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BT clear winner for BDUK contracts as Fujitsu pulls out of race

BT has all but been handed the last remaining BDUK contracts as its revealed that Fujitsu has pulled out of the bidding race. 

A statement from a Fujitsu spokesperson confirmed that the Japanese company intended to respectfully bow out of BDUK: 

“Various conditions surrounding the BDUK process, which we have discussed with the DCMS, effectively rule Fujitsu out of the competition for new areas. So while we remain supportive of the process and its objectives, we are not actively pursuing opportunities within it.” 

BT clear winner for BDUK contracts as Fujitsu pulls out of race
BT now approaching the final FTTC furlong in the one-horse BDUK race

Read Recombu Digital’s report on Fibre Broadband and BDUK

The Financial Times [paywall] broke the story last Friday and since then we’ve heard of Kent County Council’s plans to let BT connect 95 per cent of premises to its fibre-based broadband network. 

So far, BT has been awarded contracts for all of the BDUK locations. At the time of writing there are nine locations that are still at the procurement stage. Its now expected that BT will snap all of these up, despite Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield saying last year that BT did not expect to win all of the contracts. 

The remaining areas are Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Shropshire, Bucks & Herts, Cheshire, West Sussex, Durham, Northumberland and Oxfordshire. 

BDUK: Now a one-horse race 

With Fujitsu withdrawing from the BDUK process it’s now a one-horse race. FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) provider and infrasatructure builder Geo Networks withdrew from the BDUK race earlier, arguing that the system for bidding was weighted in favour of BT. 

BDUK bidding rules stipulate that a company bidding for a contract must aim to getting the work done by 2015 (later revised thanks to delays), provide speeds of above 20Mbps to the majority (over 90 per cent) of premises and ensure that the networks are open access, allowing other ISPs to sell their services to customers once the work is done. 

BT has already embarked on its own £2.5 billion commercial programme which will see two-thirds of the UK able to get faster speeds by 2015. Where BT has won BDUK contracts in areas such as Wales, where it had already comitted to superfast rollout as part of this commercial plan, BT is essentially doing two jobs in the same areas. Open access is a part of the Openreach business model already, so it’s perhaps understandable that some would argue the BDUK process has been skewed in favour of BT. 


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