What is Digital Region?
Digital Region is a fibre broadband network based in South Yorkshire that was set up with money from the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF).
Currently 80 per cent of South Yorkshire can get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband from Digital Region which is used by a number of ISPs.
This equates to roughly 400,000 homes and 40,000 businesses across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield and other parts of South Yorkshire.
Prominent names include Ask4, Origin Broadband, LittleBigOne, Fluidata, Digital City Region, and Central Technology. Recently a new Service Exchange Platform agreement has been struck which promises to bring the services of over 50 new ISPs to the network.
How fast is broadband on Digital Region?
Top speeds available on the network vary with many ISPs offering speeds of up to 40Mbps (Ask4), 70Mbps (LittleBigOne) and 100Mbps (Central Technology).
Some ISPs like Origin Broadband providing leased line services (enterprise level business lines) which give 100Mbps, 1Gbps and 10Gbps top download speeds.
As with the Openreach network, the last mile of the connection is copper with most Digital Region products. This means that the speeds vary depending on the distance from the street cabinet to the home. In the case of leased lines…
Where can I get Digital Region?
Approximately 400,000 homes and 40,000 businesses across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield and other parts of South Yorkshire. The Digital Region Twitter account regularly updates on postcodes where its services are available so it’s a worthy follow for that reason alone.
There’s also a postcode checker on Digital Region’s site so you can check yourself.
How much does broadband on Digital Region cost?
Prices range from as little as £18.50/month for a 24Mbps service from Origin Broadband to £35/month for a 70Mbps service from LittleBigOne.
Unlimited downloads are common features of all ISPs using Digital Regions network and in some cases voice calls and digital TV can be added too.
What ISPs are available in the Digital Region?
Here is a list of the ISPs currently offering consumer and small-to-medium SME business broadband. We’ll update this list periodically when more ISPs and services become available:
Ask4: Ask4 currently offers two packages to those in the Digital Region, for customers with or without an active phone line.Both services provide download speeds of up to 40Mbps, uploads of up to 10Mbps and unlimited usage.
The standard cost of Ask4’s Digital Region broadband is £25.00/month plus whatever you’re paying for line rental. The broadband-only package (without line rental) costs £35/month.
Note that both packages require you to have a working phone line installed – you just don’t have to pay line rental unless you want voice calls.
Central Technology: Central Technology offers a range of business broadband solutions including leased lines, premium plus traffic (highest priority on a connection) and IPVN for home workers, removing the need for a VPN to be set up. Broadband packages provide speeds of up to 100Mbps, but prices aren’t listed so you’ld need to contact Central Technology directly and get a quote.
Digital City Region: Digital City Region offers a number of options for small business customers. The standard Digital City Region package costs £150/month, provides top download speeds of 80Mbps, top uploads of 20Mbps, unlimited downloads and a business-grade VoIP service as standard.
Fluidata: Fluidata offers an exhaustive range of business broadband solutions including PWAN (closed connections negating the need for VPNs) hosting and an up to 80Mbps down and 20Mbps up broadband service. Prices are not listed directly on Fluidata’s site, so you’ll need to get a quote.
LittleBigOne: LittleBigOne is a bright, friendly consumer focussed ISP that offers an up to 40Mbps service and an up to 70Mbps service as well as bundles of landline phone and digital TV with your broadband. The 40Mbps service includes upload speeds of up to 10Mbps, unlimited downloads and costs £25.00/month. The 70Mbps service offers upload speeds of up to 30Mbps and unlimited downloads and costs £35.00/month. Installation and a wireless ‘N’ router are included free of charge.
Origin Broadband: Origin Broadband offers four packages to Digital Region customers. Ignition provides 24Mbps top download speeds, 10Mbps top upload speeds and unlimited downloads for £18.50/month.
Fusion gives you faster top downloads at up to 40Mbps but slower uploads at up to 2Mbps for £22.50/month. Inferno gives you up to 40Mbps down and up to 10Mbps up for £25.00/month and the top tier Origin Max deal gives you up to 70Mbps downloads for £35.00/month.
Currently all these packages come with a 50 per cent discount for the first three months, free installation and a TP Link N150 wireless router bundled as standard.
- Digital Region superfast broadband network’s future in doubt
- LittleBigOne identifies ‘best connected street in South Yorkshire’
- Two companies in the running to buy the South Yorks network
- LittleBigOne sees 81 per cent summer growth spike
- Fibre broadband speed boost incoming
- Digital Region to get over 50 new ISPs
- LittleBigOne digital TV and 80Mbps broadband launches in South Yorkshire
LittleBigOne has apparently identified the ‘best connected street in South Yorkshire’ – that’s Blue Mans Way, a cul-de-sac in Catcliffe, if you were wondering.
One-fifth of the homes in Blue Mans Way (Google Maps link) are getting their broadband from LittleBigOne and five homes in the nearby Georgian Mews have also signed up.
Resident Paul Buck has been quoted saying that the service is “phenomenally quick” and there’s “no drop in service when everyone else is online.” Let’s hope that this remains the case should the other fourth-fifths sign up as well.
Homes in South Yorkshire connected to the Digital Region FTTC-based network can enjoy download speeds of up to 70Mbps as well as TV services.
LittleBigOne’s packages include unlimited downloads as standard and digital TV packages whcih include channels such as MTV, Cartoon Network, GOLD, Alibi, Eden, Blighty, Watch, Home and Good Food as well as all of the standard PSB channels.
