Fujitsu bows out of BDUK superfast broadband race

Broadband plugs

The Government's Broadband Delivery UK scheme has become a one-horse race, after Fujitsu confirmed that it has bowed out of the bidding for any future contracts.

BDUK was set up to bankroll the deployment of superfast broadband to a third of the UK using 530 million of the Government's money.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the company said it remains supportive of the BDUK scheme, but would not be "actively pursuing" any further opportunities within it.

"Various conditions surrounding the process, which we have discussed with the Government effectively rule Fujitsu out of the competition for new areas," the company said.

The company's decision to withdraw leaves BT, who has secured the bulk of the BDUK contracts to date, as the last remaining bidder.

In response to a request for comment about Fujitsu's BDUK exit, a spokesperson for BT said: "If other companies have withdrawn from the process it is because they are unwilling to invest the large sums that are required without being guaranteed a short term return.

"That is despite several of them pledging to make such an investment. In contrast, BT has stood by its promises saying it will invest up to a billion pounds via the process but accepting that the payback period will be more than ten years."

Earlier today, the telco announced that it had clinched two further broadband deployment deals with Kent and Northamptonshire county councils through BDUK.

BT has agreed to stump up 8.1 million to fund the rollout of superfast broadband to 53,000 homes and businesses in Northamptonshire, while BDUK and the council will each contribute a further 4.08 million.

Meanwhile, Kent County Council has enlisted BT's help in providing at least 95 per cent of the properties in the region with high-speed fibre broadband services by the end of 2015.

The company will invest 19.6 million in this project, while central government and the local council have agreed to cough up 9.87 million and 10 million, respectively.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.