BT Dominate Superfast Broadband Project
BT are continuing their domination of the government’s superfast broadband project, with the acquisition of Cumbria. It is also expected that BT will soon gain approval for the deployment of their services in Norfolk as well. Thus just under four months on from Shadow Business Minister, Chi Onwurah’s warning that the government’s superfast broadband project was effectively carving out a monopoly for BT. This article will analyse the whether such claims have since been fulfilled.
A Risk of Monopolisation
In May 2012, Chi Onwurah made a stern warning against BT and the government’s Broadband Development UK (BDUK) project. “BT must be made to understand that if super-fast broadband is a monopoly, they will not be allowed to enjoy it,” were her words in an address to the House of Lords. This was on the back of BT and Japanese company Fujitsu being the only two network providers competing for a list of 35 contracts each formed by councils that have signed up to the framework agreement of the BDUK team.
Since then however to further the realization of a monopolization taking place, Fujitsu have pulled out from the whole bidding process, leaving BT as the sole competitors. Therefore, the BDUK project has subsequently turned into the ‘BTBDUK’ project with every contract practically being BT’s from the offset.
Furthermore, BT have since of course won a host of further contracts, including a £425m broadband rollout deal in Wales.
The Risk Becomes The Reality
The risk has become the reality, BT have indeed gained a monopoly over the government’s broadband UK program. This is rather embarrassingly so for the government, considering the claims put forth by Chi Onwurah just a few months ago.
With the BDUK program having such a widespread dominance over the delivery of broadband throughout the country, BT have therefore gained somewhat of a monopoly over broadband in rural areas of Great Britain. The question is whether this is enough to suggest that a monopoly has taken place over broadband in Britain as a whole. The answer is in BT’s £425m deal for a broadband rollout in Wales!