The only two bids submitted to roll out fibre broadband services in Cumbria have been rejected by the county council.
Both BT and Fujitsu are seeking the contract to deliver super-fast broadband services in rural parts of the county, reports the BBC.
However, the initial bids placed by the rival infrastructure providers were deemed inadequate by the council.
Last year, Broadband Delivery UK awarded Cumbria £17 million out of the £530 million Rural Broadband Fund in a bid to finance enhanced broadband in the countryside.
This is one of the largest sums handed out to a single UK local authority.
The county council is seeking a private sector partner for the broadband rollout, and BT and Fujitsu are being invited to submit revised bids.
A BT spokesperson said the firm would continue to work with the authority "to try and secure what is a highly contested tender".