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Failing Internet Project Needs Millions More

Monday March 18 2013


Steve Houghton Steve Houghton


A FAILING public sector internet project which has already cost millions of pounds needs more than £1million from Barnsley Council – and could still be shut down permanently.

The South Yorkshire Digital Region saw hundreds of miles of data cables laid beneath the streets of Barnsley and the rest of South Yorkshire to create 'the best broadband network in Europe'.

Last month it was announced that Bouygue Energy and Services (BYES) had been chosen as the preferred bidder to take over the running of the ailing project. If agreed, the deal would see the French firm take on all future liabilities, before assuming full ownership of the network in 2019.

However, Barnsley Council's cabinet has been told that process could cost a further £15m – with the bill to be shared between the four South Yorkshire authorities and the Treasury.

Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham will each have to pay out another £1.3m. Sheffield is liable for £2.6m.

Barnsley council leader Cllr Steve Houghton, said: "That figure has already been factored into the budget, but we honestly don't know yet what is going to happen."

The scheme's spiralling losses meant work had to stop when 80 per cent of the region's properties were covered by the project – excluding many rural areas it was designed to reach.

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Reply Posted by Mick on Monday March 18 2013 at 17:59
I wonder who they are going to try & blame this one on? The councils got £millions towards the cost & they still can't get it up & running and make it competative to beat existing suppliers. Why didn't they just go into partnership with BT to ensure we got cheap deals & that network reached all areas.

Reply Posted by guesty mcguest on Monday March 18 2013 at 18:04
I was waiting for this, its no surprise, sky virgin or bt will do very well out of this when the network gets sold off for peanuts in the pounds that were spent in making it. Digital Region still get their money though so thats good, failure rewarded with millions. In an area where food banks are now relied upon

Reply Posted by rainbow on Tuesday March 19 2013 at 11:41
Throwing more good money after bad, still its only taxpayers money, they'll probably just have to leave some more roads unrepaired or close some more libraries.????

Reply Posted by observer on Thursday March 21 2013 at 09:15
tricky one this. it could be a diamond project. maybe they need better expert advice. the groundwork has been accomplished by the look of it. if its going to benefit everyone with a better tinterweb etc. i remember hull having its own phone network. where by everyone paid the same amount. you could use anyones fone within the city and people would allow you to do this, because it didnt cost a lot. but as guesty says the giants could buy it and tweek it. we can go on about tax payers money forever. but things have to be paid for. and the net is the way forward. with this i think it should be completed. come on stevo, get yer 2 penneth in...ha haa.

Reply Posted by stevo on Thursday March 21 2013 at 16:49
Observer is observing me so i had better be careful what i write from now on :)

Kingston Communications in Hull mate.

Superfast Broadband indeedy,but at what cost?
Some broadband providers really do take the mick with there prices,Virgin Media anyone?
Prices have never come down in real terms all they do is double your broadband speed!
Phone up and complain and tell them you are going to defect to Sky broadband,you WILL get a discount.

Reply Posted by ian on Saturday March 23 2013 at 15:44
STEVO is right

We do this on the flip side all time, but we tell sky we are going to virgin they always drop the price and not just by a few pounds too try it you will save!!

Reply Posted by stevo on Sunday March 24 2013 at 23:55
ian, I am always right ;)