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South Yorkshire broadband scheme loses £9m in a year

South Yorkshire's super-fast broadband scheme lost more than £9m last year and still hasn't found a major ISP to sell its connectivity to consumers, it has emerged.The Yorkshire Post reported on Tuesday that the £92m Digital Region project had brought in just £167,000, according to filings with Companies House.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

South Yorkshire's super-fast broadband scheme lost more than £9m last year and still hasn't found a major ISP to sell its connectivity to consumers, it has emerged.

The Yorkshire Post reported on Tuesday that the £92m Digital Region project had brought in just £167,000, according to filings with Companies House.

The Digital Region network is operational, but has reportedly so far attracted only small ISPs as partners.

Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency that is part-funding Digital Region, has apparently had to pledge an extra £4m to keep the scheme afloat, although it is not clear whether that offer will be taken up. The regional development agency will itself shut down in March, as part of government cutbacks.

The Yorkshire Post also reported that Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley councils may have to provide more funding on top of the £10m they have already lent Digital Region.

In a statement, Digital Region chief operating officer David Cowell said that the organisation would "continue to work in partnership with the four local councils to help stimulate economic and social regeneration", with the focus now shifting to "promoting the network and meeting its operational needs".

"The broadband marketplace has evolved significantly over the last three years and Digital Region Limited has made considerable progress in adapting to this increasingly competitive environment," Cowell said.

In September last year it emerged that Yorkshire Forward was considering selling off half the scheme to private backers, but this never happened, a spokeswoman for Digital Region confirmed on Wednesday.

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