Fujitsu has emerged as the unlikely candidate to take on BT in a bid to build a fiber-optic network that aims to deliver broadband speeds starting from 1Gbps to up to five million households in rural regions of the UK.
The Japanese technology giant said that the total cost of the project should be not more than £2 billion, out of which the UK government is expected to provide around £500 million in subsidies.
Another £300 million in grants is expected to be raised from the BBC TV licence fee, meaning that around 40 per cent of the quoted cost would be met by the taxpayer.
Fujitsu's proposal has already received the backing of the Communications minister Ed Vaizey, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, which could well mean that an unholy alliance between the three could be in the offing.
BT said that it welcomed competition but would expect the same amount of money to subsidise its broadband investment. The telecommunication giant has only pledged to provide speeds of 100Mbps by 2015 to 25 per cent of UK households, falling short of Fujitsu's promise.
Mr Vaizey said, "Fujitsu and their industry partners are pledging a substantial investment in the UK and it represents a deep commitment to the future success of this country."
Virgin Media told ITProportal that it didn't have any interest in the broadband wholesale business back in May 2009, but we still maintain that the cable company could challenge BT with a wholesale Wi-Fi and fixed broadband offering as was suggested in November 2010.