Author Topic: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi  (Read 5786 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« on: February 10, 2011, 08:23:34 AM »





I'll cut straight to the chase with this post:

Rikki Hunt transferred control of 'his' 30% share of Digital City (UK) Ltd to his wife Laura on December the 31st 2010.

Since that point the cabinet of Swindon Borough Council has been falling over itself to blame the failure of their WiFi'asco onto anybody except themselves. 

Cabinet members, pathologically incapable of accepting any blame for the potential loss of £400,000 of public money, have sought to blame the failure of the WiFi'asco on 'politically motivated industrial espionage' orchestrated by members of Swindons Labour group - this piece of disinformation is as as spiteful as it is demonstrably untrue.

As Swindons Conservative councillors run around trying to organise a political rescue for the sinking WiFi'asco, they appear to be deliberately ignoring the fact that the Chief Executive of Digital City (UK) Ltd has already boarded his pre-prepared lifeboat and has been quietly rowing away from the stinking sinking ship since late last year.

From the very beginnings of the WiFi'asco SBC cabinet members have stubbornly, no, aggressively resisted each and every attempt made to rescue them from their own stupidity, arrogance and ineptitude. 

Systematic failings, mistakes, strange decisions, illegalities and questionable practices have been pointed out to the cabinet of Swindon Borough Council at every step but, unless correspondents have been in 100% agreement with the 'official' party-political Bluh-line on WiFi, all of them, even critical friends of Rod Bluh's WiFi pRodject, have been derogated, called liars, misinformants, trouble-makers, scare-mongers and wifi-deniers by those in 'control' of the WiFi'asco - despite being invariably and demonstrably correct in almost every aspect of their many enquiries, comments and criticisms.

For their part, the 'Officials' who rail-roaded the WiFi scheme into existence, (in a way which almost guaranteed its failure), have proved themselves to be lacking in even the most basic ingredients and skill sets necessary to the schemes success.

I think it is fair to say that the Civic and Business Community has now lost patience with Rod Bluh and his Bluhnderbirds and that a weary recognition that the town cannot save those who will not only not lift a finger to save themselves but aggressively resist help, the town can at least try to save itself from them.

Even Rikki Hunt seems to be doing exactly that.....


Parting thought:

If the the Bluhnderbirds were to have their own theme tune, would it sound and look like this?:


Dumb, dumb de dumb

Dumb de dumb de dumb de de dumb de dumb

Dumb, dumb de dumb

Dumb de dumb de dumb de de dumb de dumb - Dar!



Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 09:03:57 AM »
Oops posted while I was writing mine for another thread. Agreed

Offline Mellon

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 09:09:14 AM »
F.A.B...
"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

ph1lc

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 03:08:27 PM »
Think it's about time someone challanged Cllr Perkins in May - I vote for Geoff Reid, there will be lots of willing helpers from TS to aid your campaign.

Offline Ringer

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 06:39:46 PM »
As Swindons Conservative councillors run around trying to organise a political rescue for the sinking WiFi'asco, they appear to be deliberately ignoring the fact that the Chief Executive of Digital City (UK) Ltd has already boarded his pre-prepared lifeboat and has been quietly rowing away from the stinking sinking ship since late last year.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water! Meanwhile in Marineville- Anything can happen in the next half our Stingrik Stingray ;D
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Offline MikeHeal

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 11:16:01 PM »
As someone who was at the start of Wi-Fi for the whole of Reading, I am completely confused by the ongoing fiasco that is Swindon Wi-Fi?
For a start what or who is Digital City UK?
How is that all of it directors appear to be conservative councillors?
What experiences have they in setting up a city wide Wi-Fi network?
When we decided to do this in Reading, firstly we sought European Social Funding Match funded by the local businesses.
Secondly, we chose to make the first wave as simple as possible, our community centres where given internet access and if needed computer.
Next we widened the capability to include the surrounding areas.
Finally we brought it into Town centre, renewing and replacing as we went,
At each stage we went back to draw down the funds, held securely by the Council until we could prove each stage completed.

When I first heard that the Council was involved in providing Wi-Fi to the whole of Swindon I was quite impressed that they should take on such a project. I am sure like a great many Swindon residents, I believed that the Council had procured the talents of a company that had great expertise in this area or did as we did in Reading and the start of the New Millennium.
Since then whenever the Swindon wide Wi-Fi is mentioned it is connection with Digital City UK, £450,000 of public monies and no progress. This in its self is bad enough but then to find out that Digital City UK’s directors are Conservative Councillors and it is the same Councillors that are on both the committees that give out the money and scrutinise their spending leaves me a little cold and not a little concerned.
As our council no register of interests? 
If so, how is it possible then that the deputy leader of the Council can also be a director of a company that is drawing down funding for an ongoing project?
And that a Conservative Councillor  and director of Digital City UK signed over his 30% share in Digital city to his wife in  December before all this s--- hit the f--
I think Councillor Perkins and Mr Richard (Rikki) Hunt Ch airman of the SSEP (Swindon Strategic Enterprise partnership) need to stop t e blame game, stop the playing around with words and hiding behind failing Council protocol tells the truth regarding the whereabouts of our £450,000 and what they intend to do about either setting up WI-Fi for Swindon or giving the money back so the Council can hire a company that can do the job properly.
I would at time like to remind those councillors involved in this the fate of those MP’s involved in false accounting??

