. Dhaka alone accounts for 40 percent of the country’s urban population. This urbanization sends the digital light to rural area with the interaction between urban and rural. But what given them this digital touch or what is its impact? Is it changing their economic criteria or life style or their traditional norms and values? We just try to find out the real impact in rural economic life with the touch of new technology what digital communication is.

Rationale of the Study

The government can benefit from Digital Communication through several means such as:

                                                     i.            More efficiency;

                                                     ii.            More transparency;

                                                    iii.            Enhanced accountability;

                                                    iv.            More efficient report generation for decision-making purposes;

                                                     v.            Reduced cost of service delivery;

                                                    vi.            Greater investment in village with a parallel of the town.

In the era of communication revolution or information technology age, a nation or a region cannot longer progress nor have an advantage without the support of high-quality information technological networks. A knowledge society will be contributed a great deal to civilization. We need to recover that status and become a knowledge power. We must learn from our mistakes to achieve a better standard of life. A developed country will supplant a spirit of defeat with the spirit of victory.

But in our country this information technological programs are very slow, because undeveloped economy, political violence, religious restriction, social and cultural factors are legal barriers.

With the advancement of information technology and the initiative of present government the rural people of Bangladesh already faced a changing result of culture in their day to day life. For the development of any society it is important to know how they communicate and what their economic condition. But there are no available researches on this matter. But it is the time to know about the impact of digital communication in rural economic life, because we who are Bangladeshi maximum are represented from rural area. The majority people of Bangladesh is belongs in rural life, so it will be easy to know Bangladesh economy if we know the standard of rural economy.

In this perspective, decision is taken to conduct this research (“Digital Communication and Its Impact on Rural Economy: A Sample Survey in a Village.”) and it may also be a secondary data for further researchers with this criteria.

 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to explore the present real scenario of the impact of “Digital communication” on rural economic life. The specific objectives are as follows;

  1. To know the changing pattern of rural economy with the help of Digital Communication.
  2. To analyze and know the benefits of rural people using by Digital communication on economic criteria.
  3. To know the psychological (increased self confidence, status in the family) and behavioral (political participation, perceived changes in the attitude) aspects using by communication base technology.
  4. To find out the problems by the digital communication.

Operational Definition of the Variables:

Digital: Digital describes electronic technology that generates, stores, and processes data in terms of two states: positive and non-positive. Positive is expressed or represented by the number 1 and non-positive by the number 0. Thus, data transmitted or stored with digital technology is expressed as a string of 0’s and 1’s. Each of these state digits is referred to as a bit (and a string of bits that a computer can address individually as a group is a byte).

Prior to digital technology, electronic transmission was limited to analog technology, which conveys data as electronic signals of varying frequency or amplitude that are added to carrier waves of a given frequency. Broadcast and phone transmission has conventionally used analog technology.

Digital technology is primarily used with new physical communications media, such as satellite and fiber optic transmission. A modem is used to convert the digital information in a computer to analog signals for a phone line and to convert analog phone signals to digital information for a computer.


Most people are born with the physical ability to talk, but we must learn to speak well and communicate effectively. Speaking, listening, and our ability to understand verbal and nonverbal meanings are skills we develop in various ways. We learn basic communication skills by observing other people and modeling our behaviors based on what we see. We also are taught some communication skills directly through education, and by practicing those skills and having them evaluated. The field of communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.

Digital Communication (DC):

Digital communication (as opposed to analog media) are usually electronic communication that work on digital codes. Today, computing is primarily based on the binary numeral system. In this case digital refers to the discrete states of “0” and “1” for representing arbitrary data. Computers are machines that (usually) interpret binary digital data as information and thus represent the predominating class of digital information processing machines. Digital communication like digital audio, digital video and other digital content can be created, referred to and distributed via digital information processing machines. Digital media represents a profound change from previous (analog) media.

The following list of digital media is based on a rather technical view of the term media. Other views might lead to different lists. Cellular phones, Compact discs, Digital video, Televisions, e-books, Internet, Minidisc, Video games, e-Commerce, game consoles, computers, and many interactive media.


Economy is a noun form of Economics which means the social science that is concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics aims to explain how economies work and how economic agents interact. Economic analysis is applied throughout society, in business, finance and government, but also in crime, education, the family, health, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, and science. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.

However the primary textbook distinction is between microeconomics, which examines the economic behavior of agents (including individuals and firms, consumers and producers), and macroeconomics, addressing issues of unemployment, inflation, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy for an entire economy.

