Bridging the Digital Divide at the Regional Level? The Effect of Regional and National Policies on Broadband Access in Europe’s Regions

Abstract : Reducing the digital divide is one of the main policy objectives of the “Europe 2020 Strategy” (2010) and the “Riga Declaration” (2006). To this end, the EU transfers structural funds for broadband expansion to regional governments rather than to the national level which is typically seen as the decisive actor in broadband expansion. To explore the relevance of the regions in widening broadband access, we analyze the influence of economic, demographic and institutional factors on broadband expansion at the regional and national level. In order to account for the interplay between both levels of government, we employ a multi-level regression model. We find that regional level variables are able to explain part of broadband access improvement. Significant variables are ERDF expenditure dedicated to broadband expansion, the status of regional broadband diffusion in 2008 and the national degree of inter-platform competition. The paper concludes that, although there is evidence of the role of the regions in the European policy process, the national level still performs an important gatekeeper function and that national ICT strategies are needed to successfully close the geographical digital divide in the EU.
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Pau Palop García, Basanta Thapa, Björn Niehaves. Bridging the Digital Divide at the Regional Level? The Effect of Regional and National Policies on Broadband Access in Europe’s Regions. 13th International Conference on Electronic Government (EGOV), Sep 2014, Dublin, Ireland. pp.218-229, ⟨10.1007/978-3-662-44426-9_18⟩. ⟨hal-01401744⟩

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