Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Cumbria UK Reject Superfast Broadband Rollout Bids from BT and Fujitsu

Friday, June 15th, 2012 (8:13 am) - Score 1,137

A plan to deploy superfast broadband (24Mbps+) services to 90% of people in Cumbria (England) by 2015 (the last 10% would get speeds of at least 2Mbps), which could be worth up to £40 million, looks set to face further delays after the Cumbria County Council (CCC) rejected the only two available bids from BT and Fujitsu.

Cumbria, which is one of England’s most rural counties, was picked to be one of the country’s first five Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband pilot projects in October 2010 (here). Since then the governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office has awarded £17,130,000 to help the county proceed with their Local Broadband Plan (LBP), which has already been approved and is now in the procurement phase (tender / contract seeking). The extra cash would come from match-funding via private sector investment and council contributions.

As a result Cumbria was widely expected to be one of the first out of the gate, yet so far neither BT nor Fujitsu have been able to meet the council’s requirements (these remain roughly in-line with the government’s national goal, as stated in the first paragraph). In short, both bidders have been told to go back and revise their offers.

Statement from Cumbria Council (North-West Evening Mail)

Today, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet have decided to enter into a new phase of procurement on Connecting Cumbria. This new phase will see formal negotiations continue with the final two bidders on the Connecting Cumbria Programme to help improve their overall offer for Cumbria. Cabinet now intends to make a final decision in September.

Cabinet received detailed submissions from the final two potential suppliers (Fujitsu and BT) and despite a lot of progress being made neither of the final tenders had completely fulfilled the original, and full, requirements of the procurement process. Both suppliers will now be invited to take part in new negotiations, which will lead to revised final tenders being submitted later this year.

The council will invite both suppliers to engage in an intense process of formal negotiation that will focus on securing a final contract for the delivery of Superfast broadband in Cumbria that fully meets the needs and aspirations of the Connecting Cumbria programme and satisfies the terms and conditions of all funding bodies including central government and EU requirements.

The council member in charge of the Connecting Cumbria project, Elizabeth Mallinson, added that their inability to choose a supplier had apparently not prevented them from making “significant progress in terms of our overall broadband strategy for Cumbria“; significantly slow progress perhaps.

Meanwhile the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA / CBN), which aims to promote and support the development of next generation local (rural) internet access projects, suggests that the move could be good news for Cumbria’s future.

INCA Statement

INCA members are very supportive of the Government’s ambitions for next generation broadband but have long been concerned about the process. Cumbria’s decision to reject both BT and Fujitsu Telecom’s bids is a symptom of serious underlying problems with the government’s procurement process. There are currently only two participants remaining; other potential bidders concluded relatively early on that the process is too heavily weighted in favour of the incumbent to make it contestable. What the UK needs is a more competitive process to encourage investment and innovation. Alternatively we need to find a different way of funding next generation infrastructure and that almost certainly leads down the route of full structural separation of BT.

After the Olympics we need a rethink of the policy. Ideally the review should focus on the size and shape of the franchise areas; how to encourage investment in truly open access backhaul connections between communities and the Internet; building networks based on open Internet exchange peering points, not just BT’s telephone exchanges; encouraging investment from industry, non-traditional private sector players and communities themselves to increase the size of the overall pot.

Unfortunately INCA’s statement is perhaps a bit wide of the mark, at least in terms of Cumbria itself, because the council have merely asked Fujitsu and BT to return with improved offers. But many people would certainly agree that the Broadband Deliver UK (BDUK) process has flaws and would perhaps benefit from being more open to smaller operators.

The next question concerns whether or not both operators will actually return to the table. Cumbria is naturally a highly rural and thus very challenging environment to work in, although BT has already said that they will “continue to work with the authority” to secure the “highly contested” tender. By contrast Cumbria could be the final nail in the coffin for Fujitsu’s long held, yet often criticised, plans for a rural fibre optic (FTTH) broadband network.

