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Clare Burnett

Member Article

South Yorkshire to boost broadband coverage with £22 million BT deal

South Yorkshire has joined forces with BT in a multi-million pound deal to extend the availability of high-speed, fibre broadband to around 98% of homes and businesses in the city region.

The £22 million Superfast South Yorkshire project, funded jointly by BT, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and South Yorkshire partners, will reportedly bringing new investment to the region and generate an economic return of more than £270 million.

Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, has worked with other city region leaders on this joint project with private sector investment.

Cllr Houghton said: “We’ll increase fibre broadband coverage across South Yorkshire, taking it from the current 80% to around 98% by the end of 2017.

“Private sector investment from BT is helping us to make this £22 million project happen. This is a major achievement for the city region, and a huge step forwards for South Yorkshire.

“We’ve committed to providing superfast broadband in the Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan, as it’s fundamental to our vision for growth. This will keep us in the digital infrastructure fast lane, making us competitive when it comes to attracting inward investment.”

Bill Murphy, managing director at BT Group, said: “Superfast broadband is a key part of the present and future success of the whole of South Yorkshire. The technology is vital to modern life whether you are a high-tech start-up or an established family firm in a traditional industry such as manufacturing. It will become even more essential in the increasingly ‘connected world’ of the future.

“Fibre broadband is now becoming essential for consumers too. Existing broadband is struggling to support the growing number of web based devices in the home.

“All these devices will be competing for the same limited bandwidth, and basic broadband services with slow speeds will increasingly become a major bottleneck.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Today’s contract signing marks the first step in what will be a remarkable transformation of South Yorkshire’s digital landscape.

“Access to superfast broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity and the £22.4 million investment in faster broadband for South Yorkshire will provide a huge boost to the local economy.”

James Newman, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) added: “I am delighted that the four South Yorkshire authorities have taken this important step towards reinforcing the Sheffield City Region’s reputation as one of the best places in the country to live, work and invest.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the four authorities for really taking on board the needs of the private sector, and congratulate them on reaching this important deal with BT.”

The first communities across South Yorkshire can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from summer 2015 onwards.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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