Internet Access in Rural Areas: Brake or Stimulus as Post-Covid-19 Opportunity?

20 Nov 2020


The lack of internet access in most rural areas has become a challenge worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted trends such as teleworking and e-commerce, meaning an opportunity for the local economy of these areas, but with serious difficulties in carrying it out. This paper aims to detect this lack of internet in inland areas of the region of Valencia through local actors, in order to identify clear priorities and real needs through an explorative and replicable approach based on agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC). The main findings suggest that there are different patterns in the rural internet access related to adequate infrastructure and planned actions by local councils. In this way, a multitude of contextual elements have emerged that influence the importance of efficient access to the internet in rural areas. It is essential to know the real needs and demands of the population before implementing plans and programs that may not be relevant for the actors involved in territorial development.

Author: Irune Ruiz-Martínez, Javier Esparcia

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ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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