Discusses the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for rural communities. Highlights the factors preventing rural communities from reaping the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and technological innovations to access them. Defines community information systems and lists selected successful models outside India. Despite the limitations in basic infrastructure and low‐level penetration of information technology in India, more than 50 grassroots projects are using modern ICTs for the benefit of rural communities. Describes selected community projects in India. Also identifies the bottlenecks in, possible solutions for and observations of the initiatives of rural projects. Concludes that creating information‐rich societies is a key element of poverty reduction and sustainable development. Community network centres can play a key role in meeting the socio‐economic aspirations of rural communities by successfully addressing the “eight Cs” of success in the digital age: connectivity, content, community, commerce, capacity, culture, co‐operation and capital.
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