OPINION: Digisaster

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If you’d wasted £150m of taxpayers’ cash, you’d be keeping your head down too.

The Digital Region broadband network which covers South Yorkshire is being shut down on August 14 (see Business Weekly).

Hundreds of miles of superfast fibre optics will be switched off, forcing 3,000 customers to go elsewhere and plunging our region into the dark ages of connectivity.

The cables have already been flogged off to a private company – but no one will say how much for.

Indeed, no one is saying anything, not the four South Yorkshire councils who were partners in the scheme, not Digital Region Ltd, the company that was founded to run it, and not the Government who inherited it from Yorkshire Forward, the regeneration agency at the heart of the disaster.

Nor will anyone be held accountable – £150m of your money poured down a hole in the street and not a single person carries the can – or says ‘sorry’ for that matter.

Yet York is set to have a faster network, to 80,000 buildings, costing only £30m – and it’s all privately funded.

The boss of one of the companies involved says Sheffield is at least two years behind its rivals – when it should have been five years in front.

Life goes on and our four councils are now negotiating a £20m deal with BT to lay cables where the Digital Region ones already go.

You could not make it up.