The role of broadband developments fi nanced from EU Structural Funds in the enhancement of regional cohesion in the NMS-10
This paper examines if broadband Internet access (‘broadband’) developments enhance regional cohesion in ten New Member States (NMS-10) of the European Union. It focuses on broadband developments in these countries financed from Structural Funds (SF). Broadband developments have a potentially beneficial impact. However, while the existence of this beneficial impact is well established in theory, still there is no conclusive evidence empirically. Broadband is perceived here as an essential part of ICT, enabling the spread and use of ICT. The paper analyses (1) the regional dimension of broadband access in the NMS-10, (2) the recognition of broadband-cohesion links by NMS-10 governments, and (3) the priority given to broadband in SF spending. The impact of broadband developments on cohesion is not presently monitored, however it would be essential in order to evaluate the effective use of public resources in the enhancement of regional cohesion.