Fujitsu quits Welsh super-fast broadband tender
Fujitsu has become the latest telecoms firm to pull out of the tender process for the delivery of super-fast broadband in Wales, leaving BT as the sole remaining bidder.
The global ICT-based solutions company revealed it has withdrawn from the running to land a share of government body Broadband Delivery UK's (BDUK's) £530 million funding package to subsidise the rollout of faster internet connectivity across Britain.
According to PC Pro, Fujitsu felt it was left with no option but to quit the government framework on the grounds that risk levels within the contracts were too high.
"Fujitsu has voluntarily withdrawn from the Next Generation Broadband Wales tender," the company explained in a statement.
Despite this, Fujitsu insisted it "remains focused on next-generation broadband projects in other regions where the terms are more agreeable".
The Tokyo-based tech giant announced last April that it is planning to collaborate with Cisco, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to deploy fibre optic broadband to five million homes across rural Britain. However, it said this plan was dependent on Ofcom forcing BT to allow rival firms access to its network of underground ducts and telegraph poles on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms".
Fujitsu's decision to withdraw from the Welsh tender means BT is now going it alone, aping the situation in Scotland's Highlands and Islands region.
Geo Networks, the company behind the FibreSpeed super-fast broadband project in north Wales, was also in the running for the framework, but chose to pull out last November after arguing that the funding model used by BDUK and local authorities favours BT at the expense of other bidders.
Chris Smedley, Geo's chief executive, also hit out at the potential risks associated with lack of take-up and the absence of guarantees on public sector revenues.
The "uncertainty" surrounding the price of accessing BT's duct and pole infrastructure, and the "heavy restrictions" placed on its usage, led Mr Smedley to declare: "This market is not contestable."