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Broadband preferred over HS2

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The results of a survey carried out by uSwitch have just been published, looking at the British public's attitude to investment in the country's infrastructure — in particular, the
investment in HS2 verses improvements in Broadband services.

An overwhelming majority of uSwitch survey respondents believe super-fast broadband represents a better investment for the UK than the HS2 rail line.

Out of the 580 people questioned, 86.2 per cent said they thought the government was better off investing in improved connectivity solutions than high-speed rail.

Just 13.8 per cent backed the government's decision to allocate large chunks of infrastructure funding to the HS2 project, as opposed to fibre broadband schemes.

Earlier this week, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told MPs that the cost of the rail project has soared by £10 billion — before building work has even started.

The line, which is set to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and ultimately Leeds, is projected to cost £42.6 billion, he stated.

Critics of the scheme believe the money — or even just a fraction of it — could be better off spent delivering universal fibre broadband in the UK.

Writing for the Guardian last month, Charles Arthur described the HS2 plan as "a stupid waste of money" given the huge costs involved and the limited number of people who will benefit.

"The absurd HS2 project should be killed right away," he stated.

"Any money that the government was going to put into it should be diverted into a national fibre rollout, with the aim of giving every household easy access to super-fast connectivity, which a range of different providers could vie for."

Mr Arthur claimed that installing optical fibre around the UK would deliver benefits nationwide, without pushing anyone out of their home.

He said this would provide "the ultimate economic boost" for the UK, but without any of the drawbacks.

"Most of the economic activity will be in rural areas, which need it more than over-served cities," Mr Arthur suggested.

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