Superfast broadband more important than airports and high-speed rail, survey finds

IET research show Brits want investment in fibre broadband over more airport capacity.


Brits see superfast broadband more important to helping the economy grow than extra airport capacity or high-speed rail, according to latest research.

A survey carried out by the Institution of engineering and Technology found that 43 per cent of people in the UK believed that extending superfast broadband to every household in the country would be more economically beneficial that building new airports or extra runways.

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The poll of 2,011 British citizens aged 16-75 surveyed by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the organisation found that only 17 per cent of respondents though building new airports would help the UK economy. The research also found that only 12 per cent of people believed extra runways would help be beneficial.

The research found that only 16 per cent of respondents thought high-speed rail projects, such as HS2, connecting London to Birmingham and beyond, would boost the UK economy. Nearly a third of people (32 per cent) said that building new nuclear power plants would grow the economy.

"This survey clearly shows that the vast majority of the general public see little economic benefit in increasing capacity at our airports," said Professor Will Stewart from the IET.

"The public have told us that supporting the e-economy by rolling out universal superfast broadband will have more economic benefits for the UK than more traditional infrastructure projects like increasing airport capacity or high speed rail."

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The research mirrors calls by technology industry figures for transport projects to be ditched in favour of increased broadband capacity. As reported by IT Pro, ANS Group founder and chairman Scott Fletcher said that the Government would be better off investing the 45 billion set aside for the HS2 high-speed railway link in bringing the UK's broadband infrastructure up to speed.

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