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Residents in South Yorkshire are to benefit from high-speed broadband following a funding boost for the Digital Region initiative.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced support for the £100 million project which is set to provide next-generation broadband to upwards of 1.2 million people across the region.

Web users in Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster will be the first to experience the superfast broadband speeds as part of a pilot trial.

Also in the Budget, Mr Darling revealed plans to use money generated by the BBC licence fee to support the rollout of the UK-wide broadband network outlined in the Digital Britain report.

Underspend from the licence fee revenue set aside to fund the switchover to digital TV will be used to support the 2Mb nation-wide network.

Commenting on the announcement, business secretary Lord Mandelson said: "We need to make sure that transformational technologies like broadband are genuinely available to virtually everyone.

"And we need government action to help drive that change and ensure UK firms have the capacity to compete for the economic opportunities it brings."

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