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Just one player left in the race for BDUK funding
Friday 15 March 2013 14:55:20 by Andrew Ferguson

The Financial Times reported last night that Fujitsu no longer intends to bid for contracts under the BDUK framework. For those not already aware, those local authorities following the BDUK framework were only able to select from two 'approved' providers, BT or Fujitsu.

Well back in 2012 there was signs that the Fujitsu entry was probably not going to go very far, and we had heard that Fujitsu needed a scale of around 1 million properties in four adjoining counties to make winning any BDUK work worthwhile.

Perhaps the only way the BDUK would have really got other parties seriously interested in bidding would have been to have firewalled the requirement to provider a wholesale operation for a period of five or more years. Alas this would probably fell foul of the EU state aid rules, and legal challenges from BT themselves.

Even if Fujitsu which has a wealth of experience in delivering fibre network infrastructure was bidding aggressively, the lack of visible retail offering already using their network would mean many council members would still plump for the more well known name, simply because it was seen as the safe choice. There was the trial run in Greasby, but we have no idea of what has happened to this two years on.

The original Fujitsu plan was to offer a FTTH service to some 5 million households, but later information suggested they were looking at an 80% coverage target, generally connecting the suburban and small towns that the commercial fibre roll-out by Openreach was going to reach. It may be that this lower coverage threshold using wireless and other options to in-fill in the rural areas was always a sticking point in council negotiations.

Thinking outside the box it is possible that with the recent purchase of Virgin Media by Liberty Global, Virgin Media may have re-assessed its involvement in the scheme. A lot depends on what plans Liberty Global has in mind for Virgin Media, which is the great unknown for now.


Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
I suppose there had to be a bid process but.. boy what a waste of taxpayers money
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago
The Greasby trial run was for Physical Infrastructure Access evaluation.

Too many reasons PIA was weighted in BTs favor and essentially prevented competition from anyone.

How many PIA deployments have their been?

Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
How many ISP's have said PIA is pricing is preventing them from rolling out their own fibre? Who is actually interested in it anyway?
Posted by fibrebunny over 4 years ago
Well after their nonsense bids and the fear that one might be accepted, it probably makes sense for them to shut up and bow out. Not that they have been a credible contender for some time.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
There only ever was one bidder. The vital vision course made sure of that years ago.
The tenders made only one company eligible really... and that is why everyone else pulled out.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
Care to elaborate rather than simply relying on vague statements and innuendo for a change?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
@ new_londoner Just read the tenders from the councils. Its not vague, its spelt out clearly. Most demanded £100 million turnover. 3 yrs trade accounts. etc etc. not many companies especially altnets could even consider applying. The vital vision has been pulled, but you can still find it online if you want to.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Given that the sums of money involved in the projects are £30m and more in many cases, would it not be wise for a council to carry out what are fairly standard procurement checks?

What is this vital vision thing?
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Hmmm don't need to be mystic meg to work out what Liberty media plans with VM.

Load it up with debt and squeeze the customer base.

I will be surprised if anything else happens.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Sorry CD, but Fujitsu is bigger than BT...
Posted by ccxo over 4 years ago
Are we likely to see a shortening of the remaining BDUK tenders now that fujitsu is pulling out completely, as their is only Openreach left in the framework?
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago
@ GMAN99
Q. 'How many ISP's have said PIA is pricing is preventing them from rolling out their own fibre?'

A. Pricing is not the main reason it doesn't cost in. Process and Limitation possibly prevent rollout.

Now my question.

How Many ISPs use PIA?

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
There is a limitation, but that's mainly from the perceived lack of control that PIA presents and yes limitation in that BT is allowed to reserve capacity... but then again they are their ducts. It is darn sight cheaper than digging your own, but more expensive than leasing and without the benefits of leasing. But PIA is an regulator offered alternative to building your own infrastructure, it's not a leasing arrangement.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Process and Limitation , I assume your talking about H&S and the fact that it cannot be used for businesses? Both make sense to me

Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
More expensive in respect of what you get, not overall price.
In a lease arrangement the ducts would provided cleared or clearing would be part of the deal. In PIA you get access to ducts but have to pay for clearance. Hence, the relative expense.
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago
The limitation that PIA can't be used for Business lines is a huge one. No Home working, no rural office connections? It's a show stopper on its own.

