Better broadband 'more important than airport improvements' header image

The British public would rather see the UK's broadband services improved than have capacity increased at the nation's airports. 

A survey commissioned by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has revealed more than four in ten  people (43 per cent) think better broadband would provide more economic advantages than expanded airports. 

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

Only 17 per cent of respondents said they think building new airports would be advantageous for the UK economy, while just 12 per cent claimed constructing additional runways would be worthwhile. 

There was also a lack of support for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project, with only 16 per cent of people saying they believe it will create jobs and boost the economy. Nuclear power received more support, with just under a third (32 per cent) of respondents in favour of developing this technology.

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

The last 12 months have seen numerous calls for the government to spend more on broadband than other infrastructure developments, with the HS2 project proving particularly unpopular.

Earlier this month, founder of the ANS Group Scott Fletcher claimed the billions being invested in the rail scheme should be diverted towards improving internet access. Meanwhile, thinktank the new economics foundation has argued along similar lines.

An online petition was even created in September in a bid to show the coalition there is a lack of support for HS2.

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