Cumbria broadband project ‘on course despite firm quitting’
Last updated at 11:45, Friday, 13 July 2012
Cumbria County Council says plans for superfast broadband remain on track, despite the withdrawal of one of two companies bidding to deliver the £40 million project.
Fujitsu announced this week that it was pulling out of the tender process leaving only BT in the running.
In a letter to the council, it said that issues around EU approval of state aid for the project had influenced the decision. It has also withdrawn from another broadband tender in North Yorkshire.
The letter from Bill Mackenzie, Fujitsu’s managing director – telecoms, also says there are too few potential customers in Cumbria to attract commercial broadband providers such as Virgin Media.
It adds: “To save both the council and Fujitsu time, and to remove uncertainties from your tender process and outcome, we have made the decision to withdraw.”
The Government is funding superfast broadband in Cumbria but the county council is overseeing the project.
Councillor Liz Mallinson, the cabinet member responsible, told a meeting yesterday: “The decision is disappointing, particularly as only last week Fujitsu confirmed to our officers that it would be entering into formal negotiations with us.”
Fujitsu’s withdrawal prompted Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron to call for the Government to step in.
He believes the project may collapse if the council remains in charge.
But council leader Eddie Martin pledged that the authority would strive hard to deliver the scheme.
He said: “We understand the impatience of some people but we are doing all we can. We are as anxious as everyone else to get rural broadband rolled out as soon as possible.”
The cabinet will decide in September whether to proceed with BT as a partner.
BT says it will sign a deal only if it “makes sense to both sides”.
The council had been due to choose between BT and Fujitsu last month. However, councillors rejected both tenders because, they said, neither would realise their ambition of providing broadband speeds of 25mbps to 90 per cent of Cumbrian homes by 2015. Both firms were asked to return with new proposals.
First published at 11:24, Friday, 13 July 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
This among other Government BDUK projects is turning into a very slow but sure farce. BDUK have spent millions on administration and so will Local Authorities.The UK Government have not lost their grip on superfast broadband because they have never had one in the first place. But nonetheless support wasted millions on paper shuffling when networks could be delivered. Another survey anyone?
By all means, Marriman put your link up as to other city councils successfully negotiating with Sustransand all means, Bob and anon if you have any evidence to support your assertion that Sustrans ' got scared' as the reason that Â£1m was pulled from the city last year, lets hear about it. Sustrans was reported in this paper as saying in fairly clear terms that delays on the part of our council was the reason.I do not know who was to blame for the debacle but the explanations coming from Ray Bloxham were fairly feeble and it was all extremely disappointing.I look at Preston with great traffic free cycle routes along the river. I look at Lancaster with a fanatastic cycle path between Caton and Morecambe as well as a brand new cycle link connecting the River Lune Cycle path with the Lancaster Canal path.I look at Carlisle unable to maintain even the few cycle paths that it has or for that matter the Waverley BridgeCarlisle continues to be an embarrassment in terms of off road cycle or even pedestrian access. The Currock Bridge is a case in point. How can this city build a new bypass with no provision to access on the river footpath without climbing over several barbed wire fences.Anyway enough ranting - was not this article about broadband provision? Sadly we cannot get that right either.
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