Update: We’ve just heard back from LittleBigOne who were able to give us some data on the average speeds experienced by Blue Mans Way residents:
|Product / Speeds||Average Download Speed||Average Upload Speed||Top Download Speed||Top Upload Speed|
As you can see, the average speeds aren’t miles away from the theoretical top speeds. Note that the slower Superfast service is actually closer to delivering the headline speeds compared to the more expensive Ultrafast product. Even so, 58.6Mbps is still several rungs above the national average for last year, but more or less on par with superfast speeds available elsewhere.
January 30, 2013
South Yorkshire network Digital Region is up for sale, with two companies now shortlisted to take it over.
“A total of 29 expressions of interest were received in the initial stage of the procurement
process,” said David Cowell, chief operating officer for Digital Region, “and we are now working with two shortlisted bidders in the final stage.”
Digital Region, which has reported an operating loss of £14 million, intends to sell itself to a new operator to ensure that “ensure the network delivers on its original remit of digital transformation across the region, and provide quality and value for money for South Yorkshire residents and businesses,” in Cowell’s words.
There’s no word on who exactly is bidding for the rights to run the network, but thanks to a Service Exchange Platform (SEP) agreement with Fluidata, in theory, any ISP in the UK, BT, Virgin Media, Cable & Wireless or Fujitsu could buy up.
The Digital Region is an FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) network that serves more than 80 per cent of South Yorkshire’s homes and businesses. Digital Region completed work on its network in March 2012, ahead of schedule and under budget.
Digital Region is valued at £63 million in terms of its assets and exceptional costs and whoever takes it over will need to be able to turn around that £14 million annual loss.
January 7, 2013
LittleBigOne has announced a huge spike in subscriber numbers which grew by 81 per cent this summer.
The Digital Region-based ISP is putting the surge of interest down to its combined bundle offering of fibre broadband, digital TV and landline phone calls.
Teresa Robbins, managing director of LittleBigOne argues that customers are ‘fed up with playing bandwidth bingo’ and want everything all in one basket, as well as faster next-gen broadband.
“Standard broadband connections tend to allow one person in a household to stream internet TV with some buffering, provided they aren’t competing for connectivity with other users,” added Robbins.
“If someone else on the same connection is also using the internet to work from home, download a film or engage in online gaming, everyone suffers.”
LittleBigOne uses Digital Region’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) network which offers download speeds of up to 70Mbps.
The digital TV offerings are also compelling, blending the standard Freeview digital TV channels with MTV, VH1 and UKTV channels like Alibi and Good Food. The top tier Big TV+ service lets you record programmes on the Motorola VIP 1853 (pictured).
Back in April, when LittleBigOne launched its combined services we heard that premium Sky packages, namely Sky Sports and Sky Movies might be in the pipeline too. We’ve asked our sources if there’s any progress on this or if it’s just a pipe dream and we’re waiting to hear back.
December 3, 2012
Digital Region ISP Fluidata appears to have spilled the beans on an incoming speed boost to the network, due to take place early next year.
According to a post on Fluidata’s site, Digital Region has announced a ‘phased network upgrade in which they are upgrading the cards in certain exchanges. This will enable customers to potentially receive higher than the 70Mbps downloads currently achievable’.
Digital Region has yet to formally announce anything on this itself so we’re waiting for verification. But it’ll be interesting to see what can be done with the FTTC lines on the network.
Unlike FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) or ‘true fibre’, FTTC has to an extent the same distance dilemma that standard ADSL does. In other words, the further you are from the cabinet the slower the top speed will be. On Openreach’s fibre cabinets, if you’re more than 3 kilometers away from an upgraded cab, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
For this reason it looks like Digital Region will only be rolling out upgrades in areas where it’ll make a measurable difference. Fluidata says the upgrade will ‘only impact existing/new connections at the higher end allowing the line to achieve higher speeds if capable.’
Phase 1 of the rollout is due to begin ‘next month’ – tomorrow is December 1, so we’ll see if Digital Region has anything big to announce in the very near future.
November 30, 2012
Digital Region will soon be home to over a whopping 50 new ISPs.
Thanks to a new Service Exchange Platform (SEP) deal with ISP Fluidata (which uses the Digital Region network itself), NETadmin Systems and Magdelene, more ISPs ought to be able to sell their services to residential and business customers in the South Yorkshire region.
The three network management and ISP specialists have collaborated before on plugging a not-spot in Hampshire but this is the first time they’ve worked together on something this big.
The deal sees South Yorkshire residents now having more choice than anywhere in Europe and, according to NETadmin CEO Torbjorn Sandberg, “almost anywhere in the world.”
There’s scant detail about the names of the ISPs and the nature of the services coming to Digital Region but we’ll update once we’ve got some more.
October 31, 2012
LittleBigOne has just launched some new digital TV and broadband bundle deals, bringing channels like MTV, Cartoon Network, GOLD and Bloomberg as well as download speeds of up to 70Mbps.
As well as combining a number of the channels we’re used to seeing on Freeview and subscription digital TV, LittleBigOne adds a dash of local flavour in the form of live local transport news and updates.
LittleBigOne’s TV services are broken down into three tiers; Little TV, Big TV and Big TV+.
Little TV gives you access to a basic selection of 50+ channels many of which are available to Freeview customers. You get all of the BBC channels (including BBC One HD) ITV channels 1 through to 4, Channel 4 plus More 4, Film4 and E4.
What’s more is that there’s talk of Sky TV channels and content, specifically Sky Sports and Sky Movies, coming soon. More on this as and when we get it.
April 4, 2012