According to new research by ComRes published today, 50% of UK adults say upgrading Britain’s national broadband network should be the Government’s main priority compared to just 9% for HS2.
Thos follows on from numerous other surveys which show that HS2 is a low priority for most people.
What’s really clear is that internet usage is becoming more prevalent for a wider range of uses than when HS2 was first announced. Activities which use more bandwidth and the frequency which they are done, such as watching videos and listening to online radio stations are increasing significantly year on year, with 47% of adults listening to the radio online in 2015, compared to just 32% in 2013. In 2015, 78% watch video clips, with 67% watching entire TV programs or films via the Internet [figures from Ofcom’s Adults Media Use and Attitudes Report 2016 – view here]
The poll, commissioned by the campaign to ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’, found that that the demand to prioritise better broadband (50%) dramatically outstrips Britons’ appetite for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (16%), a new runway for an airport in the South East of England (11%) and HS2 (9%).
Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said:
“Instead of spending taxpayers’ cash on more runways and railways for London, the Government should turbocharge the towns and regions of England. That means more money for local roads and superfast broadband for every home and small business.
“It’s simply unacceptable that many towns and villages across the country are left cut off. Bloated BT appears more interested in blowing billions on TV football rights than giving every family in Britain proper broadband.”
A spokesperson from the FBI campaign said:
“We know people value their internet connection, but even we were shocked at how strongly they prioritise it over other infrastructure. For a comparable cost to some of these projects, and significantly less than others, Britain could have the best broadband in the world. Runways, power stations, and railways are important, of course; but, like the rest of our economy today, they are they are all underpinned by Britain’s digital success. If Britain is going to truly be a country for everyone, we must prioritise those things which do the most good, for the most people. Clearly Britons feel that the internet comes top of their list.”