Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 169–179 | Cite as

Path dependence and the geography of infrastructure networks: the case of the European fibre-optic network

Original Paper


We analyse the path dependent dynamics in the formation of new infrastructure using an augmented gravity model. We observe that the formation of the pan-European telecommunication backbone has been dependent on pre-existent European transportation networks, particularly, the maritime and railway networks. Cities that were already central in these transportation networks were more likely to get connected through fibre-optic networks than other cities. Our study can be considered as a first attempt to analyse, in a quantitative manner, the path dependent dynamics in the formation of new infrastructure.


Internet Evolutionary theory Gravity model 

JEL Classification

O30 R10 R11 R12 



This research has been sponsored by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under the NVN programme. We thank Jonathan Rutherford for providing the data on Internet backbone providers, Guillaume Burghouwt for providing the data on airports, and Ron Boschma and Robin Cowan for extensive comments on earlier version of this paper. The usual caveat applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Real Estate and Planning, Henley Business SchoolThe University of ReadingReadingUK
  2. 2.Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable DevelopmentUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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