Rural Economy:

Rural areas are large and isolated areas of an open often with low population density and Rural Economy is a kind of economy which is a circulation of rural area and rural life, depends on rural formal and informal sector. Most commonly rural economy has seen microeconomics activities.

Economic Impact:

An economic impact analysis traces spending through an economy and measures the cumulative effects of that spending. The impact region is determined by the client and can be the entire state, individual counties or a combination of multiple counties.

Economic impact analysis examines the effect of a policy, program, project, activity or event on the economy of a given area. The area can range from a neighborhood to the entire globe. Economic impact is usually measured in terms of changes in economic growth (output or value added) and associated changes in employment and income.

The economic Impact also analysis individuals social status, power structure and influence.


(a) Digital communication is responsible to impact on rural economy.

(b) Digital communication is not responsible to impact on rural economy.

Literature Review

Kumar (1997) shows the agrarian structure and technology in historical perspective. He analyzed agrarian structure with a framework and finding agrarian relation and class structure in late colonial Bengal. He also indicates how the technological changes adopt behavior in Bangladesh, India and West Bengal agriculture. The main hypothesis examined in the study is that prevailing agrarian structure constrained development of productive forces and achievement of socioeconomic equity in the process of development more in Bangladesh than in West Bengal. This is because the progressive ruling elite in West Bengal has been successful in enacting and implementing radical agrarian reforms, while attempts at serious reform in Bangladesh have been frustrated either due to inappropriate design or the lack of political will to implement the provisions of the law.

The author concludes from his review that; there was, however, no difference in the adoption of new technologies and in both areas the land tenure system adjusted to the needs of new technology.

Bouman (1989) discuss the informal rural finance in India. What is rural finance policy, what are its main features and informal rural economy, its problems and weakness etc also described. He makes an Indian district to analysis the informal rural finance in India. Bouman shows a little use of technology in Indian informal rural finance. The focus shifted to the bishi‘s (an informal saving and loan society) formal counterpart at village level, the Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS), that holds such a prominent place in India’s rural finance policy. The author mainly focuses Indian rural finance, land development, problems and compare it with urban credited society.

Banik (1998) makes a good job for analyzing technology and land elevations of Bengal. His analysis of agrarian structure in Bangladesh classes with an inter-regional land elevation. He indicates land pattern, structure of farm Households, farm size etc. In his book technical efficiency of irrigated farms is discussed with a conceptual framework and shown it’s interlink in credit markets.

The development and diffusion of agricultural technology, of which agro-mechanical technology is an important component, is a prerequisite for rural development. Technology changes the economic characteristics in new criteria such as cultivators, livestock distribution, occupational distribution etc. The agricultural implement market makes a vital role in account of technology use (Basant, and Subrahmamian: 1990). An analysis of the process of technology diffusion may be divided into two components: analysis of the major factors which condition the responsible of the technology users, and an analysis of the nature of the responses themselves. These two are interlinked. The result of our study on those two issues can be pieced together to develop a tentative outline of the agro-mechanical diffusion process and thereby generate testable hypothesis.

The cell phone is the single most transformative technology for development, according to Colombia University economist an emerging markets expert Jeffrey Sachs. The World Bank study (1996) has found that access to affordable mobile and internet service creates youth employment, increases productivity and exports and promotes social inclusion. The study was started with macro economic framework in rural development. This macro economic framework analysis the agricultural productivity and rural infrastructure.  Regarding the socio-economic impact of rural infrastructure, the study examines the evidence from past experience as available in different studies and carries the research in this area further by developing a district level regression model in order to study linkages between the agricultural productivity and infrastructure. In account of the study in technical consideration, it is concluded technical specification, market construction, locally produced equipment, tools and non-motorized means of transportation, appropriate technology and impact on other modes.

According to Nrvijnana Patrika (2008:281-294), the green revolution introduce the new technology in agriculture that now known as modern agriculture. With the help of modern technology this kinds of agriculture make a social division between man and woman. The author showed some data from different countries to prove the discrimination between man and woman. This is specially happened in Asian under development countries. Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) 1st introduced technology in agriculture. This mechanic and comical technology told as “High Yelding Varieties Program (HYV).

This is a digital world. Globalization plays a vital role in this era. The results of globalization are rapidly increasing information technology. Growing up of the luxurious life both rural and urban areas, and influence in our mainstream economy and day to day activities.