Offline Ringer

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The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2011, 11:26:38 AM »

Administrator Comment Post Split From Hunt Saboteur

Quote
THE events and revelations at the recent Scrutiny Committee meeting were marked by a number of important statements.

The first was the failure of Digital City UK to have achieved its sales revenue targets and network coverage as set out in the business plan agreed between the company and the council. These targets were considered by officers and cabinet members to be realistic and achievable, it is a matter of concern that they have proven to be unattainable by such a wide margin.

I understand that the CEO of Digital city informed the committee that it was his intent to ‘gift’ his shareholding in the company to the council. This would result in the council becoming a majority shareholder of Digital City and would mean a private sector company being effectively nationalised by Swindon Borough Council. This deeply concerns me as it is not the role of the council to be a key player in a private market, which the Wifi market most certainly is.

It was also clear from comments made by the Digital City CEO at the meeting that there are insufficient funds available to Digital City UK Ltd to meet even its most basic payment of interest on the loan of £400k provided by the council. This situation is a matter of regret especially as the relationship was supposedly formed on the basis of a mutually beneficial commercial loan. Mr Hunt made it quite clear that the value of such a relationship was considerably offset by the real world he occupies when he suggests that not paying the debt he owed to the council was ‘just business’.

The Labour Group supports the efforts of the council leader to develop a rescue plan which should at least see the council receive back its original loan of £400k plus any unpaid interest. The Labour Group also calls on the administration to prevent a newly-invested Digital City from undertaking the following, unless payments are made to the council for these at market rate:

• Mounting transmitters on Swindon’s lampposts and other publicly owned structures.

• Making an unmetered connection to the council’s electricity supply.

• Connect up to Swindon Borough Council’s internet connection.

If all these actions are undertaken by a newly-invested Digital City Ltd without that company paying the market rate, Swindon council taxpayers money would be at risk as the council would be vulnerable to legal challenge under State Aid guidelines.

COUN DERIQUE MONTAUT Leader of the Labour Group

Is the rescue package about getting access to Swindon people's already paid for infrastructure at a reduced rate? Next will the council be claiming that all concrete lamp posts have to be replaced for safety reasons? Will the Parish Council's be stumping up for the replacement of lamp posts in their parishes as they have responsibility for street lighting? Will they want the full rate of rental to be paid to them? Will people in the parishes towns be prepared to allow the unmetered connection? Yet more questions, no doubt parish councils may possibly have to look up their FOI policies in respect of street lighting responsibilities and replacement programme and policies in respect of rental and fixing to said lamp posts? Is this one of the reasons why the delayed announcement on the wifi rescue is now moved  to March?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 01:52:53 PM by Dougal »
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 04:51:18 PM »

Hahahaa... I think Monty might shortly have cause to regret writing that letter.

Before last weeks council I suggested to a member of the public that they might like to ask Rod Bluh whether the Science & Technology Board was the quango he was seeking a wifi rescue package from.

The question was asked in such a way that a simple yes or no answer would suffice. In fact a simple yes or no answer was specifically requested.  This request was smugly declined and a written answer promised.

Then Bathgate-gate bubbled over....

....so I think, by now, Rods Bluhnderbirds are in the process of desperately rushing a 'WiFi Rescue' news story out before I can blab the next chapter and we start talking about it. 

They want a head-start, so I'll be more sporting than they deserve and give them a clear 19hrs before I say anything else.

:popcorn:

robert feal-martinez

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 07:07:32 PM »
Just blab the next chapter Geoff. This whole saga is getting as boring as soap opera's.

Offline Alligator

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2011, 07:08:36 PM »


....so I think, by now, Rods Bluhnderbirds are in the process of desperately rushing a 'WiFi Rescue' news story out before I can blab the next chapter and we start talking about it. 

They want a head-start, so I'll be more sporting than they deserve and give them a clear 19hrs before I say anything else.

:popcorn:


And there you have it......

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8869011.Wi_fi_project_is_given_more_cash/

Quote from: Adver
WI-FI firm Digital City is set to scoop another slice of taxpayer cash, the Adver can reveal.

The council-backed company has won grant funding for research and development work on the Swindon wi-fi network, along with another firm called aQovia, who own 30 per cent of Digital City’s shares.

The “gobsmacking” pledge of more cash comes despite Digital City’s failure to deliver a wi-fi network in Swindon, and lagging behind on repayments of council taxpayers’ cash.

The grant was actually approved last autumn – but it has not come to light until now.

Long-time wi-fi critic Des Morgan, a 59-year-old retired company director from Caraway Drive, said: “Digital City came to Swindon Borough Council on February 7, and said they’re looking for funding, and weren’t able to pay their interest payments (to the council).

“They never mentioned anything about this project or having match funding, so it’s quite peculiar.

“It’s just amazing. I’m gobsmacked.

“It’s good news – it shows money is being made available to Digital City.

