The Digital Region project that was meant to provider superfast broadband to 97% of South Yorkshire is once again in the press and unfortunately it is not good news. The Yorkshire Post is reporting that information from a council report shows the councils may have to pump another £5.2 million into the project, with the process of re-tendering expected to cost £15 million.
Only last month a preferred bidder was announced to take over the project, in the form of Bouygues Energies and Services (BYES). There is now a real question mark over whether this will happen, particularly as the 97% coverage clause attached to the £25 million of EU funding may mean if the project does not meet this goal the EU may recover its £25 million.
South Yorkshire has not been allocated any funding via the BDUK process, the Digital Region project was seen as the solution for the area, so a failure of the project will have implications for Westminster and any remaining BDUK funds.
The project when originally launched had very little competition from Virgin Media and BT, but as both of these have upgraded and rolled out faster networks a great deal of the coverage area of Digital Region is fighting against the two of the biggest household broadband names. For those castigating their own local authority for picking BT, the way the Digital Region project is progressing is hardly a good advert for the alternatives.