According to Aman Ullah (1998) -Information technology makes socio-economic and cultural development including social change and political growth self- perpetuating systems. Both communication and change, by helping each other in their growth make the total process of social development a self-perpetuating one 1998:137-339)”.

In account of Dhaka University Journal on (June 2000)- Internet may play a vital role in Market product. In the article writers are show the importance and probability to capture the market with the help of internet, which is the part of digital communication. Authors try to show how internet is beneficial for market system. Now in globalization era it is essential to stay in touch with digital communication or so called modern technology. Authors given some internet link where a man can communicate with others via virtual world.

In an annual journal of BARD (December 2007), shows the importance of Community radio in different perspective, basically in economic action. This article said technological revolution especially digital communication make a dynamic change in Bangladesh economy. There have many problems such as natural calamity and digester and so on, but the development process is going on. It is mainly show from 1996. So it is essential to spread out digital communication to develop more to rise up as a develop economy.

There is an article report published in The Daily Star named as “A catalyst for technological development” which indicates the factors what are really involved in development of technology especially digital technology or so called digital communication. It is mention what has been achieved and how soon this is completed will depend on what scientific expertise and research infrastructure is already available in Bangladesh or can be put in place in a short time with the help of technology. (The Daily Star; July 2, 2010:11)

Summarized the Review:

There have many work been concluded about technology and economy. If we see the conducting literature review than will saw, Kumar (1997) discuss about Agrarian structure and technology. But only agriculture is not the part of economy. There have many other parts that rejected in the study. Bouman (1989) discuss only about the informal rural finance in India, but the formal sector is absence in his discussion. Not only this, but that study was held in India, so there have no Bangladeshi rural experience. Banik (1998) analyzing technology and land elevations of Bengal, but that is not given a clear conception about digital communication and its impact on economy. Basant, and Subrahmamian (1990) discussed about the agricultural technology but other things are absence. The World Bank study (1996) has found that access to affordable mobile and internet service creates youth employment. It is not for all society and not especially for rural area. A part of communication comes here. In Nrvijnana Patrika (2008:281-294), the article also indicate the technology with agriculture. Aman Ullah (1998) emphasis information technology with globalization. He gives some information but that is not sufficient. An article in Dhaka University Journal (June, 2000) says about the beneficial for market system with the help of technology. This technology is broadly indicating the digital communication. But the relation of rural economy with digital communication is not discussed. Another article from BARD (December 2007) mention about community radio as digital communication purpose. But community radio is not only the element of digital communication. The Daily Star (July 2, 2010) published an article about technological development. Here discussion about the technological revolution after digitalized Bangladesh. This revolution is beginning in urban to rural area. But what impact comes from this revolution is not indicate.

There have some lickings on those review of literature what we discuss. I am going to find out the impact of Digital communication in rural economy, where the study will circulated with digital communication and rural economy that may included social and mental behavior.  But no review is appropriate for this purpose. This is knowledge based society, so it is situation demand to find the impact on rural economy with the help of Digital Communication.

Theoretical Frameworks

Related Theories:

Functionalist Theory of Media and Society: Functionalism claims to explain social practices and institutions in term of the “Needs” of the society and individuals (Menon, 1957). As applied to the media institution, the presumed `needs` have mainly to do with continuity, order, integration, motivation, guidance, socialization, adaptation etc. Society is viewed as an ongoing system of linked working parts or subsystem, of which the mass media are one, each making an essential contribution to continuity and order. Organized social life is said to require the continued maintenance of moral or less accurate, consistent, supportive and complete picture of the working of society and the social environment. It is by responding to the demands of individuals and institutions in consistent ways that the media achieve unintended benefits for the society as a whole.

The main functions of communication in society, according to Lasswell (1948), were surveillance of the environment, correlation of the parts of the society in responding to its environment and the transmission of the cultural heritage. But it has another aspect- that of providing individual reward, relaxation and reduction of tension, which makes it easier for people to cope with real life problems and for societies to avoid breakdown (Mendelsohn, 1966).

According to Functionalist theory, Mass media are essential to society for Integration; co-operation; order, control and stability; adaptation of change; mobilization; management of tension; continuity of culture and values.

