Author Topic: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?  (Read 216574 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4022
Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« on: May 15, 2011, 07:51:28 PM »
In the Adver at 6.09pm tonight!!

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9028524.Is_final_chapter_in_wi_fi____saga____near_/

Is final chapter in wi-fi ‘saga’ near?
6:09pm Sunday 15th May 2011
By Adam Kula »

THE end is in finally in sight for Swindon’s wi-fi saga, it has been claimed.

The council’s 60-day non-disclosure agreement with a mystery investor ended yesterday.

It allowed Swindon Council to enter into confidential negotiations with a big name company, whose name it would not disclose, with a view to getting it on board the failing wi-fi project.

Now Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw) said they are close, although he refused to name a date, when any deal might be signed.

But asked if two weeks was a reasonable timeframe, he said: “I would hope it would be.

“There has been a very long meeting this week. They’ve laid out their proposals for us to look at their figures, and a very outline proposal for the next five years.

“At the moment our legal and financial people are going over the proposals put forward. There is a plan on the table.”

He also said: “One would have liked it to be completed several months ago, but one is often in other people’s hands.”

He said the objective of these negotiations, is to turn Digital City into a profitable business which will bring back revenue to the council, like Swindon Commercial Services.

Coun Perkins would only say that the mystery investor is “a very large telecoms organisation.”

Asked if it is a French company, as some rumours suggest, he said: “No, you’re wrong.”

Des Morgan, 59, a former company director, of Caraway Drive, and a regular contributor to the Adver’s letter pages on the subject, said: “We’ll be interested to see what the outcome of the deal will be. And whether the £400,000 will be paid back to the council at once.

“I hope that it is announced within the next two weeks because we have been waiting over six months since Garry Perkins first promised a deal was ‘imminent’ and ‘just around the corner.’ “I look forward to seeing what will happen to it, to the £400,000 loan and interest, and whether the proposals that come forward from the new investors bear any resemblance to the original wi-fi project put forward by the council.”

The whole wi-fi saga dates back to 2009, when the council put up £450,000-worth of taxpayers’ cash for Rikki Hunt’s firm Digital City to borrow.

The aims was to provide free wi-fi internet access for the whole of Swindon.

But it failed almost totally in meeting its deadlines or objectives, or keeping up with interest payments on the £400,000 it ended up borrowing.

Chris Watts, 44, of Dunsford Close, a Labour Party member and IT business owner, said: “I think we can believe something is going to happen. But it’s going to bear no resemblance to what’s gone before, because that has been an abject lesson in how not to bring wi-fi to a town.

“If we can have a partner that’s actually experienced in this business, it can only be good.”


All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline 20Eyes

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1997
  • Too fast, too deep, blah blah blah
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2011, 08:29:02 PM »
Will be fascinating to see how this plays out.
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2011, 10:25:25 PM »
Quote
Coun Perkins would only say that the mystery investor is “a very large telecoms organisation.”

Asked if it is a French company, as some rumours suggest, he said: “No, you’re wrong.”

3 are wedded to 3G only - I'm not sure that wi-fi in town really fits with the whole o2 'home-hub' philosophy. If we discount 'The French' it leaves the currently floundering 'Big Red' who been seemingly devoid of headline grabbing ideas in recent times. I wonder if this is a move to try and show themselves in a progressive and innovative light?

« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 11:25:01 PM by Tobes »
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2011, 10:50:18 PM »
A phenomenal number of 'guests' viewing this thread at the moment. I wonder if Garry has dropped a bollock on this? By denying the French Connection, he really has narrowed the field. There can't be many realistic names in the frame.

Vodafone are nearby with their HQ in Newbury. Last year they were also completing the set up of a new office in Swindon.

Read between the lines too. The non-disclosure period has ended - but the council has still refused to name them. Note that the Adver didn;t really press them on this. Perhaps a deal has been struck to give them a degree of exclusivity tomorrow?

Who-ever is behind the deal, the announcement of major ventures with potential impact on share prices normally have to wait until the city have been informed. Our extraordinary number of viewers *might* be a bunch of extremely nervous Investor Relations and PRs now cursing Mr Perkins for ruining their Sunday night...? (If so, hello folks  :coolsmiley: )
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4022
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2011, 11:54:17 PM »
If there is to be any investment in Wi-fi in Swindon it will preclude any involvement from Digital City because apart from debt they have nothing to offer. 

I am constantly being contacted by BT offering their high speed broadband uprate so why do we need Wi-fi anyway?  Is there even a commercial market for it?

I suggest that our Council having been duped into making this investment are desperately trying to pull up their pants before anyone notices they have pulled down by a very astute businessman who still manages to get his picture in the paper.

Garry Perkins can posture as much as he likes but he will never be able to live this down or the fact that he is party to the Council losing £400,000 of our money and it would also appear that he has been manoeuvred into a position where he takes the fall.

Its is all about what appears to be what not it is!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Ringer

  • Guest
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 07:48:31 AM »
Garry Perkins can posture as much as he likes but he will never be able to live this down or the fact that he is party to the Council losing £400,000 of our money and it would also appear that he has been manoeuvred into a position where he takes the fall.

Its is all about what appears to be what not it is!

Why then would investors throw their money after it? No one has yet explained that one to me.

Offline 20Eyes

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1997
  • Too fast, too deep, blah blah blah
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 09:30:30 AM »
If there is to be any investment in Wi-fi in Swindon it will preclude any involvement from Digital City because apart from debt they have nothing to offer.

I suspect there'll be some 'consultancy' involved, just to keep them in the loop and give appearances that it's of use/worth.

Garry Perkins can posture as much as he likes but he will never be able to live this down or the fact that he is party to the Council losing £400,000 of our money and it would also appear that he has been manoeuvred into a position where he takes the fall.

