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Thales Telecom Services, a division of the French defence and engineering group, has been named the preferred bidder for the construction and maintenance of a fibre-optic network to provide super-fast broadband to 600,000 homes in South Yorkshire, it has been reported.

Under the terms of any deal, Thames and its consortium partners Alcatel Lucent and Kingston Communications to provide access to the fibre optic network for 1.3 million homes in Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster as well as 30,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs), the Times reports.

Thales was chosen by Sheffield City Council, which is funding the project, over rival bids by 70 other companies including BT.

The contract is structured so that space on the network will then be sold off to UK ISPs who will then sell their services to consumers.

It is hoped that the network will help regenerate the area by attracting new businesses and will improve provision of the healthcare in the region.

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