More calls for HS2 money to be spent on broadband header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

The HS2 project should be scrapped in favour of continued investment in the UK's broadband infrastructure. 

This is according to ANS Group founder Scott Fletcher, who thinks the country would be much better off with superfast broadband over an improved rail network. 

Ever since the scheme was announced there have been voices of dissent, with people complaining the new lines represent a waste of money that will destroy some rural communities. 

The cost of HS2 has also been much debated, as the government has struggled to come up with a concrete number on how much the final bill will come in at - current estimates are upwards of £45 billion. 

Mr Fletcher believes the digital age will render the improvements obsolete to a certain degree, adding: "The need for face-to-face business meetings, and hence the need for superfast trains, will become less important in a world that is more dependent on digital conferencing and mobile computing devices."

However, he stated the benefits to businesses of superfast broadband will be obvious in both the short and long term. One thing he is certain of is that the "fast interchange of data" will be essential in the future. 

Not only would it make it much easier to stay in touch with other companies or offices, organisations could also move forward with technological improvements if they are guaranteed a good connection. 

This is not the first time the case has been argued for using funds earmarked for HS2 on broadband. Earlier this year, leading thinktank nef (the new economics foundation) called for a portion of the HS2 money to be used to accelerate the rollout of superfast internet connections. 

On top of this, an e-petition was launched in September calling for the funding to be redirected towards web infrastructure.

Of course, one way to guarantee a good connection, regardless of location, is to have satellite broadband installed, as the service offers download speeds of up to 20 Mbps. 

Posted by Mark Wynn