City to be left without superfast broadband

Superfast broadband bid
Superfast broadband bid

South Yorkshire’s four councils are about to sign a £20m deal to bring superfast broadband to the county - but Sheffield city centre is excluded.

The new plan has been approved by BDUK, the government project which aims to install a fibre point in every community in the UK by the end of 2015.

Sheffield city centre will not be included in the scheme and it will have no superfast cabling after the shutdown of Digital Region, a £160m superfast broadband scheme now labelled a waste of taxpayers’ cash.

Hundreds of homes and businesses will be forced to step down to ‘bog standard’ broadband or pay huge sums for a private line to be installed.

Digital Region is being shutdown after failing to make any money. Some 1,000 miles of fibre optic cabling was laid as part of a project to give South Yorkshire superfast connectivity ahead of the rest of the country, but the Government pulled the plug last year.

The final switch off is on August 14 and the total installation and shutdown costs are estimated to be £160m.

American company Zayo Group has stepped in to buy the futuristic system for an undisclosed sum. It will add the Digital Region cabling to its network once the existing Digital Region customers have been transferred and the system decommissioned.

A Digital Region spokeswoman said: “We are announcing that the process to sell the fibre network assets has now been concluded and the company has entered into an agreement to sell the network assets to Geo Networks Ltd.

“The assets will be transferred over to Geo Networks and decommissioning work will commence following the migration of customers from the network.”