Telecommunication services and networks: territorial trends

ESPON Project 1.2.2

Thematic scope and context

This ESPON project draws together and analyses the data on the supply of and demand for telecommunications, exploring both ‘mature’ (basic fixed voice telephony, mobile telephony, personal computers and the Internet) and ‘leading edge’ technologies (broadband technologies and Internet backbone networks).

The overall message emerging from the final report is that the shape of supply and demand for telecommunications in Europe is complex.

At the macro-level the European ‘core-periphery’ distinction does not hold for telecommunications. This is mainly due to the strength of the ‘Nordic periphery’, but in the case of mobile telephony, the ‘Mediterranean’ periphery also outpaces the ‘core’ and for broadband uptake Spain and Portugal have so far outpaced some core countries, notably the UK and France. The one area in which the core clearly leads is in access to Internet backbone networks for large corporate users and Internet Service Providers.

At the meso-level, it becomes clear that national specificities remain crucial in understanding such differences and differences within each individual country are narrow compared with inter-country differences. This leads to posit the existence of distinctive ‘national telecoms cultures’, with some countries having, for example, high computing cultures, whilst others have high voice communications cultures.

At the micro-level the project suggests that there are disparities between metropolitan, urban and rural areas. Most importantly in respect of current policy debates, the research shows that the currently most commercially developed forms of broadband technologies are following a hierarchical roll-out pattern, with areas of high density population being served first.

Lead Partner

University of Newcastle, Centre for Urban & Regional Studies (CURDS), Newcastle (UK).
Detailed information on the contracted project team under Transnational Project Groups.


1.2.2 Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 16124KB

1.2.2 3rd Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 8790KB

1.2.2 2nd Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 2726KB

1.2.2 1st Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 1761KB


  • Acrobat Document | 67KB

Terms of Reference

  • Acrobat Document | 58KB