Wednesday, October 22, 2008

News: A Digital Region at the forefront of Digital Britain


As the government announces that they will develop an action plan to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries, the Digital Region project continues in South Yorkshire. Digital Region is one of the largest public sector led broadband infrastructure initiatives in the world. It will cover Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham offering a population of 1.3 million citizens, 546,000 homes and 40,000 businesses potential broadband speeds of 50mbps. In a recent report to Sheffield City Council the outcomes of the project were outlined. Independent economic analysis carried out by DTZ states that the Digital Region project will contribute an additional £198m p.a. in GVA, through growth in the ICT and digital sectors, and attracting inward investment to the region. The project will enable 2,500 jobs to be created over three years rising to 7,400 jobs created over 15 years. The fibre optic broadband infrastructure will advance the region by five to seven years putting it at the forefront of Digital Britain and kick-start the transformation in terms of economic regeneration and social inclusion. On Digital Britain, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said: "Over the last year we’ve worked with experts to get a clear understanding of the issues to address and obstacles to overcome if our businesses and citizens are to take full advantage of technology. Now is the time to move from the think tank phase to the delivery phase and focus on the actions needed to bring benefits for both the economy and an enriched society." Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson added:"The Government is determined that the UK will strengthen its place as a word leader in the communications and digital technology sectors. The digital economy will be central to this. The Digital Britain report will lead the way." The first customers are likely to access the new broadband network in each of the four authorities in Autumn 2009, with the full infrastructure being completed by the end of 2010.


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