South Yorkshire Digital Region closure looming
Users of the Digital Region network in South Yorkshire appear to have been given a soft closure date of 15th May 2014. At least that is what Chess Telecom are telling their customers, the other operators using the network may use slightly different dates, particularly as it is believed that connections will operate for a further three months from that date.
The problem for some Digital Region customers is that there is not always a superfast broadband alternative available, meaning some will have the joy of returning to ADSL or ADSL2+ based services. Migration to an ADSL2+ based service is easy enough, since a MAC can be used, but as far as we are aware no changes have happened to allow a DR to Openreach FTTC migration, without the slightly painful cease and provide route.
The running of the network for 3 months beyond May seems to be to allow the schools that used the service to get alternative arrangements installed over the summer holidays.
The debate over whether an obstinate Openreach in the early years delaying sub-LLU was a big part of the failure or just a slow roll-out by Digital Region is one that will go on in circles for some years, but one certainty is that the expensive failure of Digital Region will have been held up as an example to other areas of the UK as to why the 'lower risk' BDUK projects in conjunction with BT were the way forward. The downside to the BDUK projects being that the 'lower risk' is potentially less future proof and will require further gap funding in the future to push towards 100% superfast coverage.