round-balesImproving broadband provision would give a bigger boost to the economy than other key technological innovations, British people have said.

In polling carried out for the Countryside Alliance, four in five (80%) of all adults agreed that rolling out high-speed broadband across the whole of the UK would have a positive impact on the economy, rising to 85% among rural dwellers. 

This measure outscored greater investment in renewable energies (72%), and major transport projects such as Crossrail (54%), a third runway at Heathrow (51%), building a new international airport (52%) and HS2 (45%).

Headline findings

  • More than two-thirds (69%) of the British public think that the Government’s focus should be on ensuring that everyone in the UK has a broadband connection – even if that comes at the expense of maximising broadband speed in the most heavily populated areas. Fewer than one-in-ten (9%) think the Government should focus on maximising speed in major urban areas.
  • Rolling out high-speed broadband across the whole of the UK is the technological improvement that the British public most widely believe will impact positively on the UK economy. Four-in-five (80%) of all adults agree that it would have a positive impact, rising to 85% among rural dwellers. This measure outscores greater investment in renewable energies (72%), and major transport projects such as Crossrail (54%), a third runway at Heathrow (51%), building a new international airport (52%) and High Speed 2 (45%).
  • Nearly three in ten (29%) rural dwellers are dissatisfied with the speed of their broadband connection, compared with only 18% of urban dwellers.

Executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Barney White-Spunner said: “Innovations in digital services mean it has never been more important that rural business and people living in the countryside have access to broadband and good mobile phone signal.

“Broadband is the most important technological innovation to kickstart the rural economy and the Government needs to ensure that those living and working in the countryside do not fall behind their urban peers because they cannot access it.”

ComRes interviewed 2,016 GB adults online between 21-23 June 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+.

You can access the full results of the polling at http://comres.co.uk/poll/954/countryside-alliance-rural-broadband.htm