The Digital Region Project has failed to bring faster broadband to South Yorkshire.
A faster broadband initiative has failed to generate enough interest, and the government now says it could cost the taxpayer £45m to close down the scheme.
The Digital Region project was launched across South Yorkshire in 2010 to bring faster broadband to the area, but only 2.7% of the project’s hoped-for 108,000 subscribers had signed up.
The Government called the £83.3m programme "deeply flawed."
The programme was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which had originally invested £30m into the scheme, but it now wants the money back.
The Government said it might cost a total of £45m to close the scheme.
Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotheram councils each committed £7m and Sheffield City Council invested £14m, with the rest coming from the now-closed development agency Yorkshire Forward.
The news comes as a recent report shows the average speed of broadband in the UK has soured by 41%, reaching an average of 7.9Mbps.