The announcement that just two potential bidders remained for BDUK projects and they had both been rubber stamped by the BDUK has not helped peoples perception of the whole BDUK process. This perception looks set to take a further dent, if news today in the Financial Times is correct, and that is that Fujitsu with its ambitious FTTP project is to withdraw from Cumbria, and with North Yorkshire expected to choose BT as the preferred option they will withdraw there too.
Cumbria County Council only recently rejected both bids from BT and Fujitsu saying they had to come up with a better plan, and it seems the result of this is they are now left with just BT bidding. This situation moves the power back to the sole remaining bidder, where they can present their previous plan now, and say its that plan or you have no project.
An indication of the problems over the size of investment required by the potential bidders is revealed when BT suggests that where it is part of a BDUK project, these solutions will only turn profitable after 12 years.
This situation where BT appears to be the only telecom's company willing to invest in new networks is a product of almost 30 years of regulation. The cable franchises was an attempt to create a national network to compete, but with billions of debt still hanging over Virgin Media they have reached around 48% of UK households, and expanding at just 100,000 properties per year. The UK does have fibre alt-nets appearing, though actual physical connections and sightings of actual users can be rare, and none of them have delivered anything approaching the size of deployment required for BDUK projects.