THE collapse of a multi-million pound super-fast broadband project will make residents in rural areas 'second-class citizens', according to a disappointed woman.

A decision to scrap the Digital Region scheme, due to a lack of customers, could mean some rural homeowners are forced to return to slow internet speeds because of the absence of an adequate alternative.

Josephine Crayton, of Middlecliffe Drive, Crow Edge, experienced huge improvements in her connection after adopting the new service in February - describing the change as moving from 'the caveman age to modern times', with speeds increasing from 1.3MB of data to 23MB.

The 71-year-old feels the internet is her lifeline and is angered at the prospect of reverting back.

"The service is wonderful and we feel we've had the rug pulled from under our feet," she said. "We feel we're being discriminated against.

"I would go as far as to call it broadband discrimination. They've made people in the rural areas of Barnsley into second-class citizens.

"I don't think people know how important the internet is to us. We can't do without it."

Matt Atkinson, from Origin - the largest provider on the Digital Region network - said the company was trying to match customers up with like-for-like services but, in Mrs Crayton's case, the infrastructure was not available.

"We're looking at it at the minute every day and working out the best options for our customers," he said.

"Our priority is to provide a continuity service to keep customers going.

"We're looking to take over certain broadband cabinets and looking at the logistics and the costs."