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£5m from BDUK to rescue South Yorkshire
Monday 13 January 2014 11:31:41 by Andrew Ferguson

The Digital Region scheme was ahead of its time when it started, but was slow to deliver and thus resulted in massive overspending and lack of take-up meant the inevitable closure last summer. The Yorkshire Post has followed ever step and indicates that the councils involved are still looking to recover some money by selling the network.

For those who live or work in South Yorkshire and are outside the commercial footprint for Virgin Media and FTTC services from Openreach there is a glimmer of good news, in that the DCMS appears to have earmarked £5m to help fund broadband improvements in the area to take superfast coverage from current commercial levels to around 90% of premises. Of course this £5m on its own would not be enough and would be only made available if Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley councils also contribute some funding and the usual procurement process is undertaken. This means that even if the money was handed over today, it would be unlikely that any project would start until the middle of 2015.

Our gut feeling is that the councils may still believe the old network has some value beyond the scrap value of the cabinets and hardware and hold out for a buyer. The polypipe fibre ducting and powered cabinet stands might be of some value to BT for a BDUK project roll-out, but as most of the cabinets are duplicated by their own cabinets the value will be pretty miniscule compared to the estimated £100m to £155m the Digital Region has cost.

The problem for South Yorkshire may well be that by the time it is clear that a much wider availability of superfast broadband has financial benefits for the area that playing catch-up will not bring the benefits, since businesses will have moved to the other parts of Yorkshire with better connectivity.

Comments

Posted by tmcr over 3 years ago
DR has always been a big black hole. Throwing more money into it will not make it viable at this late stage.
Posted by KarlAustin over 3 years ago
DR could still be made to work, but they need to make sure all the people who were in charge a couple of years ago are gone, as they don't have a clue and there is too big of a wage bill for the size of the network. The problem was always one of not understanding their market (ISPs) and providing no assistance in marketing.
Posted by shaunhw over 3 years ago
If we'd had proper regulation and possible franchising as in the past, for example as happened with Telewest, this duplication would not have happened. Some of us, still rely on this network to give us the only VDSL fast speed available to us.
Posted by KarlAustin over 3 years ago
We use Origin in our office, no other choice than doing ourselves a leased line as Sheffield Central isn't slated to get OR FTTC/P.
Posted by ddean83 over 3 years ago
Finally, i hope my exchange ( finningley ) will get the fibre goodness as part of this, as its not served by VM or digital region.
Posted by tikka69 over 3 years ago
@ddean83

Here's hoping from me too as I am on the same exchange,although I would'nt hold your breath if the four councils have to be involved financially. They have wasted that much on DR that I cant imagine them wanting to put money to this !! Plus its sort of egg on there face in a way.....
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
Headline made me smile - only £5m to rescue South Yorkshire, from what ?
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