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British consumers believe improved broadband provision would give the economy a bigger boost than other key technological innovations, a study suggests.

Research conducted by ComRes on behalf of the Countryside Alliance revealed 80 per cent of adults think nationwide super-fast broadband would support the UK economy.

This figure rose to 85 per cent in rural parts of the UK, which typically suffer from slower broadband speeds and patchy coverage.

Super-fast broadband outscored renewable energies (72 per cent), and major transport projects such as Crossrail (54 per cent), a third runway at Heathrow (51 per cent), building a new international airport (52 per cent) and HS2 (45 per cent).

Some 69 per cent of respondents said the government should focus on ensuring all UK households and businesses have a broadband connection - even if this means sacrificing the fastest speeds for urban users.

Just nine per cent of those polled thought the government should be looking to maximise download capabilities in the major towns and cities at present.

Barney White-Spunner, Executive Chairman of the Countryside Alliance, commented that innovations in digital services mean it has "never been more important" that rural business and people living in the countryside have access to broadband.

"Broadband is the most important technological innovation to kick-start 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," he added.

The Con-Lib coalition is aiming to ensure that 95 per cent of the UK population has access to a super-fast broadband connection by 2017.

In terms of providing universal coverage, the government has promised to deliver speeds of at least 2Mb nationwide by 2015.

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