Superfast broadband more important to economy than airport expansion or high-speed rail, says IET

By Danny Palmer
23 Dec 2013 View Comments

Superfast broadband is deemed more important  to the British public than building high-speed rail or expanding airport capacity for expanding the UK economy.

That's according to research by for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which surveyed the general public on what infrastructure improvements would bring the greatest benefits to the British economy.

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Forty-three per cent of those questioned said that they believed expanding the reach of superfast broadband to all UK households would deliver the most economic benefit.

That's compared with under 30 per cent who believe that improving airport infrastructure would have the greatest benefit, made up of 17 per cent of respondents who believe that building new airports would benefit the economy, and just 12 per cent who said that expanding existing airports would bring the biggest improvements to the country's finances.

Meanwhile, just 16 per cent of those questioned by the IET said high-speed railway projects, such as the HS2 project connecting London and Birmingham, would bring financial benefits to the UK. The IET conducted the research by surveying over 2,000 adults across the UK.

"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, chairman of the IET Communication Policy Panel.

"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," he added.

Another recent study into the effects of superfast broadband revealed that businesses have saved time and money thanks to improved connections to the internet.

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