Residents in Cumbria have long complained about their broadband coverage being one of the weakest in the UK, and now the county's push for a faster fibre network faces delay after its council rejected bids from BT and Fujitsu.
Both telcos have been granted more time to come back to the council with better offers. The authority is seeking broadband speeds of 25Mbit/s for 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Cumbria by 2015.
The government handed funding to the council for the project nearly two-and-a-half years ago.
In a statement to local newspaper North West Evening Mail, Cumbria Country Council said it won't make a final decision about procurement for a superfast fibre network until September this year.
It added that the local authority's cabinet had "received detailed submissions from the final two potential suppliers (Fujitsu and BT) and despite a lot of progress being made neither of the final tenders had completely fulfilled the original, and full, requirements of the procurement process."
The council warned that BT and Fujitsu both needed to go through "an intense process of formal negotiation" to bag the contract, which is worth around £40m once you factor in private investment to match £17m in funds from the government's £530m Broadband Delivery UK pot.
BT told The Register that it would "continue to work with the authority to try to secure what is a highly contested tender."
"This is an unexpected outcome," a Fujitsu spokesperson told the Reg. ®