The process to get from requesting area details to physical deployment... It's BT procedure using BT historical documentation. It's BT supplying a service to a competitor.
It was never going to be dynamic.

Meeting the H&S requirements no issues. All sensible, as are the hardware requirements.

Back to the question from me. How Many ISPs use PIA?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
This PIA not for business - got the exact wording?

My understanding was not for middle mile backhaul, rather than not for providing service to the SME community.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
@FTTH - Where do you get no business lines from? You are wrong!
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
I think he means leased lines...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
I doubt many Home Workers have or would actually need a leased line anyway.
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago

If an Open Access Network was deployed such as what Fujitsu proposed. Which is a point to point fibre that is wholesale to VM / Talk Talk / SKY / BT it touches on a grey area no?

Point to Point Fibre.
Open Access

Would that be allowed to a Business?
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Is that what Fujitsu were putting on the table? AFAIK the bids they did have a go at were a mix of FTTC/P and wireless
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@ftth no grey area, just Fujitsu could not use the PIA for the backhaul from the aggegation point. Or do you think point to point fibre they talked about means a dedicated fibre between business and an Internet exchange point e.g. LINX
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago
It could be that the offer proposed got watered down as time went on. Initially though I am pretty sure it was all Point to Point Wholesale fibre.

Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Arrr that old chestnut, the one that got tongues wagging but never progressed beyond pure fantasy. They wanted the whole of the BDUK pot to deliver that which they knew they'd never get. Doubtful it would have been point to point, probably PON which is most widely used these days. But on the bids they did go for I'm sure it ended up being mostly FTTC, some FTTP and some wireless for hard to reach
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
It really is a shame Fujitsu didn't win at least one bid, if they got it right and created a rival network to BT it could have been the start of something big
Posted by FTTH over 4 years ago
It is a shame.
It could have highlighted the different deployment models and the options out there.

I'm sure virgin would have been happier with an option of the FTEL network in as it would have given an RFoG Path.

A wholesale Fibre network would really be best as Point-2-Point. RF overlay for HD and UHD would be useful.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
point to point is best, but most expensive, most around the world use PON because residential networks are expected to be contended anyway, hence the price compared to direct ethernet
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
The market in Broadband Telecoms has failed. We have outside of the current Cabled areas a BT monopoly with just a few ISP's reselling the BT product.

This is probably the only market where a monopoly has been allowed to continue.

We need a second supply at the wholsale level to compete with BT.
The question I think that remains is what is the best approach to getting competition into the UK broadband market

Posted by Gadget over 4 years ago
How is Sky and Talktalk building their own unbundled exchanges (Talktalk claim something like 92% of UK households) a BT Monopoly for Broadband?
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
Talk and Sky are still reliant on BT's local loop. I said several years ago that FTTC would be the end of LLU and I was right. BT give very little control over the cabinet DSLAMs to anyone else.

FTTC is in effect a monopoly. Personally I don't see that as a huge disaster. I'm not convinced any other company could build a competing loop and BT don't do a bad job.

They just don't do a wonderful job either but I think they do more than enough to satisfy most people.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
National Grid are a monopoly.

The water companies are a monopoly.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
Actually the ISP's and the energy companies have followed almost the same pattern.

Privitisation sees a large amount of competition when then quickly collapses into a few big players.

Says something about how regulation and mergers are handled as well as competition.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
The National Grid is a partial monopoly. It allows access to that grid to any of the energy companpies on a fair and equal basis. The NG is also indeppendent of the energy companies. If it were the BT scenario the NG would be say owned by EON

You cannot have true competion when a key part of the Network is owned by a monopoly player

WE would probably be seeing similar issues with the NG if it were owned by one of the energy companies as it would effectively have control of the market

Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
Openreach offers access on a fair and equal basis? How many ISPs offer FTTC?
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Bob, Ofcom ensures BT do not control the market.

