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South Yorkshire's transformation continues apace as Digital Region announces broadband service contracts

posted 27 Apr 2010, 05:58 by RiDO Rotherham
Digital Region Ltd (DRL) and Thales UK today announced the first two contractual agreements with regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Yorkshire, in a move that represents an important milestone in the region’s digital transformation: the availability of end user fast broadband services to South Yorkshire’s business community. 

Business telephony and video conferencing services are now available on DRL’s next-generation network, delivered by RiPWiRE and DRBSY Ltd (Digital Region Broadband South Yorkshire), two ISPs, based in Rotherham and Sheffield respectively. Both organisations also expect to introduce consumer and public sector services in the coming weeks.
"This is great news, and a significant step forward for the region’s digital presence,” comments David Holt, CEO, Digital Region Ltd.  “We're extremely pleased that our first partner organisations are local to South Yorkshire, and that they feel Digital Region can give them such a strong portfolio of services for both businesses and consumers. There has been tremendous interest in providing services over the network from South Yorkshire’s private sector. Businesses like DRBSY are setting up from scratch specifically to capitalise on the opportunities the network offers. Despite being less than five months from when the core fibre optic ring went operational, the project is already creating jobs and opportunities for the region.”

The Digital Region network, built and managed by Thales UK, is designed to support a potential revolution in the delivery of wholesale broadband services to South Yorkshire, delivering consumer and businesses related services across the region together with enhancing social care, health and education services.  Thales UK, in partnership with DRL, commenced the construction works in 2009 and is scheduled to complete the building of the ‘fibre-to-the-street cabinet’ network to over 1600 locations across the entire region by 2012. In addition, Thales UK are responsible for operating the network and for developing and selling the wholesale services to service providers.  

“We are delighted to be able to provide access to the Digital Region network for our existing and prospective new customers in South Yorkshire. Improving the quality and speed of their connectivity will enable them to take advantage of more of our cloud computing services and improve their business performance,” comments Liam Winder, Managing Director, RiPWiRE. “The Digital Region network will also enable more customers to take advantage of our applications that require high-quality bandwidth. We are particularly excited about the opportunities that this creates for both public and private customers in the healthcare sector.”

George Taylor is the founder of DRBSY Ltd., a new business that will provide services exclusively over the Digital Region network. “We’re great advocates of DRL’s mission to provide a vehicle for South Yorkshire’s economic regeneration and are aligning our new organisation entirely with their objectives. With 46,000 square feet of hosting space at Yorkshire’s largest data centre, we’re looking to host as well as deliver next generation services, and aim to provide vital backup and disaster recovery facilities for the rest of the country via the Digital Region network.”

“As the network build continues we will see more and more service providers sign up to develop, trial and roll out services across a range of vertical markets,” adds Holt.  “The next few months will be very exciting for us, and for South Yorkshire in general.” 

The Digital Region project will bring continuous 25mb+ broadband to over 97% of the region, including 550,000 homes and 1.3 million people. The project is financed by European, regional, local and private investment of over £90 million, including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

For more information see our page on the Digital Region.