BT Scores Another BDUK Deal With £33m Surrey Project
Another BDUK project is handed to BT, but it’s another project that won’t go ahead until Brussels says so
BT has won yet another Broadband Development UK (BDUK) contract from a local council, with a £33 million deal in Surrey which will see the county become the “best connected county in the UK”.
The communications giant will provide both Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) services, promising up to 80Mbps, and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), with speeds of up to 300Mbps.
However, nothing will go ahead until the BDUK project has been granted state aid approval from the European Commission, which is looking into whether the process is competitive enough. As BT is the only provider to have won contracts supported by BDUK, and has now won yet another, the EC may have greater cause for concern.
All but one of the BDUK-supported projects are currently held up because of the EC investigation. North Yorkshire’s county council had already gained state aid approval from Brussels before the EC started probing the initiative, so has started the process of rolling out infrastructure.
Fujitsu, which is the other provider included in a government framework designed to aid councils in their BDUK procurement, has been second best in many of the BDUK bidding processes so far. The Japanese firm is believed to be on a government blacklist, however.
Regardless of the hold up, Surrey believes the deal will add £28 million to the county’s economy every year. Nearly 100 percent of Surrey businesses and homes will be able to have superfast connections by the end of 2014.
“This will be a great boost for business, from start-ups in small offices through to multi-nationals. It can be crucial to the continued success of Surrey businesses and a huge attraction to those looking to move in,” said Surrey’s deputy leader Peter Martin.
“Fast and reliable web access is essential to our daily lives and by stepping in we’re also making sure no Surrey communities are disadvantaged.”
BT is contributing £11.8m to the project, with £20m coming from Surrey County Council and a small amount – £1.3m – from the government’s BDUK fund.
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