Fujitsu withdraws from Cumbrian broadband race with BT

Broadband speed

Fujitsu has dropped plans to build a rural broadband network in Cumbria, leaving incumbent BT as the sole bidder.

The decision comes after Cumbria County Council rejected bids from both BT and Fujitsu because their plans did not fully satisfy the area's internet requirements.

The Japanese technology giant said it would have required a market of around a million customers for it to break even on the deal.

"We withdrew from Cumbria because we cannot currently see a clear path towards a mass market that is required to attract leading retail service providers," said Fujitsu chief executive, Duncan Tait, in a statement to the Financial Times.

He also revealed the firm has not ruled out bidding for other broadband contracts throughout the UK.

"We continue to monitor the market place and see where we can get this to make sense. We will look at each on its own merits and see if there is a way to make it work and get to the scale we need for our anchor tenants," he added.

Communications minister, Ed Vaizey, recently confirmed the bid to build rural broadband was a two-horse race between BT and Fujitsu.

Fujitsu has bid for two regional tenders, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. It is thought BT will now win both deals.

Fujitsu initially planned to build a 1Gbps fibre optic to the home (FTTH) broadband network that could have reached five million UK homes and businesses in rural areas by 2016.

To accomplish this, the firm would have needed almost the entire Broadband Delivery UK budget of 530 million.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.