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Fujitsu ditches broadband bid for Cumbria

Fujitsu has withdrawn its bid to provide broadband infrastructure to Cumbria under the BDUK scheme, leaving BT as the sole supplier in the region
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Fujitsu has withdrawn its bid to provide broadband infrastructure and win funding from two more regions under the Broadband Delivery UK scheme, leaving BT as the sole remaining bidder in several areas.

A spokeswoman for Fujitsu confirmed that the company had withdrawn from bidding for the Cumbrian region, and would be withdrawing from North Yorkshire, as it is expected to choose BT as its preferred supplier.

Duncan Tait, chief executive of Fujitsu in the UK and Ireland, said the company had decided to withdraw from Cumbria as it anticipated it being a struggle to attract resellers for the services it would provide.

"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. We continue to monitor the market place and see where we can get this to make sense," Tait said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company would not say how many regions it initially entered tenders for or how many were left outstanding but did not rule out future bids.

"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," Tait added.

A BT spokesman confirmed to ZDNet that there are now three regions for which BT is the sole remaining bidder: Highlands and Islands, Cumbria and Wales. However, he added that the company was not obliged to accept the deal if it didn't make commercial sense for the company.

The Rutland and Lancashire regions have already selected BT as the infrastructure provider.

Fujitsu's decision to pull out of the Cumbrian region underlines concerns expressed by the European Commission's competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, over the allocation of BDUK funding under 'state aid' rules, as BT is the sole bidder in a number of regions.

A House of Lords Select Committee hearing in June also called into question whether BT had an unfair competitive advantage in the BDUK process as it is the incumbent telecoms infrastructure owner in the UK.

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