- IT-city Groningen. How the arrival of a digital supercable could turn a ''peripheral provincial'' city into one of the 35 most important telecom cities in the world.   click here to open paper content47 kb
by    Buckers, Dorien & null, null & null, null | dorien.buckers@rop.rpd.minvrom.nl   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Tycom a renowned builder of worldwide underwater glassfibre-cable networks has recently decided that an important connection of the TyCom Global Network will come on shore in Eemshaven, a harbour close to the city of Groningen, located in the far North of the Netherlands. The aim of the Tycom Global Network is to connect 35 of the most important telecom cities in the world. Eventually the network will cover more than 250,000 underwater kilometres and will connect all 6 populated continents in the world. This will make the TGN, the largest world wide underwater network that has ever been build. In addition, the network will be the most powerfull in the world. It has the capacity to enable 300 milion phonecalls at the same time.

The coming years, TyCom will invest a total of 300 milion US dollar in Groningen with the aim to develop a very ''big'' glassfibre node, which connects London, Amsterdam and Hamburg in cyber-space. At the end of the day Groningen will get a datacapacity comparable to Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Many local stakeholders (both private as public) believe that the arrival of the super digital cable means superb news to the Grongingen Region and especially for Groningen city. On the other hand, others believe that the arrival of the cable doesn't have any effect on the region. Traditional location factors are more important than the quality and capacity of the virtual infrastructure.

Grongingen has been plagued by it is relatively peripheral location in the Netherlands, far away from the metropolitan and booming area of the Randstad. As a consequence the region has found it very difficult to attract and keep companies in the region. Most businesses prefer the central location of the Randstad (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague). The same goes for most ICT-related companies. Until now Amsterdam has been The Number One town for ICT businesses. The consequences for the Province of Groningen are: relatively high unemployment figures and depopulation.

Theme of case study
This case study will explore wheter the arrival of the supercable to region indeed means superb news. Ofcourse it means that Groningen will have the best possible infrastructure of ICT and especially internet companies. But does this mean that traditional location factors as clustering advantages, accessiblility and quality of the labour force become less important to companies? More specific, will companies skip the central Randstad for remote Groningen?

This case-study will use a combination of facts, figures and interviews to describe and discuss the impact of the arrival of the digital super cable.
* Does the arrival of the information age mean new location patterns for ICT companies?
* Is the quality of the digital infrastructure a location factor of importance in this?
* Is digital infrastructure a panacea for regional deprivation?
This paper explores these issues by looking at the case of Groningen (NL).

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