Threat to broadband plan as companies pull plug

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The Independent Online

The Government's plans to spark a competitive bidding process to bring superfast broadband to regions around the UK has been dealt a blow after two groups walked away.

Geo yesterday said it had "made the reluctant decision to withdraw" from the process run by Broadband Delivery UK – the delivery vehicle for the Government's broadband policies – in North Wales and will not compete for future contracts. It is understood Cable & Wireless Worldwide has also withdrawn.

Chris Smedley, the chief executive of Geo, said the current model favoured BT as the dominant network owner in the regions. He said there was also uncertainty over the price of using BT's ducts and poles. Yesterday BT announced Fujitsu was the first provider to trial a network on its ducts and poles.

BT said: "Geo's departure is disappointing but hardly a surprise given fibre deployment requires a high degree of commitment and expertise. It is ironic they are trying to blame BT, Ofcom and BDUK for their withdrawal at the same time that the major players are making such good progress."

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