Is Fujitsu locked out of BDUK broadband rollout?
By Stewart Mitchell
Posted on 14 Sep 2012 at 10:27
Fujitsu's role in the UK's broadband rollout is increasingly tenuous after the government said it would come under special scutiny over any future BDUK contracts.
Fujitsu and BT are the only two companies in the running for £530 million of government funding for regional broadband projects. However, Fujitsu has reportedly been blacklisted from government IT contracts.
The blacklisting, part of a move to toughen up on "high risk" companies winning public contracts, means the company would face additional scrutiny over any bids for the regional contracts under the BDUK scheme.
"The suppliers appointed to the BDUK framework are Fujitsu and BT," BDUK said in a statement sent to PC Pro. "Frameworks are within the scope of HMG's supplier performance policy, and any supplier identified as high risk will be scrutinised particularly carefully before the award of further work."
Any supplier identified as high risk will be scrutinised particularly carefully before the award of further work
Although the government won't confirm the names of companies on the "high risk" list, Fujitsu is believed to be included because of its failings in the £900 million patient records programme.
The hard line puts Fujitsu in a difficult situation as it is already struggling to compete with BT, which has so far won all the contracts awarded as part of the government's plans to bring 90% of the population up to superfast broadband speeds of more than 24Mbits/sec.
Yesterday, Cumbria and Norfolk both announced BT had won contracts in those regions, although Fujitsu had previous withdrawn from Cumbria, sparking concerns that BT could get an easy ride in negotiations.
Fujitsu announced plans for a £2bn investment in broadband infrastructure last year, but 12 months on and details remain vague. The company has repeatedly pulled out of rural projects where it can't see a business case.
When we contacted Fujitsu earlier in the week regarding the initial blacklisting it said it did not comment on its government contracts, and it has also declined to comment on the latest setback from BDUK.
The situation leaves the UK's broadband policy increasingly likely to worry EU regulators that are currently sifting through state aid documents for an umbrella approval of the UK's projects.
The approval – required to address EU rules on state subsidies - still needs signing off, and regulators in Europe were already nervous about a bidding process with only two players.
If Fujitsu is locked out of the process, then the government is effectively giving BT a £530 million cheque to extend the network, which is unlikely to be welcomed in Brussels.
Is Fujitsu locked out of BDUK broadband rollout? Read more: Is Fujitsu locked out of BDUK broadband rollout? | News | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/376996/is-fujitsu-locked-out-of-bduk-broadband
looks like another tax payer funded monopoly
By invalidscreenname on 17 Sep 2012
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