According to new research by ComRes published today, half of UK adults (50%) say, when thinking about the potential benefits to them/their family, upgrading Britain’s national broadband network should be the Government’s main priority out of all the projects tested. 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%).
The poll also starkly highlighted that British adults are concerned about the impact of the monopoly-status of Britain’s broadband on consumers, with three in five (61%) saying that one broadband provider owning and controlling the national broadband network would have a negative impact on consumers in Britain. A significant minority (37%) also agree that it is a concern that their internet connection may not be able to cope with their future technological needs.
Yesterday it was revealed that Sharon White, the CEO of Ofcom, had so far received over 75,000 responses to the consultation into major reforms of Openreach (the network division of BT) – one of the largest public responses to an Ofcom consultation ever recorded. Politicians from across the country have also seen vocal support for rapid improvements to British broadband, with all MPs having had at least one letter from a constituent backing the campaign, with the following MPs seeing the greatest outcry:
This latest research is part of the nationwide campaign to ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’, which is calling for fast, reliable broadband for everyone which it believes could be best achieved by the structural separation of Openreach from BT Group. Sharing the concerns of the millions of people across the country who still feel they are limited by poor internet, the campaign members – Sky, TalkTalk, Three, Vodafone and FCS – have said they want to bring better internet connectivity to British communities and help future-proof the UK’s digital economy.
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.
"The Government and Ofcom should act on the British people's call for BT to broken up and prices cut."
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.”
Notes to editors: