Author Topic: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today  (Read 9264 times)

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Offline Steve Wakefield

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WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« on: December 16, 2009, 03:51:00 pm »
I went to the launch of the wifi, which was switched on by Caroline Spelman MP. Yes it does work :clap: and if anyone is interested then pop over to Highworth and test it for your selves. I am no technical expert so don't know anything about that, but as a user it was wizzing...... Highworth library was very busy. To para phrase some one else !It was one small click of a mouse, but a giant leap forward for free wifi in Highworth."

Impressed at the speed, actually I was, but then not being a technocrat/anorak I took full advantage of the free wifi! I usually do especially in coffee bars :coffee:
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Offline swindonlinkman

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2009, 06:12:23 pm »
Story and images from launch of Signal Wi-Fi now at www.swindonlink.com

PS: Did anybody see Steve on Hop Skip and Jump, the history of children's play on BBC4 last night. Find it on iPlayer if you can.

Offline Chav

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2009, 07:52:01 pm »
Story and images from launch of Signal Wi-Fi now at www.swindonlink.com

PS: Did anybody see Steve on Hop Skip and Jump, the history of children's play on BBC4 last night. Find it on iPlayer if you can.

yes I watched it on BBC iplayer today.

Looking quite fit Mr W, very young looking  ;)
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 09:44:17 pm »
Chav

You been on those breezers before you watched it? or was it iron bru wkds? :witch:
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Offline Mart

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 10:13:53 pm »
Port and WKD Blue = Cheeky Vimto

Mmmm, num nums.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

Offline Chav

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 10:16:09 pm »
Chav

You been on those breezers before you watched it? or was it iron bru wkds? :witch:

Nope lol

I was transfixed lol

could have been the chocolate liquors , but I only had one and spat it out coz it had whisky in it  :-\

I thought the program was good, it brought back a few memories from when I was a snotty nosed little kid, with scabs on me knees and grazes from my dare-devil pursuits !

I was never a girly girl - I loved climbing trees, and stuff and as I got older I used to love riding
Trials bikes over the mud humps by the train track at mordon !
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Happy Birthday Wifasco
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 10:54:34 am »
Well, like this thread, Swindon's WiFi'asco is one year old today and I, for one, would like to say a couple of things:


1. Happy Birthday

2. Where the f*ck is it?

3. Where did between £400,000 and £450,000 of public money go?

4. Why does Highworths WiFi remain unfinished after a year?

5. Why does Swindon have no WiFi at all?

6. Why, when questioned by Cllr Andy Harrison at last Mondays scrutiny meeting did Cllr Roderick Bluh, (leader of Swindon Borough Council and provider of the secret £450,000 loan to Digital City (UK) Ltd) use the phrase:

Quote from: Roderick Bluh
".....if the WiFi scheme is successful"
 

Interesting that, at the same meeting, Cllr Bluh was apparently asked, (by Andy Harrison I expect), whether WIFi would prove to be another 'Mondex Moment' for Swindon, or a long term success like Cable TV and Broadband internet provision.   

I wonder if Cllr Bluh even understood the references.


I could easily produce several thousand words about this, but I won't.  There is little we don't know about the WiFiasco and very little to add to the story.  We understand the nature of the debaclé very, very well and almost all of it is documented on TS and, despite attracting criticism for it's (at times) reluctant coverage of the WiFiasco, even the Swindon Advertiser has managed to amasse an embarrassingly large amount of negative comment via it's letters pages and online comment.


What I will do is push a small two-part wager in the direction of Digital City (UK) Ltd and Cllr's Rod Bluh, Gary Perkins and Mark Edwards:


If, at any point in the next 365 days:

1. Digital City repays, (in full and with any interest due), every penny it borrowed from Swindon Borough Council

2. Digital City is able to satisfy this statement: with the scheme it has promised to supply.

Quote from: Rikki Hunt
"....anyone in Swindon will be able to log on to the internet while on the move and browse the web, have unlimited downloads, and send and receive emails. "

and

3. 'Getsignal' attracts more paying customers in Swindon than Talkswindon has members.....




I will withdraw the 'Going Bonkers In The Bunker' video from Youtube servers and stop taking the piss out of out the 'scheme'.



