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Digital Region Picks New Operator to Run its South Yorkshire UK Network

Thursday, February 7th, 2013 (3:37 pm) - Score 1,237

The troubled Digital Region (DRL) broadband network, which currently reaches 80% of homes and businesses in South Yorkshire (England), has this afternoon selected Bouygues Energies and Services (ETDE SA) as its “preferred bidder” to take over the running of their business.

The move means that BTWholesale is considerably less likely to win the tender, although there’s still a slim chance that they could sweep the deal out from under BYES feet. Sadly the press release doesn’t go into any further detail.

David Cowell, CEO of Digital Region, said:

The Board were impressed by the high quality of the submissions and are grateful for the diligent and comprehensive approach of both bidders.

The process is still ongoing and DRL will continue to negotiate with BYES to agree a contract ready for execution in the first quarter of 2013.”

Digital Region’s most recent financial statements, for the year ended 31st March 2012, revealed that the network had stacked up an operating loss for the year of £14,285k (£14m), before exceptional costs of £62,936k (here), and was thus continuing to hoover up public money.

The eventual bid winner will be accountable for the network’s revenues, costs and risks. The COO of ISP ASK4, Ross Bray, recently told ISPreview.co.uk that the new owner of DRL must help it become a “credible” and “competitive .. alternative to the standard BT product set” if it is to survive (read our interview). A few extra subscribers wouldn’t hurt.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Stuart Grimshaw says:

    Digital region would do better if the concentrated on installing their product in places where there were people to use it.

    I went to their Twitter feed looking for a specific example of an install in the middle of nowhere near where I live but I didn’t need to find it, their latest tweet was that this caravan park & storage land in Doncaster now has fibre broadband.

    Or perhaps this farmhouse in Barnsley (tweet) or this one over the road. These are all examples of places that have been enabled since late/end of January.

    If DR can honestly say that these kinds of places are all that’s left to enable now that the rest of the populated areas of South Yorkshire are covered then fine, but as a resident of an area that only got ADSL2 at the end of last year and a BT fibre install date for our exchange of “2013” (and even that’s slipped from 2012) then you can understand why I feel a bit cross about postcodes with single farmhouses and dog tracks being enabled with tax payers money.

    Are BT seriously going to consider spending the large amounts of cash to upgrade exchanges in areas covered by Digital Region? They’re either holding on in the ever decreasing hope of taking over their network, or leaving the rollout as long as they can because the competition of DR means their ROI is much lower, meanwhile large areas of South Yorkshire are left to become digital backwaters.

  2. Avatar Chris Conder says:

    Who supplies Digital Region? just askin.

    1. Avatar Sheffield Owl says:

      Thales is the company that at present runs the network

      http://www.digitalregion.co.uk/

  3. Avatar Richard says:

    I echo the comments of Stuart Grimshaw, Digital region have essentially put any chance of a faster connection for me out of any hope. I live on a street of about 70 houses and they upgraded the cabinets for all the streets around me (who were already Virgin Media enabled) and left my street on a slow connection with no other options.

    The prices are more expensive than Virgin Media and slower connection speeds so I am not surprised people have not moved over. As much as I am for competition I do hope that BT get Digital Region as I see them as the best chance I have for the cabinet to be enable on my street.

    Digital Region is just another example of private companies burning up tax payers money and not providing the service they should have.

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