Japanese technology firm Fujitsu has withdrawn from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) procurement process, TechWeekEurope reports, meaning that fixed line incumbent BT is now the only bidder. The development has renewed questions over the competiveness of the process, just four six months after the European Commission (EC) confirmed that BDUK, the umbrella support scheme for investments in next generation access (NGA) broadband networks, does comply with European Union (EU) state aid rules.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in July 2012 European regulators had placed the UK’s rural broadband rollout strategy on hold to allow for an examination of the process, after confirmation that just two companies –BT and Fujitsu – had been selected to receive funding from BDUK. The British government had originally aimed for an open process in which community groups and private firms would be commissioned to build Europe’s ‘best superfast broadband network’, with BDUK having published a framework covering 35 local authority areas, under which contractors competed to win equipment supply deals. However, with claims that the selection criteria had proved insurmountable, a number of companies, including Geo and Cable & Wireless withdrew from the process last year.
Commenting on the decision to withdraw, Fujitstu noted: ‘Various conditions surrounding the BDUK process, which we have discussed with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (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. Our focus now is very much on urban and city opportunities with our partners such as CityFibre Holdings.’