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Fujitsu withdraws from the Cumbria BDUK tender process
Wednesday 11 July 2012 09:43:22 by Andrew Ferguson

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.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 5 years ago
There only ever was one bidder. The incumbent has it all stitched up with its vital vision. Most councils don't have the expertise to see through it. Cumbria was our last hope. So BT once again get all the public money and can patch up their old phone network to bring slightly faster speeds to those who already have connectivity. And the rurals get cake. Bring on the altnets. JFDI people.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
So have Cumbria withdrawn from BDUK (as per the title) or Fujitsu
Posted by mabibby over 5 years ago
As a country we should only be pushing one approach anyway. Who really thinks that multiple fragmented domestic internet architectures is the way forward? BT have a plan (not ground breaking I agree) but it's a solid progressive plan that is proven to work. Why are we not spending the extra money accelerating that plan? All we seem to want to see is other companies re-invent the wheel, as a part of some vendetta against BT, because they inherited the copper network.

And no before anyone asks... I'm not on FTTC/FTTP. I'm on ADSL2 with 3mb on a long line.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Chris surely its not BT's fault Fujitsu have pulled out, if they had a credible plan they would have won and still be in the running?

What have Fujitsu actually done so far? They've blown trumpets about an Open Network for all (and done nothing). They've done a PIA trial (and done nothing with it after) they've made several bids for BDUK cash (and now pulled out altogether)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@Cyberdoyle Hate to point this out, but Fujitsu plans generally were 80% FTTP and the rest using fixed wireless or other solution.

A great solution if you were lucky to get the FTTP, but at no point have they promised 100% or even 98% FTTP.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Apologies to all for the mess up on the title.

Have fixed it now.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
And while it sounds like a great solution (Fujitsu's) it must of course have been much more expensive to do, its not rocket science to work that out.
Posted by Yorkie71 over 5 years ago
This news is a shame but not surprising. It would have been interesting to see what solution Fujitsu would have proposed for Cumbria to at least compare with BT. I wonder where this leaves the BDUK process now with effectively one supplier and no competition. Is there any need to innovate now?
Posted by gsituffers1 over 5 years ago
think most people have overlooked the obvious - allow funding to be given to virginmedia to cable up the other 50% ish of the uk and then split it into vm retail and a fibre wholesale umbrella company - most people have missed that it works -its viable competitor to sky tv already gives the wide-est faster options already ,and lastly is tried and tested and covers 40-55% of major cities /locations already
Posted by rjavery over 5 years ago
@gsituffers there is no way we could afford to pay someone to lay a new parallel Fibre network. Virgin may have 50% ish of the population (I have no idea) BUT they cover a tiny percentage in geographic terms.

No-one is preventing another company from laying their own networks. All we get is bleating about we must subsidise BT competitors or open the Openreach network up to competition.

No I don't have fibre, just about 1mbit close to the city of ST Albans having been on satellite for a few years.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago

VM backed the Fujitsu bids, which was their input into the process. VM is DOCSIS 3.0 and scaling that to the rural areas may be more expensive than a true fibre service.

VM already owes a few billion from its previous rollout
Posted by fibrebunny over 5 years ago
Every time I see the name Fujitsu its in an article about their bowing out. They seem to excel at retreating and possibly grandiose announcements. Sadly not so much at the actual doing.
Posted by desouzr over 5 years ago
North Yorkshire are due to officially announce who they've awarded the BDUK contract to next week, although given the contents of the FT article it appears there is little doubt. Coincidently my rural Market 1 exchange has just been upgraded to 21CN which is a fantastic stepping stone until the BDUK project delivers NGA to North Yorkshire.
Posted by gsituffers1 over 5 years ago
to all - the point i was trying to make is bt is deploying fibre to the cab whic is basically same as vm docsis3 - so vm already pass24 million homes alreay which is approx 50%of uk - so instead of bt laying another 60-70%and covering areas vm already cover so the logical option would have been to add to vm and split it into bt wholesale and bt retail but from vm instead so getting more fibre done quicker and cheaper as the way it is being done now is 2 compeating networks not 1 wholy covering all of the uk
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Unless Virgin Media were forced to offer wholesale access on its existing footprint, I cannot see that being a popular option with the SME and consumer arena.

BT is spending its own money where Virgin already is, and believes it can compete, and the existing ADSL2+ which has competed with Virgin 50 Meg for three years suggests room for competition.

DOCSIS 3.0 is going to struggle to match the 330 Mbps fibre products.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

If one provided funds for VM yo rollout s DOCSIS 3 network to 99%of the UK, you would hsve yo give equivalent funds to BT openreach to upgrsde their network to an equivalent level. So that tgere would be two equivalent competing networks otherwise yoy create a completely unbalanced market.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
No DOCSIS 3 is not the same at all I'm afraid. It still has a future but not as much as much as FTTP.

Over the next few years Virgin are going to have a real struggle on competing with BT/Sky/TT FTTC products not helped by their seemingly own under invested and over subscribed network in areas
Posted by Michael_Chare over 5 years ago
@mabibby I agree. I have one water supplier, one physical electricity supplier and one physical telephone supplier. Some day I may have one fibre internet provider. I don't see the need for multiple suppliers and I doubt the economics.
Posted by gsituffers1 over 5 years ago
okay so someone with a ful understanding ,lets do this the wrong way round, bt have a full network of svs from fibre backbone to fttc and fttc .so virgin have docsis 3.0 whatever that is -so why is ntl/telewest/virgin riddled with debt,answer because its so expensive to rollout svs in the uk ,que blame govt for lack of backing -what i tried to say earlier was abolish/merge virgin and bt wholesale and create a wholesale platform of fibre to the home just like the national grid ,
Posted by gsituffers1 over 5 years ago
then standardise it so virgin can run their tv over it like they currently already do then all companies have same access same /similar options of facilites. we have a standardised facilities in regards to cabinets /hardware then you have a breeding ground for competition ,similar to mobile companies all have similar products ie mobiles calls texts data etc - ??????
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Um, so change all of the hardware on the BT network... because it isn't compatible with VM's TV delivery... and build a network for the most expensive bit of the country... and where is this magical money coming from? Because, it's far more than £15-20B if you have to recapitalise all the hardware for the BT network just for VMs TV.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Well VM can run their TV over fibre they trialled it on the PIA trial with Fujitsu but that's something for Virgin to sort out.

I agree it makes more sense for one physical infrastructure provider to exist but don't we already have that in most of the country ?

There's no point in giving funding to the VM network if its not wholesale, in fact I'm not even sure they'd be interest in their network, it would be better if Ofcom stipulated they had to implement PIA but even that won't help rural areas
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
@mabibby The internet is made up of a massive patchwork of different networks interconnected for mutual benefit. There's no particular sense in having one physical approach across the country, it's standardised at the TCP/IP or ethernet layer.
Posted by SATSUMAS over 5 years ago
if no one can do it...collapse the the whole damn bduk thing! will all live with ads2+ sevice over copper! job done! just like the good old train service! r.l stevenson stamped on all the trains, rickety lines...and yes they keep breaking down!! choo choo!
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