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NextGenUs to challenge Cumbria Council if BT wins tender
Tuesday 21 February 2012 18:42:48 by Andrew Ferguson

Threats are appearing from NextGenUs that if BT wins the BDUK project money in Cumbria that it will challenge the awarding of the tender to BT.

NextGenUs suggests that the market is delivering a superfast service in Cumbria or has firm plans to do so. Certainly NextGenUs would appear to be planning a roll-out into Lune Valley of its 10 Mbps to 60 Mbps service. Whether the Community Interest Company would be able to scale its service to cover the whole of Cumbria within the timeframe of finishing by May 2015 is a good question. There has been a few years advance warning that these tenders were going to take place, so that competitors could get alternative services up and running.

Perhaps a better approach, would be for the various fixed wireless providers to try and co-operate with BT, Fujitsu and other larger bidders to provide their service in the areas where it makes the most sense.

What is interesting in the ISPreview article, is that it would appear that if for example, C&W or Fujtisu won the contract there would be no challenge. If Fujitsu were to win, and fullfill there promise of Fibre to the Home, the business model for NextGenUs will be even weaker than if BT were to win.

It will be interesting to see if a legal challenge does ensue, if it does it has the potential to cost the council a lot of money, and undermine other BDUK projects, and while there is a lot of sentiment that BT is an evil massive conglomerate almost any company of that size and providing a national service would draw similar complaints.

Any chance for a single national interest local loop company apart from the current Openreach was lost with the creation of the BT Group in 1984, the cable companies operated as regional franchises which slowly fused into Virgin Media, and ran up large debts resulting in an alternate loop for half the UK (Virgin Media talks of an investment of £15 billion in its network). The question really is how long should UK PLC have waited for government intervention, many commentators say the current intervention is already too little too late.


Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
If NextGenUs are concerned that the funding will just go to BT then maybe they should not invest money in building a network in Cumbria?
Posted by omnius over 5 years ago
Theres plenty of places where BT most likey wont touch here in cumbria, theres only penrith and carlisle mentioned by BT so far.

Cumbria is a big place with plenty of other area's for them to work with or do they just want the "easy" big area's themselves and sod the rest of cumbria????
Posted by FibreGuy over 5 years ago
The real problem is with the process not with the bidders and NGU welcomes any investment that BT or others are prepared to make to deliver better broadband to the rural UK.

NGU like Kijoma and other smaller innovators for superfast broadband is banned by BDUK rules from bidding for these funds, due to a pre qualification requirement of having a £20M minimum turnover for the last two financial years.

The reality is that superfast broadband delivery is demand-driven and the Welsh Broadband Voucher approach is the proven level playing field alternative.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Though it does strike me as a little odd that one firm offering service in Wales charges £995 for setup.

Not just BDUK, EU tenders often include similar protections, so that money does not go to startups that will collapse, or are just vehicles to get money and run off into the sunset.

NOTE: No implication that NGU or Kijoma are like that, but because of a few cowboys, these rules end up existing.

Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
@FibreGuy someone must have come up with the 20m figure though, I presume to ensure they will be around for years and not be going bust anytime soon, seems wise enough to me.
Posted by FibreGuy over 5 years ago

NGU holds network infrastructure under CIC Asset Lock precisely to provide assurance to local communities.

The point is that BDUK, whether by intention or incompetence, has held back broadband delivery in the UK by seeking to award the proverbial medals at the start of the race online!

The Welsh Government has chosen through the mechanism of Broadband Vouchers to reward investment & delivery.

The latter approach is also proven to work with minimal admin at Parish Council level in England also and does not require a coterie of consultants and hangers-on!
Posted by djay over 5 years ago
Well i can virtually gurantee this will go to British Telecon. And as well penrith and Carlisle for fttc they are also doing a little town called Wigton. Why on earth they miss the surrounding towns around carlisle is beyond me.
Im sat here with adsl max on non 21cn exchange just outside carlisle.
The good area's i.e the city will be cherry picked as with small world cable and the outskirts left to rot as with anything else.
As for cumbria county council lol back hander city i belive. Hence bt had the nod ages ago but they just dont have the backbone to admit there choice yet.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
The RIBS scheme will be replaced by the BDUK process, hence its recent extension. Some councils are funding through non-BDUK sources fixed wireless systems.

So perhaps the question is why is Cumbria not supporting NGU in this way?

On the BT backhanders, there is hardly a county in the UK, without a few city/towns and some FTTC. That is part of their 2/3rd's roll-out.

Perhaps BT should not have been allowed to deploy fibre and a new body created, but at what cost?
Posted by TopTV over 5 years ago
I hear so much about Nextgenus (NGU) and their asset locked networks and their assurance but I never see any proof of this published.
perhaps this is why Cumbria Council are keeping a distance.
Posted by omnius over 5 years ago

Didnt know about wigton, thanks :) as for smallworld i spoke to one of there main guys and asked about them useing the ducts now that the prices have been set, the answer.... will cost to much, so it looks like the current footprint is it. my mum has it up at sansfield park and i know a few people in kingstown but the overall presence in carlisle i think is quite low. mind u i dont mind being told im wrong on that point, just more ammo for my letter to the CEO once i find his contact info ;)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@omnius smallworld still going? Not heard a peep from them for ages
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
@andrew: Yes, they are still going. They are just serving existing customers and pushing for more customers in their cabled areas rather than expanding, though, which is a shame as they have loads of duct in Carlisle especially unused. Virgin Media buying them would be a nice outcome as they would likely increase coverage to a larger amount of the city.
Posted by davlat over 5 years ago
Who cares about Carlisle and the rest of the North Cumbria? Down in the South, Barrow as the largest town in the county or Furness as a whole with a similar population to Carlisle are being virtually ignored by everyone. Askam in Furness has the third slowest connection in the country and Barrow is the home of more industry by far than anywhere else in Cumbria.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
"The median household income in Barrow-in-Furness is £22835, the lowest in the county." - may be a factor in private sector investments.

@TopTV An asset locked network may prevent its sale (does this help anyway ?) but doesn't ensure continuity of service.
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