Digital Region network sold

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The failed Digital Region superfast broadband network is being sold to an American company for an undisclosed sum.

Up to 1,000 miles of fibre optic cabling connected to 80 per cent of premises across South Yorkshire is being snapped up by Zayo Group based in Boulder, Colorado.

The deal comes a month before the £160m flop is switched off for good on August 14.

A Digital Region spokeswoman said: “We are announcing that the process to sell the fibre network assets has now been concluded and the company has entered into an agreement to sell the network assets to Geo Networks Ltd.

“The assets will be transferred over to Geo Networks and decommissioning work will commence following the migration of all Digital Region customers from the network in August 2014. Geo Networks Ltd has recently been acquired by US fibre optic network company, Zayo Group based in Boulder, Colorado.

“Zayo plan to incorporate the fibre assets into the nationwide Geo network, and provide high-bandwidth fibre services to businesses and datacentres within the South Yorkshire region as well as carrying out the decommissioning of the existing Digital Region street furniture.”

Digital Region was a project led by South Yorkshires’s four councils to bring superfast broadband to the county. But it flopped after only attracting 3,000 customers. The Government pulled the plug last year.

The network cost £90m to install and an estimated £60m to decommission. Some £27m must be repaid to the European Union

The switch off will leave Sheffield city centre without a superfast service.

Meanwhile the councils are negotiating a new £20m deal with BT to extend the fibre network to remote or unviable areas, to achieve 95 per cent coverage of the county by 2017.