A £22m project to ensure high speed broadband coverage for around 98 per cent of all homes and businesses in Barnsley by the end of 2017 has been launched.

The Superfast South Yorkshire project will, say council leaders, make Barnsley a more attractive place to live and do business.

But unlike an earlier doomed broadband scheme, which ended up costing South Yorkshire council taxpayers millions of pounds - this project will not cost local people one penny.

The Superfast project is being jointly funded by the government, BT and Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield Councils. 

Barnsley council leader, Sir Steve Houghton said: "This is a major achievement and a huge step forward. Providing superfast broadband is fundamental to our vision for growth.

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"This will keep us in the digital infrastructure fast lane, making us competitive when it comes to attracting inward investment."

Coun Houghton said most of the homes and businesses who will benefit from being connected to high-speed fibre broadband are in the west of the borough - including some vital business parks near the M1.

It is estimated that the £22m project will generate an economic boost worth more than £270m across South Yorkshire.

** The full story appears in the Barnsley Chronicle newspaper, dated September 19. **