As Somerset says... you can only get a water feed from your regional supplier and only get an electricity and gas physical supply from your regional supplier.
Posted by New_Londoner over 4 years ago
What about Centrica, British Gas?
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
in the UK the bidding process was only going to be an BT win as they have the ducts and own them and they have an phone line going to each house all they have to do is get the fibre to the closest DP box and setup an FTTC cab, FTTH is going to cost £1000-1500 per house if it was going to happen for every one

it takes BT about 3-4 months to allow Virtual LLU providers to use the FTTC cab (sky/talktalk) so users who do not wait end up on an 12 or 18 month contact with BT

all other providers would have to dig up the roads again like VM did and look where that got them
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
I think you'll find that it isn't BT or even OR that takes 3-4 months to "allow" the LLU providers access.

They need a GEA link installing and Sky and TalkTalk need to arrange that themselves it has nothing to do with acces.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Yeah GEA Cablelink is just a fibre cable in the exchange, it will be the backhaul circuit behind that which needs to be provided that will take the longest amount of time.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
At least now, BT's incremental costs of FTTC can be re-evaluated, rather than this Framework model, where BT have had a year to invent sometime entirely suited to their own needs.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
One would hope that at the handover nodes that the GEA products go to that if a LLU provider already has presence it has a backhaul in place.

The LLU providers have the same roll-out up dates as BT Wholesale
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago

A lot depends on what proportion of FTTP a council has negotiated into the contract if any.

The problem for BT is even if they did FTTP to 100% of homes they would stll be doing the wrong thing as far as many were concerned.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Yeah I was just thinking the same andrew, TT and Sky probably have a presence at the majority of exchanges anyway, good point.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
You can understand why any council would think twice about going with anyone other than BT that doesn't have a proven wholesale platform - You only have to look at what a mess Thales made of Digital Region to see what can go wrong.
Posted by ValueforMoney over 4 years ago
@andrew FTTP is now largely a function of FOD, even with FTTP in you extract the connection subsidy.
An addendium to the Framework, itemising the incremental costs and who is paying for what is needed would mean the money goes further.
The inefficiency of Framework Model arises from BT needing to allow for the possibility it would lose to Fujitsu and forced to sell inputs at rates identified in the Framework - hence the need for a BDUK Value for Money team after the contract was signed. Now Maria Miller has the chance to neg VFM up-front not rely on claw back.
Posted by BTfanboy over 4 years ago
Ahh gmann your BT fan boy comments get more bizarre by the minute, face it it's a monopoly.
what was the point of bidding? BT had it sewn up so that no one else would be able to compete, and they install a half baked fibre to the crap
network that will need updating in 10 years
BTUK should have been the name.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
A lot can change in 10 years.

ADSL Broadband at a whopping 512k fixed line speed was only avaliable in 1999. So far speeds have jumped a huge amount. BT has had to perform at least 4 rounds of upgrades in that time.

So a 10 year life cycle seems pretty good.

As for the FTTP zealots, who say it is FTTP or bust, given that currently the price point is King and that the majority of people don't even seem to want FTTC. How can they justify forcing FTTP on a customer base who doesn't want or need it?
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
Correct, we have an upgrade path via to FTTP via FTTC, people can move from ADSL to FTTC as they wish and then onto FTTP as they wish.

Where is the problem?
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
The problem is that a few people want FTTP right now, they can't get it without paying the proper associated costs of providing it, so they are throwing their toys out of the pram.

I'd like FTTP, but I don't want it so much that I want to pay the FTTPoD prices, but I'm also a realist and know that BTs over-riding duty is to their shareholders - that is a LEGAL obligation.
Posted by Middlefield over 4 years ago
I imagine that, as a truly commercial business, Fujitsu felt frustrated dealing with local government officials who did not know which was is "up". I sympathise when you see the mess made by the Devon & Somerset BDUK officials.
Posted by Somerset over 4 years ago
What have D&S done?
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