|Type of project||High-speed broadband network|
|Location||South Yorkshire, England|
|Owner||Department for Business, Innovation & Skills|
Digital Region was a project in South Yorkshire set up to establish a high-speed broadband network in the region, with 98% coverage expected by the end of 2012. It is the first of its kind in the UK. The project was co-ordinated by Digital Region Ltd., owned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (having taken over the role from the now defunct Yorkshire Forward), and the four local authorities that encompass South Yorkshire, these are Sheffield City Council, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. Thales Group was chosen to design, deliver and manage the project on behalf of Digital Region Ltd..
The hope of the project was that it would eventually become self-financing, however loans and grants were used to enable the project to start. The project received:
- £44 million grant funding from Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund.
- £40 million loan funding from Yorkshire Forward and the 4 local authorities.
- £10 million loan funding from the project technology partner, Thales Group.
Due to low takeup, the project suffered a very significant operating loss; not even taking into account the substantial interest payments due on loans for capital construction.
The project area covered the city, towns and villages of Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham and was expected to serve around 1.3 million people, 546000 homes and 40000 businesses.
While the project was built out substantially, it had a low takeup. No major consumer ISPs were signed up to resell services on the network, and the incumbent telephone operator, British Telecom, deployed its own fibre-based broadband services, attracting many more users due to an existing user base upgrading and the wide variety of ISPs available (PlusNet, Sky, TalkTalk, BT, etc.).
- "UPDATE ISP Fluidata and IFNL Bring 1Gbps FTTH Broadband to 50000 UK Premises". Retrieved 30 July 2012.