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Title: The geography of the Internet infrastructure in Europe
Authors: Tranos, Emmanouil
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This doctoral thesis is concerned with the geographic analysis of the Internet infrastructure and its impacts on the economic development of the city-regions. The starting point for this research is the infrastructural attributes of the Internet which enables it to facilitate the modern – and rapidly expanded – digital economy by transporting its informational goods and services. In order to approach this research subject a wide range of quantitative methods is employed: from network analysis and complex network theory to principal components and cluster analysis as well as panel data analysis and Granger causality test. The empirical research is firstly focused on analysing the urban economic geography of the Internet backbone network in Europe. In order to better understand the geography and the topology of the Internet backbone network, a structural comparison with the aviation networks in Europe also takes place. Secondly, effort is spent in highlighting the determinant geographic and socio-economic factors behind the distribution of this Internet infrastructure across the European city-regions. Thirdly, this study examines the impact of the – unevenly distributed – Internet infrastructure on the economic development of the European city-regions. The above empirical analysis highlighted the unequal distribution of the Internet infrastructure and mostly the Internet capacity across the European cities. Different roles were identified for different cities, but over time the golden diamond of London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt appears to be the core of the European Internet backbone network, with London being the dominant hub. However, no clear evidence for scale free attributes was identified. Moreover, the analysis demonstrated that the level of development, the services and the knowledge economy, the spatial structure as well as the physical transport and accessibility level are significant predictors of the distribution of the Internet infrastructure. In addition, the econometric modelling concluded that the Internet infrastructure is a significant predictor of the economic development of the city-regions and that the causality runs from the Internet infrastructure to the regional economic development. Even more interesting is the geographic analysis of the causality direction as an almost north-south pattern emerged, with the northern city-regions in Europe being more efficient in exploiting the installed Internet infrastructure. The latter can be used as an evidence for the inclusion of the Internet infrastructure in the local and regional economic development agenda. However, a set of other framework condition should be also present in order for the Internet infrastructure to have a positive impact on the regional economic development.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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