<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ULNjMo4bx3U?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_GB" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ULNjMo4bx3U?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_GB</a>








PS:


It's Rodericks Xmas party very soon - possibly this weekend.  At last years xmas party WiFi was a hot topic until Finualala Foley threw her tantrum and the celebraTory mood evaporated.  I think this years affair will prove to be a more sombre affair, maybe even a 'wake for the WiFiasco'.

If you want to get a preview of next years SBC cabinet and see 'who's hot' and 'who's not' in the politically incestuous world of Rods Bluhligans.....

.....you could do worse than enjoy a quiet drink in the Clifton Arms and keep your eyes on Number 112

I have a small pair of opera glasses for loan.....

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 11:25:14 am »
Its good to see that the LibDems have joined the fray as the LibDem cavalry is now coming over the hill.  Is cllr Andy is a re-freshed LibDem shock trooper leading their political bayonet charge through the cordite smoke? Cllr Andy is for me in a political analogy like Custer he rides to the sound of the guns, I hope he will not find himself being left to stand alone when the bullets fly?

Would I sound  cynical if I ask is this being done to put distance between the Libdems and their political cousins in the pre election period? I am sure that the Libdems would not be "sham" ragging cllr Rod so that the Libdems can claim a credit on wifi, whichever way it turns out?
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Offline Bogomil

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 03:22:00 pm »
Its good to see that the LibDems have joined the fray as the LibDem cavalry is now coming over the hill.  Is cllr Andy is a re-freshed LibDem shock trooper leading their political bayonet charge through the cordite smoke? Cllr Andy is for me in a political analogy like Custer he rides to the sound of the guns, I hope he will not find himself being left to stand alone when the bullets fly?

Would I sound  cynical if I ask is this being done to put distance between the Libdems and their political cousins in the pre election period? I am sure that the Libdems would not be "sham" ragging cllr Rod so that the Libdems can claim a credit on wifi, whichever way it turns out?
Steve it seems to me like he is keeping up his pledge to his electorate to be a strong voice on the council, which I believe he also did when he was previously on the council. Given his girth, and his reputation for straight talking (I seem to remember he once called Perkins a liar in the chamber) I doubt if a few bullets from either your old party of allegiance, or your new one, will cause him to duck when the bullets fly. As a Penhillian I suspect he will relish the fight…..

Ref the Wifi… best you get your memory tested again Steve as he’s often spoken out against the public money wasted on Wifi, (and other pie in the sky projects) both before his re-election and since.

Andy Harrison then continued after 11:30. I thought his interview went well. I do not think that our opinions differ greatly, if at all.

Money wasting - Penhill Question Time

Steve, How often have you raised the Wifi issue in council meetings?

p.s.
Would I also be sounding cynical if I were to ask if you new allegiance to the Labour Party was more to do with having a party banner to stand under in your hope of re-election.  :fence:

Offline bobwright

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2010, 12:49:21 am »
I find it ironic that Steve introduces a thread in a positive way then gets criticised for his criticism of the project.

Whilst it could be argued that some are trying to make political capital out of the handling of the project what is clear the main criticism has come from residents who did not and may not have any political allegiance (they may have now).

Plenty of opportunity has been provided for those involved in the project to dispel concerns. Up to now they have failed to satisfy many legitimate questions. Whilst the government has promised transparency locally the opposite appears to be the case.

I feel now if it turns out there are serious problems with the Wi-fi project reputations will be destroyed. Allowing it to continue as if there are no problems will only do further harm. If it turns out that all the criticism is misjudged and wrong I will be a happy man, I would much prefer a successful project.

In truth I do not feel happy; it is a year on from the second instalment and a number of promises have not been met.  It has been rare for me to get straight answers to straight questions. The lack of transparency could be a source of mistrust when in reality this has been an opportunity for the Administration to be shouting from the roof tops. So why aren’t they shouting?

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2010, 08:36:21 am »
Bob

It goes with the job and its a pity that Andy is not posting on TS as I know he would make his own points on here, which is how I find Andy usually  behaves.  Yes as you know I have spoken about wifi in council meeting and at scrutiny/cabinet and you know my questions have been minuted in council minutes, which I had to have them amended on one occasion. I have also submitted a letter in October asking for the wifi to be reviewed at scrutiny, which will happen in the New Year. I know that  some other cllrs did this, but do you know if Andy or any other Libdems cllrs have done so previously to this?

