As a technical matter, it is the case that the Internet is more like cable TV than the telephone network. While the Internet does support interpersonal communication, its primary role is publishing audio, video, pictures, and text. And like cable TV, it’s a platform in which advertising is a very important source of revenue.
You can count on rural networks being built out of a variety of wireless technologies in present and near future. As needs for capacity increase, signal processing systems that enable more efficient sharing will keep the rural folks ahead of the tsunami.