Fujitsu, having once envisaged an Open Access Wholesale Network that could reach 5 million UK premises in rural areas by 2016, has since seen its interest diminish to bidding for Suffolk, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and possibly a few others. The firm’s untested plan relies upon a huge amount of public money and affordable access to BT’s national cable ducts, which is a tough ask. So far Fujitsu has not been able to make this work anywhere outside of an isolated trial.

Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    After the Rutland bid was won by BT, I wondered how long it would be before we saw a council that wasn’t so easily duped into a cabinet based option and where all the offers on the table were refused because they were all inadequate for the purpose (90% to get superfast broadband).

    I’m not sure why rurals would be a problem for a FTTC service any more than urbans – indeed I’d have thought there would be fewer cabinets to do. Performance might be pants – indeed here FTTC would supply, to 240 homes, anywhere between about 1.6Mbps and 76Mbps downstream depending on which house. But, FTTC isn’t about performance, it’s about BT implementing the cheapest possible option with our money, whether suitable or not; one which won’t work in the longer term let alone now.

    Once we finish handing an old phone company lots of money to speed things up a bit for some, and drag itself kicking and screaming into this century, perhaps we could then begin seriously looking at a superfast broadband programme along the lines that INCA suggest.

    This whole superfast broadband project is little more than watching a variety of different vested interests pushing the same piece of string in different directions with the council in the middle trying to make sense of them.

    The councils will need far more imagination – to get the magic “90% can get” in any given area will require a lot of detailed infrastructural work, not just handing over some cash via a tender.

  2. Avatar Deduction says:

    Yep well done to Cumbria for not caving and just handing money out at the first offer from BT or Fuji.

  3. Avatar wirelesspacman says:

    I guess the risk for Cumbria is that Fujitsu might get fed up and walk away, as it seems it has done in most other areas. That would leave only BT on the table who would probably then adopt much more of a “take it or leave it” approach.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Or both walk and leave them with nothing?

      Although BT have commented that they want to carry on Fuji have not so.. you might be right wirelessspacman, which would put BT in a stronger position, oh dear

    2. Avatar Deduction says:

      LOL let them both walk i say, this is what the second area in as many weeks that has basically said no to BT (the other being an area in London which didnt want their ugly cabinets).

      The more local authorities that say no to their poor offerings the better, will completely highlight the mockery which is funding for next gen products in this country and if more carry on saying no also make a mockery of BTs and the governments percent figures for whowill get what speed by 2015.

      I wonder what BT and the government will do then when they dont reach their own targets let alone EU imposed ones.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      The london area wasn’t BDUK funded totally different issue, why is it a poor offering have you seen the bid?

    4. Avatar Deduction says:

      Which bid are you referring to? This one or London where they outright refused cabinets. Either way seems both areas as i said told them to F^&K right off.

    5. Avatar Cumbrian says:

      My county council should say NO to BT. After fujitsu has now pulled out,they must NOT allow themseleves to be bullied into a take it or leave it stance from them. This county needs and deserves a 21st century fibre optic broadband network it can be proud of.

  4. Avatar Deduction says:

    No im sure its a wonderful offering and because it so good thats why they told both companies to F&*K right off. Dunno how i didnt realise that (sarcasm off) LOL

  5. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Yeah, everyone piss off and give me back my dial up!

  6. Avatar Deduction says:

    20 years down the line what they probably proposed would be the modern equivalent of dial up 😉

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £19.95 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPER20
  • SSE £22.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*35.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £60 Reward Card
  • Onestream £22.99 (*34.99)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2745)
  2. FTTP (2679)
  3. FTTC (1769)
  4. Building Digital UK (1724)
  5. Politics (1634)
  6. Openreach (1598)
  7. Business (1405)
  8. FTTH (1330)
  9. Statistics (1226)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1198)
  11. Fibre Optic (1049)
  12. 4G (1029)
  13. Wireless Internet (1012)
  14. Ofcom Regulation (1005)
  15. Virgin Media (993)
  16. EE (680)
  17. Sky Broadband (663)
  18. TalkTalk (654)
  19. Vodafone (651)
  20. 5G (491)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact