Ambitious plan to put county ahead

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Digital Region was an ambitious plan to bring superfast broadband to South Yorkshire in the early 2000s - years ahead of the rest of the country.

Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster councils, and regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, drew up a scheme to lay hundreds of miles of fibre optic cables.

Set up costs were £92m, Yorkshire Forward offered £40m in grants and loans, Europe contributed £27m and the councils lent the rest.

It was supposed to turn a profit within three years - but lost £1m-a-month.

The Government scrapped Yorkshire Forward when it came to power in 2010 and took on its 50 per cent share before pulling the plug last year.

Shutdown costs are estimated at £60m.