According to many here, the money was lost ages ago and the whole thing is a failed fiasco. In theory, this should have paved the way for the Labour candidate in Shaw & Nine Elms to secure a famous victory a week or two ago.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 01:41:41 PM by 20Eyes »
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline the gorgon

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1411
  • Hello !
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2011, 09:37:37 AM »
The question that won't go away is "why would anyone want to invest in this scheme?".  There's no real infrastructure (apart from in Highworth), has the £400k been spent yet - if so then there is no cheap money available (I assume the interest rate from SBC is lower than for a normal business loan), so why? 

Drone

  • Guest
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2011, 12:41:50 PM »
So...some questions
is this about a major company buying out DC or setting up a new paretnership with SBC?
Is the condition of partnership writing of that stonking debt?
Is there any chance the current director-ess of DC will financially benefit from the arrangement?
Will other members of the DC board benefit financially?
Is Garry Perkins negotiating in his role as deputy leader of SBC or as a director of Digital City?
In these negotiations, are these two roles compatible?
Is DC involved in these discussions, seeing as Hunt is still up a mountain?
What responsibilities are DC taking to repay their debt by negotiating with outside companies?
Is SBC's head of finance negotiating for DC, SBC or both?
What are the terms of the new deal likely to be?

Offline MsD Meanor

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 136
  • Hello !
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2011, 01:37:55 PM »
And.... has this gone out to tender?

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4022
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2011, 02:56:13 PM »
So...some questions
is this about a major company buying out DC or setting up a new paretnership with SBC?
Is the condition of partnership writing of that stonking debt?
Is there any chance the current director-ess of DC will financially benefit from the arrangement?
Will other members of the DC board benefit financially?
Is Garry Perkins negotiating in his role as deputy leader of SBC or as a director of Digital City?
In these negotiations, are these two roles compatible?
Is DC involved in these discussions, seeing as Hunt is still up a mountain?
What responsibilities are DC taking to repay their debt by negotiating with outside companies?
Is SBC's head of finance negotiating for DC, SBC or both?
What are the terms of the new deal likely to be?

I am sure all these questions and more will be asked at the first scrutiny meeting Drone.

But do not hold your breath for any answeres!    :'(
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Drone

  • Guest
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2011, 04:11:32 PM »
And is this final chapter about reviving DC's fortunes, repaying the debt owed to SBC or continuing with the Wi-Fi project (yes, I know these are potentially linked)?
Because SBC is owed £450,000 minimum and I'm not sure Garry Perkins, Hitash Patel or anyone else involved in these negotiations  have the commercial neutrality or business savy to find a solution which is in Swindon's best interests.

Offline Mart

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5249
  • Where's my cow?
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2011, 08:02:53 PM »
You do know this is going to go hideously wrong don't you?

It's like a satirical version of Dragons Den where the surefire stinkers get the investment, and we have the same dragons as last time.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Drone

  • Guest
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 06:17:42 AM »
And somehow Evan Davis has ended up bankrupt?

Yes, it will probably go badly wrong.

Offline James

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 907
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 08:36:43 PM »
Does it have to be said again...?
The money is gone.
Any additional value in any new deal which appears to equal £400,000 would have been possible anyway, if we have decent negotiators involved.
The council should just accept it has gone and not try to kid anyone.

Failure is the inevitable result of trying new things.
Failure is not the issue.

Deceit or stupidity is.

Offline swindoncentric

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 207
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2011, 08:42:25 PM »
Brings to mind the phrase 'insanity is trying the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result'

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4022
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2011, 08:43:03 PM »
But James we have a Salesman and an Accountant doing this, do you not have any faith in their abilities?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Ringer

  • Guest
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2011, 09:36:45 PM »
Failure is the inevitable result of trying new things.
Failure is not the issue.
Deceit or stupidity is.

Failure? Why could only people outside the sign of 4 see that it would end up where it has?  It's almost prophetic when re reading what was said from December 2009 to March/May 2010 :'(

Offline Des Morgan

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1904
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2011, 07:19:22 PM »
Quote
Failure is the inevitable result of trying new things.


So success isn't the result of trying new things?  No one plans to fail, but plenty fail to plan.

The Wi-Fi project was doomed from day one - and i can prove that by some simple points

1. It had no financial credibility.  Read the words and consider the figures presented by Coun Bluh with regard to the DC business plan and attempt to marry that with £700k of net profit. It simply does not stack up - honestly.

2. It lacked a marketing strategy. It was recognised at the very beginning that 'marketing' was key to sales success and yet no marketing or brand management was undertaken and no marketing plan was devleoped (that is a fact taken from the Cabinet Member Briefing Note of 12 October 2009) Despite the assurance that pre launch there were two people informally assisting the project who were to be formally engaged this never happened.

3. There was no sales effort in Highworth. Despite the claims made by Coun Perkins and Rikki (for free) Hunt that a leaflet campaign was carried out, they have failed to provide any data proving hwat was done and whether any positive leads were achieved. Failing to monitor performance is a cardinal sin for anew start up business. It was as if Digitla City felt that by a form of osmosis Highworth townsfolk would simply apply to be linked to the DC Broadband network. Spooky or what?

4. There was no after sales support. DC employed one person who left Rikki (for free) Hunt's employment for a proper job.

5. There never were any bolt on packages. This was the con of the century. The business model was built on the premise of selling high speed access and on offering innovative servcies at competitive prices.

6. It lacked credible leadership. Rikki (for free) Hunt has no experience of providing Wi-Fi or any similar IT package, indeed he has no long term track record of managing start up companies in the communications sector, as for Aqovia - least said soonest mended

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4022
Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2011, 11:14:07 PM »
Do you all think the protagonists in Council were duped or just completely inept and incompetent and therefore should never be in charge of any money other than their own?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group