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Government Pledges Money Towards County's Broadband Cost

Monday January 27 2014




THE government has said it will give £5million towards boosting superfast broadband in South Yorkshire in the wake of the failed Digital Region Limited scheme.

A government assessment suggests 90 per cent of the county can be given high-speed internet access at a cost of about £10m.

That figure is a fraction of the costs associated with Digital Region.

Barnsley invested £7m along with Doncaster and Rotherham while Sheffield City Council committed £14m to the now defunct project.

It cost taxpayers a staggering £155m before being abandoned in August last year.

It had only signed up 3,000 paying customers but needed 108,000 to be self-sufficient.

The government now wants South Yorkshire to fall in line with other parts of the country and sign a deal with a private sector firm, likely to be BT.

That deal would extend the existing commercial broadband network to more remote areas and ensure 90 per cent coverage.

Under proposals by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is in charge of the government's 'Broadband Delivery for the UK' scheme, it would put forward half the money needed.

Barnsley and the other three councils would be expected to find the remaining £5m.

A BT spokesperson said the programme could be a good solution for extending high-speed broadband across South Yorkshire.

"BT's fibre network already stretches across much of the region.

"We'd be happy to talk to the government and South Yorkshire's local authorities to see if we can support their push to 90 per cent and beyond."

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Reply Posted by Matt on Monday January 27 2014 at 11:09
Well if it cost us the Tax payers 155M for sumat we havnt even got then the government should give us all the funds for the job not go half way !!! They can send hundreds of millions to other country's but can't help their own yet again !!

Reply Posted by leeb on Monday January 27 2014 at 18:23
thats the best comment i have heard the goverment are too happy for the english to argue who is on bennifits in reality we pay tax on everything so if your working stop taking it out on your own people , your moneys going abroad

Reply Posted by Cllr. Robert Barnard on Monday January 27 2014 at 11:20
The original plan was that Digital Region would cover 80% of South Yorkshire and would then, in theory, be able to extend coverage financed out of its profits. This, as we know, did not happen because they did not succeed in marketing the service. At least 90% is better and at a much lower cost so we could ask why this option was not taken in the first place.

However, one significant problem remains and that is access to reliable high speed broadband for people living in the more remote rural areas to the west of the M1. One doubts that they will be included in the 90% target figure so its still seems they will have to wait for the eventual arrival of 4G. Once again people in rural areas face greater delays and higher costs than their urban counterparts.

Reply Posted by Matt on Monday January 27 2014 at 11:29
So Cllr Barnard is the council going to come up with the other 5 million ?? I guess you will pass barnsley people the bill in the council tax due in April then ... Why not stop creating jobs like the plan on the Dodworth M1 roundabout traffic lights when the problem is the broadway lights plz be clear with us people

Reply Posted by Dennis on Monday January 27 2014 at 11:41
Many people live in rural areas to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and are willing to pay a premium for the peace of the countryside. Who will pay the premium needed to provide the expensive infrastructure required to supply this 10% ?

Reply Posted by AHR on Monday January 27 2014 at 13:17
Well ain't that brilliant, half of people on benefits who now have to have it, can't afford it.

Reply Posted by lee b on Monday January 27 2014 at 18:19
one day the people of barnsley will wake up might be too late but they will