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Closing gaps in the information society: providing high-speed broadband access to rural areas


  • Arnold PICOT


  • Nico GROVE



Broadband, in particular the national level of broadband penetration is a significant driver for economic growth. Whilst the availability of broadband in terms of bandwidth and variety of competitive communication providers is highly sufficient in population dense areas, rural areas suffer massively from the digital divide effect. The term “digital divide” refers to the absence of high performance broadband connections in remote rural areas. This divide is not only the case for some specific areas; it is moreover a well known general phenomenon in industrialized countries. Recently, public pressure for an accelerated comprehensive roll-out of high performance broadband has become more intense. It can be observed, that access to broadband seems to receive more and more the status of a public good, where public engagement is required for provision. Resulting governmental activities to foster broadband penetration and usage especially in less populated and rural areas are easily comprehensible. But the question is now if and how public intervention is required for the provisioning of broadband access infrastructure. The feasibility of rural FTTH networks is hence at the core of the study at hand. 37 FTTH projects in rural areas were analyzed in this study according to a framework developed. In the end, the results suggest public private partnerships as a combination of public and private financing in funding (local) fibre infrastructure investment projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold PICOT & Nico GROVE, 2010. "Closing gaps in the information society: providing high-speed broadband access to rural areas," Departmental Working Papers 2010-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2010-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pohjola, Matti (ed.), 2001. "Information Technology, Productivity, and Economic Growth: International Evidence and Implications for Economic Development," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199243983.
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    Cited by:

    1. Judith Clifton & Daniel Díaz-Fuentes & Marcos Fernández-Gutiérrez & Julio Revuelta, 2011. "The new regulation of public infrastructure services in the European Union. Challenges for territorial cohesion," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1416, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Damir AGIC & Nico GROVE, 2012. "Role of the state in infrastructure provisioning from 1880s to World War I: telecommunications infrastructure in Europe," Departmental Working Papers 2012-12, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.

    More about this item


    coverage; information society; public goods; public investment; rural areas;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock


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