“I’m just at a loss as to why this wasn’t revealed, because it would be a very, very positive message to send.”

But he also said: “Why aren’t they paying their £1,000-a-month interest to the council? You’d have thought they’d do that as a priority.”

The grant cash is from Swindon-based government quango, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

The TSB will give £99,000 to Digital City and £232,000 to aQovia over the next 20 months – £331,000 in total.

It will fund research, starting this month, into software and programmes which can be used on the wi-fi network.

If successful, these products can then be sold on to others. When asked why it is giving cash to controversial firm Digital City, the TSB said its money will only be released in quarterly chunks – and only if Digital City hits its research targets.

A TSB spokesman also said: “The offer of funding is conditional on financial compliance and due diligence and that hasn’t yet been finished.

“Whether the offer of funding would be withdrawn, I couldn’t speculate.”

The £331,000 grant is “match funding” for another £332,000 which the companies have come up with themselves.

But it is unclear how they managed to secure this £332,000, since Digital City has so far been unable to provide internet access to the town or repay a £400,000 council loan.

No-one from aQovia, Digital City, or Garry Perkins, who is also a Digital City director and councillor in charge of the scheme, could yesterday be contacted.


Offline moley

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2011, 07:14:32 PM »
I'm sure there are lots of startups / small software businesses around Swindon who would have been ecstatic to get this kind of innovation funding...

But it's not at all clear how this will help get the original investment back (or even get wi-fi installed).

And the skills required to build innovative software are totally different to the skills required to install a wifi network - so presumably a new team is being hired????:uglystupid2:


Offline Outoftowner

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 07:46:11 PM »
If anyone is interested, I will research any subject that they like, for as long as they like, provided that they pay me £300,000 for each 20 months that I am researching. This of course includes WiFi, brain surgery, rocket science, solving global warming, anything.

Any takers?

What's it all about?

Offline Alex

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2011, 07:50:28 PM »
I'm sure there are lots of startups / small software businesses around Swindon who would have been ecstatic to get this kind of innovation funding...

But it's not at all clear how this will help get the original investment back (or even get wi-fi installed).

And the skills required to build innovative software are totally different to the skills required to install a wifi network - so presumably a new team is being hired????:uglystupid2:

So they're sending more good money after bad? On what basis? Who wants the research done- the tax payer? If the tax payer wanted research done, wouldn't it go to tender to various established  research companies? Or is it another "investment" which doesn't have to obey the rules? Or am I missing something - again? :o


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2011, 09:12:00 PM »
This could just mean, of course, that they dig themselves in deeper.

Interesting that Councillor Perkins could not answer my questions on this very subject last Thursday at full Council without telling me he would provide written answers.

Well, I am still waiting and I am not holding my breath
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Offline Tobes

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2011, 11:14:25 PM »
A TSB spokesman also said: “The offer of funding is conditional on financial compliance and due diligence and that hasn’t yet been finished.

“Whether the offer of funding would be withdrawn, I couldn’t speculate.”

Anyone taking any bets...?
 ;D
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2011, 02:15:13 AM »

:popcorn: :)

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2011, 08:21:24 AM »
Let me try to give a technical assessment, with an analogy, of what appears to be happening.

The Technical Assessment
The scientific and technical properties concerning the propagation of electromagnetic waves (which includes Wifi) are very well known. (By scientists and technical people, obviously.)

Digital City stumbled upon some of these properties, i.e. signals not going over hills or through metal parts of buildings, when they undertook their amateurish installation of WiFi in Highworth. They had by then used up all of SBC’s tax-payers £400,00, so they stopped work.

Now, according to The Adver, Digital City feel that they are the right people to carry out “Research & Development” (research and development that does not need doing) in the field of WiFi on behalf of the nation, once again using tax-payer’s money.

The analogy,

A Swineherd takes his pigs into the orchard to root around for windfall apples. Our hero sits in the shade of a tree to watch over his charges when an apple hits him on the head. The Swineherd now runs off to the villagers and says that he has just discovered gravity and wants £300,000 to research it.

And for free, the lesson,

If you give the swineherd the dosh, he will use it to make cider with the apples.
What's it all about?

Offline Dougal

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2011, 09:05:18 AM »


Administrator Comment Topic titled: 'The WiFi Rescue Package' has been merged with 'Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi'

Dougal
www.talkswindon.org is a venue, not a person or political entity. As such, it hopes to encourage input and discussion on any topic, from all walks of Swindon life.   

Offline Ringer

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Re: The WiFi Rescue Package
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2011, 09:36:15 AM »
And for free, the lesson, If you give the swineherd the dosh, he will use it to make cider with the apples.

Is the outcome then Hic!.....Hic! snnnnnzzzzzzzz??
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Rod & The Bluhnderbirds Seek Rescue For WiFi
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2011, 09:51:57 AM »
Actually I've re-thought the lesson Ringer. Our Swineherd hasn't the wit or the interest to make his own cider... he'd leave the apples to rot while ordering the cider from a "Bargain Booze" web-site run by a close relative.

[and as the poem went, "The pig(s) would slowly walk away."]
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