Information society theory: The Sociologist Gouldner (1976) interpreted key change in modern political history in terms of communication technology. He connects the rise of ideology defined as a special form of relation discourse, to printing and the newspaper on the grounds that these stimulated a supply of interpretation and ideas. He then portrays the latter media of Radio, Television as having led to a decline of ideology, because of the shift from conceptual to iconic symbolism. Each technology has a bias to particular communication forms, content and uses, the sequence of invention and application of communication technology what is so called digital communication influences social change and that communication revolution lead to social revolution.

According to Neuman (1991:12) “The quintessential characteristics of the new electronic media (digital media) is that they all connect with one another. We are witnessing the evolution of a universal interconnect network of audio, video and electronic text communication that will blur the distinction between interpersonal and mass communication and between public and privet communication.

So at a glance the characteristics of Information Society are: It is predominant of information work, has a great volume of information flows, it has a globalizing tendency and this society is post modern culture and economy. So when we discuss about digital communication than this theory is much interrelated with my study. Because digital communication is the part of information society and it is really influence our life with the help of global world.

Media and Development theory: The most popular information technologist Herbert Marshall McLuhan in the 1964s was given the theory. “The interactive sequence of communication and technological and cultural change: technologies arise from society and have effects on society depending on the form of application developed”. This theory’s main team is ‘Technologies are unlikely to have a direct impact on cultural practices, but only as technology through a relevant institutions’. (McQuail Denis: 3rd ed: 108). Though this theory is related to culture but at the same time it is related to social economy also.

Mass media serve as a agents of development by encouraging individual change and mobility; spreading democracy; promoting economic demand; aiding literacy, education, health, population control etc,

 A Model of Technology and Cultural Change: There is a model about the relation between technology and cultural change. We can use this model to show the relation between technology (which specially digital communication) and Economic change or impact (McQuail; 1994:108)

In the figure given above we saw if the Ideas are applied by new technology in a society or its context than it is applied to old uses and old uses are changed. It may turn as a new development and then communication institution adapt with a new forms and meaning. If the process is going on than it will call Counting process of technical and cultural change. In the same way when economics is adapt with this new technologies than the economic criteria will also changed.

 Theoretical Frameworks used for the Study:

There have some theory from The Sociology of Mass Communication is related with my study. Those theories, that some are emphasis on communication which is related with digital media, some emphasis on the relation between media and Economics. There have also some theory which is related with technology and society. Those are some related and semi-related theories. But I’ll consider a particular theory to use in my study. I specially think that “Functionalist Theory of Media and Society” is much more related with my study. Because the meaning of “Functionalist Theory of Media and Society” is emphasis the society and try to explain the relation between media and society. If we consider media as technology which is digital communication and Society as rural economy (Economy is one of the part in society) than this theory can be appropriate for my study.

Types of Research

This pattern of this research will be evaluative type. The study is an effort to evaluate the impact of digital communication in rural economic life and its influence on rural power structure, their life style, their norms and values, their culture etc. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection technique will be used in the study. Few case studies will be done to support the findings and to attain in depth information.

Location of the Study:

Criteria for selection of the study area

The study area is selected based on the following criteria:

  • The size of the rural area will reasonably big with a large population.
  • The people of that rural area or village will operated with digital communication in their life style.

Selected Area

Bangladesh is basically a rural country, its 80% people live in village and rural development is the indicator of the development of Bangladesh. But it is difficult to consider whole village to find the result about the Impact of Digital Communication on Rural Economy. I will consider only a village as the Research area. It will be easier to get good research result from my own village, so I selected Orzuna in Tangail district as my research area.

 Sample Size

The sample size in any sample survey is an important factor, as sampling in any study is unavoidable since time; money and efforts do not allow studying all possible members of a population. The whole people living in Orzuna village will consider of the population and analysis unit of the research/study. But yet it is a research monograph paper so there I will not take a large number of sample sizes. We will consider only 120 household as our sample and only one man/woman from each household will be our sample. The selected sample will equal consider male and female respondent and they may different with their identity with their occupation.

As it is a evaluative type study, so I will consider some case studies too with my study. The sample number of case study will be 10. I will make 2 focus group discussions also. The sample sizes of each focus group will 10-12.

Sampling Method

Orzuna is a village where has 2486 people live and has nearly 420 households (up to 1st July 2010) belongs, so it is not much different to take 120 samples. For quantitative data collection, we will consider Systematic sampling to collect our respondent. In account of my study in Orzuna village the sampling fraction will 420/120 or 14/4 and the sampling interval will be nearly 4.

All respondent of the case study will take purposive way. And respondent of focus group discussion will consider in accidental way.

