While the precise funding mechanism for BDUK arose from the current Government, it was the previous Labour Government that set the ball rolling, and a degree of cross party support for improved broadband helped the agenda get going. The local authority projects in Norfolk and Suffolk are now edging closer to picking a telecommunications partner from the remaining two that are in the race.
The news though is not really that Norfolk and Suffolk will see tenders submitted by the end of August and a contract awarded in the Autumn, but that it appears only BT and Fujitsu have been selected as part of the 'national framework' by the BDUK/Department for Culture Media and Sport. Alas the news has to come third hand via a regional newspaper, as the BDUK website is showing May 2012 as its latest news, drilling down to the Google Maps reveals more recent updates.
The question really is whether Fujitsu is going to submit tenders for most local authority projects, or will BT be left as the only horse in the race. This is as much an indictment of the BDUK process, as the state of investment in UK infrastructure by private investors. The UK has probably the most vibrant retail broadband market in the world, but scratching the surface reveals the pretty shop front is a veneer, with investors looking only to exploit existing assets, rather than investing in the long term future.