The effect of cross-border fibre-optic transitions on the information and communication connectivity of the Russian cities
The Russian cities are connected by many telecommunication lines. The information flow between any two cities can be sent via multiple routes, including those running through the networks of other countries. Cross-border transitions are created to connect the Russian lines with the international networks. The effect of these transitions on the connectivity of the cities has not been analysed earlier, either for Russia or for any other country. Using my own database on the Russian telecommunication lines, the Rosstat data on the cities’ population, and the results of the scanning of the Internet topology, I attempt to assess the effect of these transitions on the connectivity of the Russian cities. The assessment is carried out at the physical, economic, and digital levels of connectivity. For each level, I calculate the proportion of cities and their residents interacting directly with international telecommunication networks. Of the three categories of physical connectivity, the system of the Russian cities is associated with the worst option — the exogenous connectivity. This is explained by the impossibility of connecting the Kaliningrad region with mainland Russia without using international networks. An analysis of the traffic redistribution between the core cities of the autonomous systems shows that closed flows and internal economic connectivity are predominant in Russia. The calculation of information flow delays between all the Russian cities and the cores of the national and international digital agglomerations makes it possible to establish what cities are affected by the international cores. I conclude that the cross-border transitions have little effect on the information and communication connectivity of the Russian cities.