There are those living and working in South Yorkshire where the cruel trick of tasting superfast broadband and having it taken away has been experienced with the closure of Digital Region at a cost of some £50m to £100m to serve just 3,000 connections. Into this chasm a BDUK funded project has dropped itself and the four councils working together have set an ambitious goal of 98% of homes and businesses getting access to a fibre based service by the end of 2017.
This new project has some £22 million to complete the job, around £10m from Westminster, £7.2 from the councils and thus around £4.8m from BT. In terms of the all important when will people start to be connected, the roll-out plans are expected in the next few months and the first connections will go live in Summer 2015.
"I am delighted that the four South Yorkshire authorities have taken this important step towards reinforcing the Sheffield City Region’s reputation as one of the best places in the country to live, work and invest.
We have heard time and again from businesses that superfast broadband is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but essential to their competitiveness and long term sustainability.
I would like to extend my thanks to the four authorities for really taking on board the needs of the private sector, and congratulate them on reaching this important deal with BT.James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
With a 98% fibre based target, the coverage at superfast speeds is going to be lower, but a final figure of 95% able to order a superfast broadband connection is the likely contracted target. The press release suggests that fibre based coverage is at the 80% mark in the project area, which means around 101,000 premises are set to benefit from the project. Our own estimates suggest that the figure is closer to 75% for the combined areas of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield when looking at households alone, and the coverage at 30 Mbps or faster is 70% (395,000 homes).