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House prices could be pushed up by the availability of super-fast broadband, a new study has suggested.

Research conducted by indicates that many UK consumers now see rapid broadband as a vital utility - one that they would not wish to live without.

And with many homes in rural areas lacking access to top download speeds, this could feasibly increase demand for 'premium broadband' properties.

Some 80 per cent of consumers surveyed by said broadband was now of critical importance to their home life, while 18.5 per cent said it was of average importance.

A mere 1.3 per cent said broadband was 'not important' to their way of living - partly reflecting the fact the survey was conducted online, but also emphasising the importance of the internet to 21st century life in the UK.

More than half of those questioned (57.4 per cent) claimed they would be willing to pay more for a home with super-fast download capabilities - defined as 25Mb or greater.

And most telling of all, 80.4 per cent of respondents said they would be dissuaded from purchasing a new house which lacked access to super-fast broadband.

Just 19.5 per cent stated they would buy their dream home anyway, irrespective of the quality of broadband services available to them.

The findings reiterate the importance of extending super-fast broadband coverage across the UK, particularly outside the major urban areas.

Private sector broadband providers such as BT and Virgin Media have tended to carry out the majority of their network upgrades in densely populated areas, where they stand to generate the greatest return on investment.

The European Commission has set a target of universal 30Mb access by the end of the decade, but significant public and private sector investment will be needed if countryside properties are to achieve speeds anywhere near this target. 

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