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

Irune Ruiz-Martínez () and Javier Esparcia ()
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Irune Ruiz-Martínez: Research Institute for Local Development, University of Valencia, Carrer del Serpis 29, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Javier Esparcia: Research Institute for Local Development, University of Valencia, Carrer del Serpis 29, 46022 Valencia, Spain

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 22, 1-17

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: depopulation; rural-urban; internet access (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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