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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian MP calls on Government to rescue superfast broadband project

An MP is calling on the Government to rescue plans to bring superfast broadband to Cumbria.

Tim Farron  photo
Tim Farron

The News & Star reported yesterday that Fujitsu – one of two companies in talks with the county council to deliver the £40 million project – had withdrawn leaving only BT in the running.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron fears the scheme could founder unless ministers take it over.

He said: “This is another blow for the broadband project and sadly a self-inflicted blow by the council.

“This process has been going on for 18 months and it’s appalling that we’ve not been able to move any further.

“Securing the modern infrastructure our county needs should be one of the council’s top priorities.”

The Japanese company has also pulled out of a superfast broadband project in North Yorkshire.

Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s chief executive, told the Financial Times: “We withdrew because we cannot see a clear path towards a mass market that is required to attract leading retail service providers.”

Fujitsu is understood to want coverage of at least one million premises to create sufficient economies of scale to attract consumer-broadband companies such as Virgin Media.

The Government is funding superfast broadband in Cumbria but the county council is overseeing the project.

The authority strongly disputes Mr Farron’s claim that it is to blame for Fujitsu’s withdrawal.

Councillor Liz Mallinson, the cabinet member responsible, said: “Although the news is disappointing for us we completely understand Fujitsu’s reasons, particularly as these are national rather than specific to Cumbria.”

BT remains in discussions but says it will sign a deal only if it “makes sense to both sides”.

The council’s cabinet is expected to decide on how to proceed in September.

It had been due to choose between BT and Fujitsu last month.

But councillors rejected both tenders because, they said, neither would realise their ambition to provide broadband speeds of 25Mbps to 90 per cent of Cumbrian homes by 2015.

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?

Posted by Tavistock Superfast Broadband on 14 July 2012 at 11:02

By all means, Marriman put your link up as to other city councils successfully negotiating with Sustrans

and all means, Bob and anon if you have any evidence to support your assertion that Sustrans ' got scared' as the reason that £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 Bridge

Carlisle 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.

Posted by An angry city resident on 12 July 2012 at 17:35

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