BT in £52m contract tussle: West Country bumpkins hit with broadband delay
Somerset and Devon still trying to agree terms with telco
A £52m government-subsidised superfast broadband project in rural parts of Somerset and Devon that was won by national telco BT has been delayed over "contract issues".
"Significant" problems have arisen between the Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme and the telecoms giant that are yet to be resolved by either party.
In October 2012, CDS confirmed that BT was the preferred bidder for the provision of superfast broadband across Somerset and Devon. But since then finalising the finer details of that contract has proved to be something of a sticking point.
A BT spokesman told El Reg:
We had hoped to make an announcement, but a few outstanding matters still need to be resolved.
Whilst the contract is being finalised we are unable to give details due to commercial confidentiality. An agreement is expected shortly.
Similarly a spokeswoman at CDS, whose website hasn't been updated since late last year, said she couldn't tell us specifics as the councils were still in procurement.
The contract was originally expected to be inked on 21 January. Somerset County Council deputy leader David Hall said:
Connecting Devon and Somerset, together with the preferred bidder, BT, decided to postpone the contract signing until agreement could be reached on some outstanding issues.
Until the contract is finalised, we remain in active procurement and are unable to give further details due to commercial confidentiality. Both parties are working to resolve these elements and an agreement is expected to be reached shortly.
In December 2012, the fixed-line provider landed government funds from the Broadband Delivery UK pot to lay fibre for a £56.6m joint local authority project between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and immediately admitted that the work wouldn't be completed until 2016 - a whole year behind Whitehall's 2015 "challenging target". ®
Better than being a loudmouthed Cockney geezer or some other equally derogatory stereotype I suppose...
"a few outstanding matters still need to be resolved."
Trans: Our extra fees and the amount the councils will pay us on top of the original quotes if we're late and how much we get to soak the end-users and how many exchanges we plan to write-off as insufficient demand have not yet been approved.
BT's business as usual.
BT and SERCO - the dream team!
Not only has BT snaffled £52 million for Devon and Somerset, but SERCO have another £12 million for 'demand stimulation' and infrastructure support in Devon, Somerset, Glos and Wilts - all to be spent by March 2015, just as the first holes are being dug. Try to find the tender SERCO won - you won't...