Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 14:13 UK

Faster broadband to boost economy

Fibre optic cables

Homes and businesses in South Yorkshire will receive super-fast broadband as part of a scheme to put the region at the forefront of digital technologies.

A 25-megabit connection will be available from the end of 2009, reaching 1.2m people in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

More than £90m has been invested in the Digital Region scheme, which is being co-ordinated by Yorkshire Forward.

The high-speed service is seen as vital to developing the region's economy.

The scheme was approved as part of Wednesday's Budget.

Trevor Shaw, Yorkshire Forward executive director of finance, said: "Ensuring Yorkshire and Humber is at the forefront of digital technologies has always been a priority of ours as the region's development agency and a vital part of developing our economy, which is especially important in light of the current economic climate.

'Stronger position'

"Digital Region does this on a global scale and is the first giant leap in ensuring that our region is a truly digital one.

"Businesses in South Yorkshire will be able to increase their competitiveness, develop new products and business models and use IT in a variety of different ways as a result of this initiative - something we can be proud of as a catalyst for this project."

The connection will enable existing companies to develop products and services for the digital age and attract inward investment to the region.

It is hoped that the scheme will also enable the delivery of more effective public services in areas like healthcare and education.

More flexible working practices such as home-working should also be made easier.

Yorkshire Minister Rosie Winterton said: "This will place South Yorkshire in the forefront of technological change, and will put the sub-region in a much stronger position to be able to benefit from the up-turn when it comes."

Work on building the fibre-optic cable infrastructure will start immediately, with the first service available before the end of the year.

Connection to the network will be available through a range of service providers, national, regional and local.


The technology is already available in other parts of Europe

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