Andy knows me and I would be surprised  if there was anything in my post that would have touched a nerve. I am sure that we will both still be on cordial speaking terms  next time we are sharing benches in the chamber. Finally for me personally it is not about being re-elected under a banner it is about working to stop the Libdem and conservatives cutting public services in Swindon.  I applied and joined the Labour party of my own free will, no one asked me or made me do it. I believe that only Labour will defend the people's public services in Swindon against the deep LibDem Conservative cuts.

All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Tobes

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2010, 08:42:10 am »
Quote
It goes with the job and its a pity that Andy is not posting on TS

Maybe a well informed fan from Penhill like Bogomil could persuade him?  :santa_cool:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - Voltaire 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 10:08:05 am »
As someone who questioned the 'Wi Fi project' back at its formation I am delighted that many others have taken up the cause. My friend Geoff thinks i joined the argument a little later but I can assure TS contributors that this is not the case (albeit I did not post on TS at the time).

My 'interest' in the Wi Fi project was not borne out of any desire to attack any political party or individual politician.  I had a number of concerns.

1. The business rationale.  I simply could not accept that within 2/3 years the business could produce a turnover capable of returning a £700k net profit. This profit was to be derived from sales within the Borough and not from the wider net of the Country at large. Given that in his own opinion, Digital City was only likely to attract 10% of households which is 8,200 homes - turnover would have been less than £1 million per year - assuming a full years trading with 8,200 homes at £10 per month each. You simply cannot extract £700,000 net profit from this figure.

2. The partnership. New ventures are normally underpinned by some level of experience from the partners. SBC had no experience but they had money (£450k) burning a hole in their pocket but more importantly they had 'sites' and infrastructure, they also had a willing contractor in SCS. aQovia had a very limited technology base and business infrastructure and in terms of implementing a Wi-Fi solution of this type and magnitude had no proven tack record whatsoever. Then of course we had Mr Hunt. A silken tongued salesman who has an immense belief in himself and is persuaded by his own hyperbole that he is a business man with a track record of success upon success. I admire his chutzpah but if asked 'would I loan £450k to someone who woke up one morning and said "I think we could make money out of of Wi-Fi" I think I would have wanted to have seen some evidence of success in that or a directly related field. I am concerned that this latest enterprise will simply become another notch on Mr Hunt's Companies House Director profile which currently stands at Active 8 Dissolved 7 Resigned 30.

3. The competiton. As many will know I have alwasy been sceptical of the potential for success, based solely on two points. The first is the level of competition in the market, this consists of some really big players, BT, Talk Talk and Virgin to name but three. These players have scale on their side plus they are able to offer 'add ons' which are attractive to buyers. Equally they have the full array of backroom services - something DC has not got despite promising to set them up. The second is 'technology' the very driver of Wi-Fi and its close relation 'communications'. The technology being used by DC is not new nor is it the latest offer. It is adequate but that is all. The reality is that to be a success in the field of communications you need to be able to provide new services in real time and you need to be able to do that NOW. A new kid on the block will be tolerated then squashed.

4. The need. The Wi Fi project has gone through a number of 'justification processes' -amongst them the fact that it will improve 'social inclusion' by bridging the digital divide. One year on there is no evidence of this and in truth there never was a published study to prove this aim was either required or desirable.  The other chestnut on offer is the prospect that it would assist to 'reduce council operating costs' - would that it were so. We would all rejoice but clearly a stalled introduction is doing nothing to assist in reducing costs. What about another meaningless outpouring of jargon - 'supports the Council's sustainability agenda' - and then it progresses on to state that Wi Fi will allow more employees to engage in fexible working, less car journeys etc. This is the garbage produced by local government to justify a business proposition which doesn't stack up on it own merit. Finally, and in truth the most appealing claim made by the administration was that Wi-Fi could be an 'earner' for the Council and in cash strapped times who could fault this laudable objective? I 100% support the desire and indeed the need to look beyond the normal suspects of car parking, fees etc to raise new money, but listen to the wise words of a sage of long ago 'if it looks to good to be true, it probably is too good to be true'. Now please tell me that if someone offered you £250,000 per year for a loan of £450,000 what would you think? Answers on a postcard please.

I conclude by referring to the unwillingness of SBC to answer simple and straightforward questions put to them on this project . I submit the desperation to avoid answering those questions conflicts with the following stated aims of the Council.

a. The Council welcomes the envisaged greater involvement of local residents
b. This Council reaffirms its committment to ensure that meaningful consultations with residents are at the forefront of its decision making processes. 





