The troubled Digital Region superfast broadband network in South Yorkshire is to be switched off in August, leaving thousands in the region without a fibre connection.
According to reports from local newspaper The Star, the fibre network will be turned off on August 14 as no buyer has been found for the network.
The superfast network was the brainchild of South Yorkshire’s four metropolitan boroughs. However, the urban fibre project that absorbed £100 million from the taxpayer was effectively killed off last summer when the UK Government said it would no longer stump up any more money to keep it running.
With the switch-off, residents and businesses in South Yorkshire may have to go back to a much slower broadband service.
Mike Hull, co-director of SMC Chartered Surveyors in Sheffield told the newspaper that his firm has been “left in the lurch”.
“It’s a real backwards step that’s going to impact on our business,” he said. “Because Digital Region was first in the city centre there are no other superfast suppliers on our road, which is incredible in one of the country’s biggest cities.”
He claimed that no transition plans have been made to help people and businesses find alternative provisions. “The plug is being pulled and no one seems to care.”
Richard Jepson, of Digital Region, said that unless a buyer of the network is found, the switch-off would go ahead. However, he hinted that a saviour could come along at the last minute. “There’s possibly someone taking it over but I can say no more.”
Digital Region only managed to find 3,000 customers for its fibre service instead of a planned 108,000.