This paper examines the prospects for rural areas within the Information Society, referring particularly to the EU experience. Among these are the diminishing effects of distance from core markets and enhancing the learning capacities of rural areas by improving access to relevant information. EU policy to dare has been influenced by a strong technology dimension with an emphasis on the installation of necessary infrastructure and equipment. There is an increasing awareness, however, of the need to focus on the social dimension, as scepticism grows about wasted resources, poorly thought out projects and False expectations. Teleworking, which was widely hyped as the best prospect for I ural areas, continues to be predominantly an urban or suburban phenomenon. Although the new technologies are no substitute for entrepreneurship. the potential they present, within a more enlightened policy environment, should nor be: underestimated. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.