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Council Leader Calls For Digital Region Review

Friday August 30 2013


Steve Houghton Steve Houghton


SIR Steve Houghton has called for a review into the doomed Digital Region broadband project.

The publicly-funded high-speed broadband scheme is being shut down after failing to attract enough customers.

Sir Steve, Barnsley Council's leader, has asked for a review into the project to find out where it went wrong - particularly with its financial management.

"I have asked for an independent review into Digital Region Ltd. as to what happened and why it didn't go as planned.

"I'm going to insist that's carried out and know why this has got to this point."

The project was launched to give high-speed access to homes, schools and businesses across South Yorkshire.

But the government said it had been 'deeply flawed' and revealed only 2.7 per cent of Digital Region's required 108,000 customers had signed up.

The government invested about £48million in the project, while Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham councils committed £7million each and Sheffield City Council £14million.

"We had no other option but to bring the project to a close," said Cllr Houghton. "To keep it going would have cost around £83million. To close it down will be less than that."

All four local councils agreed to close the project to save taxpayers £12.5million.

Cllr Houghton said there are hopes to claw back some of the public money spent on the project by selling the DRL network to a private provider.

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15 Showing 15 comments

Reply Posted by lee on Friday August 30 2013 at 13:09
Dodworth and gilroyed is really bad

Reply Posted by Simon Walsh on Friday August 30 2013 at 14:09
Where did the money go? Let's hear which businesses and consultants trousered the cash and failed to deliver. How independent a review will this be?

Reply Posted by Charles on Friday August 30 2013 at 15:23
More importantly, let us hear which idiots authorised this scandalous waste of public money. The people of Barnsley and of the wider south Yorkshire area need to know exactly which buffoons are responsible for this scandal.

Reply Posted by Guesty Mcguest on Friday August 30 2013 at 15:59
Maybe he should have done that before agreeing to waste a couple of million quid on it, and then when told it was failing throw a couple more milllion at it. Digital Region should be giving the monety back.

Reply Posted by Paul on Friday August 30 2013 at 19:09
He gets better and better,, Mr Houghton , lets look back see who, sold us this great idea ,,, was it Phil Coppard

Reply Posted by kev on Saturday August 31 2013 at 08:47
Also need an independent review in to the waste that was Kingstone community sports centre. was its fate already known before it was built due to the schools for the future program and why wasn't more done to find a use for it before demolition

Reply Posted by serenity on Saturday August 31 2013 at 14:44
Keep throwing money at it why don't you Councillor Houghton. And why didn't you know, as councillor leader all these years about the pending failure. Funny isn't it how the top brass never know anything until as usual its too late

Reply Posted by forgotten more than they know on Sunday September 1 2013 at 12:44
Well if its anything like the IT skills they had 10 years ago on the Council and they were the people making the decisions then I am not surprised, I went to an interview for an IT position there and knew more than the interview panel. Needless to say that came through at the interview and I didn't get the job.

Reply Posted by guesty mcguest on Sunday September 1 2013 at 21:24
Touche, I didnt even get to interview stage even though I was over qualified on a number of occasions. Bull the it group had the councils trousers down over their support as well, Steve was in charge of that fiasco as well. Did me a favour in the end, I went to work for proper companies.

Reply Posted by lyndon on Sunday September 1 2013 at 13:25
you don't get a knighthood for nothing you know.........

Reply Posted by dd on Sunday September 1 2013 at 18:38
you only get a knighthood 4 being a 1st class moron. what next ?

Reply Posted by rm on Sunday September 1 2013 at 19:13
Bearing in mind it was publicly funded then hopefully this "review" will be released to the public on completion so the taxpayer will know who was accountable for it's failings...Doubt it mind!

Reply Posted by rog on Sunday September 1 2013 at 19:30
Mr Houghton...Your council,of which you are at the head of, look like costing the people of Barnsley at least £20 MILLION..You and those responsible, should resign and face criminal proceedings....you are not competent to head this council...

Reply Posted by john on Wednesday September 4 2013 at 22:36
will they ever resign when they get paid for basically doing nowt & claiming loads o expenses

Reply Posted by Jigga on Wednesday September 4 2013 at 23:20
Any wonder they only had 2916 customers (I was one of them when I lived in Bridwell) when they didn't advertise it. It was mentioned once in the Open Door magazine months before it became available, after that nothing, total silence.

I had a much better service with loads more bandwidth for not much more than I paid AOL. A good idea very badly executed, saying that it's a well known fact that Barnsley Council couldn't run a piss up in a brewery.