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Digital Region Project may seek commercial operator to rescue it


Paddy

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Latest update to this ongoing saga.

 

http://recombu.com/digital/news/bt-could-clean-up-south-yorkshires-155-million-fibre-broadband-mess_M12674.html

 

More comments on these sites also.

 

http://drlforum.co.uk/showthread.php?tid=1069

 

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/01/government-moot-bduk-fibre-broadband-plan-south-yorkshire-uk.html

 

Hopefully some good will come of this and Sheffield City centre and Attercliffe telephone exchanges can finally be upgraded with fibre broadband.

Edited by Paddy
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  • 2 months later...
Latest update to this ongoing saga.

 

http://recombu.com/digital/news/bt-could-clean-up-south-yorkshires-155-million-fibre-broadband-mess_M12674.html

 

More comments on these sites also.

 

http://drlforum.co.uk/showthread.php?tid=1069

 

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/01/government-moot-bduk-fibre-broadband-plan-south-yorkshire-uk.html

 

Hopefully some good will come of this and Sheffield City centre and Attercliffe telephone exchanges can finally be upgraded with fibre broadband.

 

More updates - it seems the local councils are being given £ 10 million from central government to sort the mess out.

 

And what are they spending it on ? Another review with a 3 year plan...

 

Honestly - you couldn't make it up.

 

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/broadband/387295/government-pledges-10m-to-save-superfast-broadband-in-south-yorkshire

 

http://www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/syprojects/sybroadband/

 

My suggestion would be to spend 10p on a grovelling phone call to BT and let them come and sort it out.

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I didn't know there was a public consultation for South Yorkshire Regional Broadband, and its now closed. This is the nub of the problem, absolutely no publicity that 'Digital Region' exists.

So they have got another £10 million to keep the service afloat, will we see it advertised? or is it just to keep a select few with their snouts in the trough well fed?

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It could be argued that because it's an election year next year, the current government don't want the hastle of having to sort this out and have to pay back the EU loans. It's easier for them to just throw some more money at it for now in the short term, as the £10Mil will keep the network going until just after the next general election in 2015. After that, if they chose to shut it down then it will be that year's budget that takes the hit in having to repay monies to different creditors, rather than this year's fiscal year which will be a scrutinised a lot more by the electorate.

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I believe the review that is linked to above is all about what happens as a consequence of Digital Region dying. The current subscribers to Digital Region ISPs have been told that it will be switched off on 14th August this year, and everybody will have to make alternative arrangements, although Origin (details are non-existant) are likely to try and move customers to BT based fibre where they can. The review is all about how they fund areas where BT claim providing an Infinity service is not cost effective. It will most likely end up with BT being given some money to fill in some of the gaps.

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It's all speculation at the moment, but it appears that the £10mil will basically buy the councils/government time to fudge the figures and make it easier to appear closer to their target of 90% of homes having fibre availability by 2015. now been revised to 95% by 2017 - if they lose a big chunk of the map in the middle of the country right before an election, it makes it look worse for the incumbent political parties towards getting re-election that their connectivity policies are working, especially because of the boatloads of money that have been thrown at the project already.

 

Another reason for throwing DR this money is because the BDUK scheme has been criticised for just giving lots of public money to BT to get fibre to different areas. Giving DR this money, where BT haven't been involved in the rollout and maintainence of it, means that the councils and government have a counter-argument that not all of the money would have been given to BT, it's basically an easy get-out argument for them.

 

We'll probably still lose DR, but it might mean that it isn't going to be turned off quite so quickly as we've previously been lead to believe. They may be able to keep it powered up for a further 12 months or so after the original pull-date.

 

---------- Post added 31-03-2014 at 16:40 ----------

 

*additional* The fact that if they take the extra £10mil from the government and the councils contribute another £10mil themselves, means that they can keep the network powered up (it was argued that it cost £1mil per month running costs) and expand the network to hit the rollout target - if they hit the rollout target, it's another argument against the project being as much of a failure, so they wouldn't have to pay as much back to the EU.

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I can't see them pumping any money into DR at this point as due to the impending closing of the network the only people still sticking around are on Origin, even some of their customers will have left by now.

 

The ISPs will also only be contracted up until the closing date, I can't see them wanting to hang on for another year just for a few customers. The running costs of DR will be much higher now thanks to even less customers on there.

Edited by AlexAtkin
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It's all about if the councils take up the offer, which according to the PC Pro article, this is actually being considered. I agree with you completely (even though I'm an Origin customer myself and don't like seeing the network fail) - but I reiterate, this is basically a paper-fudge excersise, spending money from one fund in order to save expenditure somewhere else (i.e the repayment to the EU) and still be able to argue that the money is actually investment capital which would yield a resaleable asset rather than money being thrown away. The argument then becomes that the government money is being used to expand the network on privision that the council injected money is used to maintain the network until the network expansion has been completed.

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Nowhere in the article does it say this money is going to prop up Digital Region. Digital Region is over and will close in August. It's effectively in administration/receivership. What is happening re repayment of EU grants for Digital Region isn't clear.

The £10 million, if matched by the councils will be spent on other schemes to provide fast broadband where BT would otherwise not provide an upgrade. There was an announcement a few months back that Doncaster council had already agreed to fund BT fibre upgrades in certain areas.

To answer Bonjon, I think that you will lose your fibre connection in the next few months and will unfortunately go back to ADSL2. If the councils fund upgrades to your local exchange/cabinets, or for instance fund a local high speed WIFI for instance, then you might regain a faster speed.

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