BT has accused rival broadband network operators of ‘cherry-picking’ easy areas after rival Fujitsu pulled out of a battle to provide rural connections in Cumbria.
Fujitsu’s telecoms arm dropped out of the bidding process in Cumbria this week, claiming it didn’t make economic sense, leaving BT as the only bidder.
Cumbria County Council recently told both BT and Fujitsu to revise their bids because they didn’t meet the council’s specifications under the Broadband Delivery UK process.
A BT spokesperson told Recombu Digital: “The BDUK process has generated substantial interest among local opinion formers and so has been very helpful given the importance of local engagement.
“BT will continue to bid for BDUK funds across the UK unlike others who have seemingly decided to cherry pick by focusing on the areas that are easiest to reach.”
Cumbria County Council’s broadband plan proposes 25Mbps-or-better broadband to 90 per cent of Cumbrian homes by 2015, and at least 2Mbps for the remainder.
The winning company – now almost certain to be BT – stands to win up to £40m in subsidies from Broadband Development UK, matching its own investment.
Some hard-to-reach areas of Cumbria have taken their own steps to get broadband connections far better than 2Mbps, such as satellite broadband at up to 18Mbps.
Fujitsu said it will continue to bid for BDUK funds in areas which will contribute to its target of a million connected homes that it can sell on to ISPs like Virgin Media and TalkTalk.