Telecommunication Networks and Spatial Planning in France: Local Actors at the Heart of a Debate

Special Report: Lands and Communications
By Anne Frémont-Vanacore

In France, the telecommunications’market deregulation had the effect of introducing this sector in the field of regional development. Since 1996, telecommunication networks are private. But the geography of Internet backbones answers more to market imperatives than to the needs of regional development: the discrepancy between urbanised and rural regions is increasing. This problem lays down the question of the public, national and local, intervention, with the purpose of preventing a possible disconnection of some territories from high speed networks. This paper presents the controversy about the definition and determination of public – and especially local - intervention in this field. The concern of local actors depends on the degree of regional spatial and economic development, as shown by the comparison between the regions of Upper- and Lower-Normandy.

Go to the article on