 Method of Data Collection

Mainly, the study will be based on primary data. In case of need secondary data formed will be used on the research.

 Primary sources

Primary information will be provided directly by the selected people in the rural area. Primary data will be collected by means of standardized questionnaires used in interviewing the sampled respondents. It will be also acquired through direct observation, Case Studies and Focus Group Discussions.

As the study will be on digital communication and its impact on rural life, it is thought that the study will look closely at the impact of digital communication on rural power structure, economy, culture life style etc.

 Method of collecting information

To obtain primary data, the study will be employed some techniques such as reconnaissance survey, key informants interview, questionnaire survey, focal group discussions, observations, case study and documents screening time to time.

Reconnaissance survey

The questionnaire will be pre-tested and refined before use in the field to ensure its suitability for the field survey, to understand the geographical fact and facilities, to gather general background information and  to decide to go ahead with a certain envisaged activity or not.

Questionnaire survey

Both quantitative and qualitative information will be gathered through formal interviews with rural people at the selected study area.

Focus Group Discussion

Informal discussions with the participant and non-participant man and women within the household will be conducted to learn quick information and to exchange their views between respondents and researcher by using semi-structured interview

Case study

The respondents will be interviewed to know their benefit with digital communication on economic life, what they contribute, what they want etc. The levels of impact of digital communication on economy will be measured of their own position within the households, society, community and power structure etc.

General Observation

The researcher will directly visit and observe physical environment of the households, practice and household’s role and relationship such as who does what, livelihood strategy, power relation’s socio-cultural norm, and institutional, economic and demographic conditions. Observation of participants’ behavior, attitude and the way of accepting the technology adopting it and getting benefit from this. This method is crucial for studying the behavior and attitude of the interviewees.

Secondary sources

Secondary data may be defined as pre-existing or pre-recording data which are not collected for the specific ends of a given social researcher.

Secondary data will be required to select the study area and to describe it. Some of the secondary data will be collected from Expressive document such as literature and publications in national and international books and articles; Mass –media reports as website, news, magazines, journals and other publications; and Official records as documents and data from Union Parisad, UP Agricultural Office, different types of government and non-government organization.

Analysis Plan 

Analysis of Survey Data:

Various levels of statistical analysis will be done for the survey data: Frequency distribution, bivariate and multivariate analysis. Frequency distribution will be used to discuss the general nature of the variables. Univariat analysis included simple percentage distribution, the measure of central tendency and dispersion. Bivariate analysis will be use to describe the relationship between the variables. Chi-square and Pearsonion correlation co-efficient will used for measuring the strength of relationship among variables. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) will used for processing and analyzing the survey data. For facilitating analysis with the help of SPSS, we transformed all variables into numerical code and later decoded for explanation.

 Analysis of Case Studies:

Analyses of Case Studies are the part of Qualitative data analysis process. It is the written summaries or syntheses of real-life cases based upon data and research. It is required to isolate and think through the key issues involved against both theory and the larger comparative environment. So 1st identify appropriate strategies for the resolution of the ‘case’, than will define the objective of the case study. Identify the important players within the organization, the “stakeholders”; classified other target groups of the organization, whether clients or suppliers.

 Content Analysis:

Content analysis is appropriate for studies of how much of a given phenomenon there is in a chosen set of texts. There are many different kinds of question content analysis can address, but it is best suited to comparative studies where some reliable facts would help. It is important to make a hypothesis for content analysis. After define the categories, a coding sheet will create to record the findings. With the help of SPSS, the coding categories will be tasted. It is easy to get the percentage from the sum of the findings.  Chi-square will used for measuring the phenomenon, but calculating percentages is mainly focused in content analysis.

Time Schedule

               Schedule           Time
Secondary Data Collection       2 month
 Prepared Proposal       2 month
 Questioners       1 month
 Data Collection       5 month
 Data Analysis       2 month
Total       1 Year

Scope and Limitations of the Study

Digital communication is a vast concept. It is not possible to describe about its impact on economy with only a research monograph. This study will cover only economic, (including social, psychological and behavioral) impact of digital communication on rural life. For this study only one village is considered. I just take a little number of sample respondents from the village. That may not represent the whole rural area in Bangladesh, but given a concept about the impact of digital communication on rural economy.

There have may some limitation too. As this is my 1st research work so it may not possible to catch the perfect mechanism for the lack of experience.


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Digital Communication