Offline Des Morgan

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2010, 10:11:49 am »
Quote
I seem to remember he once called Perkins a liar in the chamber

Really - I am sure if Andy had done this he would have had to withdraw the remark, can i suggest you clarify this or honourably withdraw it

Offline Ringer

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2010, 10:41:29 am »
Des

A very good post your 4 points are all well made have you read the adver today? http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8743711.Businesses__key_to_developing_wi_fi_/

Did the auditors sign it off in March anyone care to clarify? Rikki Hunt was unavailable for comment, perhaps he was in Highworth at the time?
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2010, 10:57:24 am »
I find it ironic that Steve introduces a thread in a positive way then gets criticised for his criticism of the project.

Whilst it could be argued that some are trying to make political capital out of the handling of the project what is clear the main criticism has come from residents who did not and may not have any political allegiance (they may have now).


I find it amusing that lately the Lib Dems seem to have mounted up and started a charge at WiFi when it is already dead in the battlefield. I heard a learned man describing this as "shooting dead soldiers". When the fight was on (early 2010) they were nowhere to be seen. StanP pointed me in the direction of Scrutiny in December 2009 but had little stomach to pick up arms. I tried to engage Dave Wood when he was canvassing in my street. He referred to me as the "Wifi Man" as if I was a obsessed cat lady and had no input at all. My advice to them would be to let go of the coat tails and move on. It was due to this lack of engagement that I sought the help of the Labour party.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2010, 11:16:20 am »
Quote
have you read the adver today?

Indeed I have and it is a great credit to the Adver that they have brought this matter back to its pages.  I recall in March of this year, Dave King (the Editor) wrote 'Rod derides the negative coverage about the introduction of Wi-Fi to Swindon four moths ago, pointing the finger of criticism firmly in the Adver's direction' - of course Rod's ire was totally misplaced as the adver reported facts as they presented themselves whereas Rod and his cohorts were only interested in 'hype'.

Dave King concluded his article with what i can only liken to a 'kick up the pants' for us sceptics. He extolled the potential virtues of Wi-Fi, lauded its benefits to the town and  urged people of different opinions to come together and support the project.

I somehow think that Dave is relooking at that article (see March 12 'Passing shots) and asking himself - "what has actually happened since that March Cabinet meeting?"

The answer is quite simple - the Council gave Rikki Hunt his £250,000 and in return got - well this is slightly embarrassing to say - but actually it got nothing. 

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2010, 11:44:25 am »
Quote
Did the auditors sign it off in March anyone care to clarify?

I think the use of the word 'auditors' is a little misleading. What was acknowledged by an internal investigation was that 'things' were done according to the rules.

Just to clarify a point in the article. The initial loan of £150k was given to DC at the end of 2009, this was to get the project underway and to allow DC to 'complete' Highworth. As the Council has real issues about what certain words mean, I doubt they ever intended that 'complete' meant finished or brought to a full conclusion, in fact I suspect they may have thought the word complete meant - 'as near as dammit'.

The second tranche of the loan was released in early May 2010. This, after a number of performance variations to the original conditions were allowed in order to allow the Council Cabinet to approve the loan - i struck out the word Council as in fact the Council wasn't the determining power although you and i might have thought they were.

The second tranche was subject to a 'Risk Assessment' being conducted by SBC officers. This was allegedly carried out and it was considered appropriate to give DC a further £250k to enable them to 'complete' (sorry to use such a vague word again) the rest of the Borough. Of course since then no work has been carried out in the town centre or any other part of the Borough.

I recall only in August our Leader and Mr Hunt visited Boris Johnson and in an Adver exclusive boasted that Highworth would be completed by September, according to Coun Perkins last night at the Full Council meeting the best he could offer was that "the majority of Highworth is complete" - so no change from December 2009 then. 

Coun Martin made an attempt to suggest that dealing with 'arms length companies' such as SCS, Thamesdown Transport and dare i suggests DC would not lead to any less exercise of control and influence as 'SBC pays the bills and 'he who pays the piper calls the tune' - clearly not as far as DC is concerned


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2010, 12:09:54 pm »
As someone who questioned the 'Wi Fi project' back at its formation I am delighted that many others have taken up the cause. My friend Geoff thinks i joined the argument a little later but I can assure TS contributors that this is not the case (albeit I did not post on TS at the time).

