Przegląd Geograficzny (2024) vol. 96, iss. 1

Internet quality at the local level in Poland, in the context of smart rural development

Krzysztof Janc

Przegląd Geograficzny (2024) vol. 96, iss. 1, pp. 29-49 | Full text

Rural areas in Europe are undergoing significant transformations due to the emergence of a service-based society and a knowledge-based economy. Consequently, much of the countryside is experiencing a phenomenon known as rural decline. The concept of smart development has been proposed to address this issue, with the emphasis placed on the increasing importance of knowledge and the pivotal role of digital technologies in development processes. The objective of this article is to identify the key features of spatial differentiation in Internet quality in Poland, and to elucidate the determinants of this phenomenon. Internet quality, encompassing both fixed and mobile Internet access, was assessed by reference to data on Internet speed data at the municipality level, within the context of smart rural development. The study employed the method of principal components and correlation coefficient analysis.

Spatial variations in the two components related to Internet quality reveal distinct spatial arrangements, with an evident urban-rural divide. However, this does not imply a general weakness of rural areas, but rather highlights their diversity. On the one hand, certain rural areas close to major cities exhibit excellent Internet quality for both fixed and mobile services. On the other hand, other rural areas, including those located at the peripheries of regions and in the vicinity of major cities, present disparate Internet quality.

Furthermore, correlation analysis identified interdependence between Internet quality and fundamental characteristics describing the level of socio-economic development in the studied areas. Infrastructural and economic characteristics exhibited the strongest relationships, while the weakest were found for variables such as migration balance, dwellings given over for use, CIT per capita, and the value of contracts under the Digital Poland Operational Programme. These variables depend largely on the local situation, leading to varying spatial patterns.

It can be concluded from the research results presented that the regularities known from other spatial dimensions (countries, regions) gain confirmation in the case of Internet quality at the local scale in Poland. Notably, this can be associated with features describing important spheres of local-community functioning. However, these correlations are not always of a strength pointing to easily interpretable patterns of spatial differentiation, with the result that the formulation of categorical conclusions regarding universal rules affecting Internet quality in local systems is precluded. This underscores the relevance of local conditions, often found to vary greatly from one municipality to another, albeit in line with the principles of smart rural development.

Regarding more practical issues related to the possibility of foundations for smart growth being laid, it can be argued that the analyses presented, especially in terms of spatial variation alone, point to areas with poorer access to high-speed Internet – in which appropriate investment decisions need to be made. An important problem with such inference is that users do not necessarily choose the best available link parameter that ISPs offer. Hence, in part, results from studies based on crowdsourcing data do not reflect the quality of the services offered. Nevertheless, the importance of small, local ISPs, highlighted in the study, is an important argument that, in the case of Internet quality, it is possible to act in such a way that even in rural areas (including those located in peripheral areas), Internet of very good parameters can still be provided.

Keywords: Internet quality, smart rural development, Poland

Krzysztof Janc [], Uniwersytet Wrocławski, Instytut Geografii i Rozwoju Regionalnego


APA: Janc, K. (2024). Jakość Internetu w Polsce na poziomie lokalnym w kontekście inteligentnego rozwoju wsi. Przegląd Geograficzny, 96(1), 29-49.

MLA: Janc, Krzysztof. "Jakość Internetu w Polsce na poziomie lokalnym w kontekście inteligentnego rozwoju wsi". Przegląd Geograficzny, vol. 96, no. 1, 2024, pp. 29-49.

Chicago: Janc, Krzysztof. "Jakość Internetu w Polsce na poziomie lokalnym w kontekście inteligentnego rozwoju wsi". Przegląd Geograficzny 96, no. 1 (2024): 29-49.

Harvard: Janc, K. 2024. "Jakość Internetu w Polsce na poziomie lokalnym w kontekście inteligentnego rozwoju wsi". Przegląd Geograficzny, vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 29-49.