With Fujitsu gone, BT eats all the fibre
Fujitsu has withdrawn from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) procurement process, leaving BT as the only bidder and raising fresh questions about the competitiveness of the initiative, which provides funding for the rollout of fibre in areas where it is not commercially viable.
BT and Fujitsu were the only two participants in the BDUK procurement framework designed to deliver fast Internet access to rural areas, but BT has won all of the funding available so far. Under the scheme, local councils must match the amount that they receive from the government
Fujitsu BDUK withdrawal
“Various conditions surrounding the BDUK process, which we have discussed with the DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), effectively rule Fujitsu out of the competition for new areas,” Fujitsu told TechWeekEurope. “So while we remain supportive of the process and its objectives, we are not actively pursuing opportunities within it. Our focus now is very much on urban and city opportunities with our partners such as CityFibre Holdings.”
Fujitsu’s withdrawal has paved the way for BT to win all of the remaining £530 million of government funds up for grabs. Local councils can use other providers if they wish, but they must set up their own procurement process and hope that the government will support its decision.
The programme has previously attracted the attention of the European Union, which only gave its blessing to the scheme last November after being satisfied that it didn’t amount to state aid for BT.
The telecommunications company was forced to deny that it was overcharging the government after a leaked document suggested that officials at the DCMS had been told that the company was inflating its costs by up to 80 percent.
BT has recently agreed deals to improve fibre coverage in Lincolnshire and Suffolk using BDUK funding, while it has also announced plans to expand its partnership in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.
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