Cities, Regions and Internet Infrastructure in Europe
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Chapter 6: An explanatory analysis of the (unequal) distribution of the Internet backbone networks
The discussion in Chapters 4 and 5 was focused on analyzing the unequal distribution of the Internet infrastructure among the European cities. After applying basic statistical and network analysis techniques, the elitist nature of the digital infrastructure became apparent as the Internet backbone networks (IBNs) tend to agglomerate in specific locations. This chapter drives the analysis a step further forward and focuses on explaining the factors that determine the spatial distribution of Europe’s IBNs. As analyzed in Chapter 2, these backbone networks can be regarded as the infrastructural underpinning that enables the Internet to function, seamlessly and apparently placelessly from the viewpoint of the user. The aim of this chapter is then to identify, through the use of statistical modeling, the factors that influence the connectedness and the installed capacity between European cities. Firstly, connectedness refers to the probability of a city being connected to one or more backbone networks. Secondly, the installed Internet backbone capacity between any two cities refers to the weights of the network edges, which were initially analyzed in section 4.3. Two models are estimated here to identify the factors influencing the above: a probit model which predicts the probability of a region to be connected with at least one IBN, and a simple spatial interaction model (SIM) which predicts the installed capacity between two regions.
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