Ah, sorry Des. On reflection I can see, at that time, you were being a critical friend to the administration and genuinely trying to help them avoid making stupid mistakes.  It didn't take long for the Bluhligans to declare you an enemy combatant and issue to you a metaphorical orange jump suit :)   I think it's true to say that all us would much rather see a sucessful WiFi project firmly rooted in a transparent pot and fed with wholesome fertiliser. 

Unfortunately though, what we have is a stunted, dying specimen with roots trapped in a sealed container surrounded by toxic political sludge which resists all attempts at disinfection. 

I note that the deputy leader of the council/Digital City Director Gary Perkins is once again being cavalier with the facts, in fact I think he's dangerously close to being accused of lying.

I can't see any positive comments left by readers of the online article - probably worth grabbing those before the Bluhligans insist on their removal.  Overall a fair piece written by Charley Morgan - I'll miss her when she leaves the Adver, which must be very soon now.

Full article here: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8743711.Businesses__key_to_developing_wi_fi_/

Quote from: Charley Morgan
A YEAR has passed since Highworth started to receive free wireless internet access in a council-backed scheme.

But 12 months down the line and how successful has the pilot project been?

The council wants to see the whole of Swindon covered by a wi-fi mesh eventually, enabling anyone to get up to two hours free internet access a day.

But councillors admit that even the pilot project has not been fully completed yet.

Some residents say coverage is still patchy at best and no-one seems keen to disclose exactly how many customers are paying for the enhanced connection package.

Highworth resident James Douglas, 26, said: “I’ve tried to log on to it a few times but I can never get a connection.

“You have to log on and register some details but it never seems to get past that page.

“That was in Highworth High Street. Then I tried logging on at home but my computer doesn’t even pick up the signal, despite there being several routers on lamp posts in my street.”

The whole scheme has been embroiled in controversy, ever since the council brokered a deal behind closed doors with entrepreneur Rikki Hunt.

A new company, Digital City UK, was formed between Mr Hunt, the council and technical experts aQovia, and the council handed over a £450,000 loan to the business to kickstart the project.

It all led to accusations the council was being underhand, something it was cleared of when auditors signed off the deal in March.

In the meantime the scheme was delayed and deadlines were missed.

Despite that, deputy leader of the council, Coun Garry Perkins is optimistic about the future and says the priority now is to get businesses paying for the enhanced connection packages.

“It didn’t go to plan due to lots of reasons, not least it being kicked around by the scrutiny committee until May,” he said.

“That affected the timescale and business interest in it, because no-one wants to be associated with a political hot potato.”

But the council is still going ahead with its plan to introduce the scheme, and intends to extend it to the town centre next.

“We still believe the business is very solid for the town and the business itself,” said Coun Perkins.

“ And we hope a large part of the town will be completed by this time next year.

“I am very upbeat about the whole project. We have learnt an awful lot about the whole project over the last year and now it’s just a question of getting business involvement.”

The Adver was unable to contact Rikki Hunt for a comment.


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: WiFi Works Switch On Before 14.00 Today
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2010, 12:27:14 pm »

Ignoring the more obvious rubbish Cllr/Director Perkins has been spouting, I'd like to pass a quick comment on this:

Quote from: SBC Cllr/DIgital City Director Garry Perkins
“I am very upbeat about the whole project. We have learnt an awful lot about the whole project over the last year and now it’s just a question of getting business involvement.”

Perkins makes it sound so easy.  It's 'just' a question of getting business involvement.  The Chief Executive Officer of Digital City (UK) Ltd, Rikki Hunt, has already said that Swindons multitude of industrial areas will be: "Approached on a business case by business case basis" which rather suggests that 100% coverage of Swindon is not, (if it ever was), as firm a commitment as we were expected to believe.

I can't see many established businesses in Swindon dropping their current I.S.P's in favour of Digital City (UK) Ltd/Getsignal.  I'd be interested to learn what the Swindon business community think?

How many members of the Swindon Chamber of Commerce have supported their colleague Rikki, and are subscribed to and paying for his services?

How many members of the Federation of Small Businesses are using and paying for services supplied by Digital City/Getsignal?

I haven't asked Lamplighters recently, and I'm loathe to ask them to go after figures which, (I suspect), haven't changed for several months.  The number of business subscribers is likely to be closer to 0 than it is to 5, which, after 365 days of trading and a massively successful advertising and PR campaign, would tell any normal businessman what they needed to know about their business plan & model.

 

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