Author Topic: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors  (Read 4062 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« on: October 25, 2010, 04:07:49 pm »
An excellent letter regarding the WiFi'asco recently appeared in the Swindon Advertiser.  It was written and submitted by TS member Des Morgan.  It now appears online here: http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/8473589.Letter_from_Des_Morgan/

And a partial extract is reproduced below:

Quote from: Des Morgan
"In March of this year and despite Digital City having failed to meet a number of objective criteria, SBC Cabinet approved the release of a further £250k bringing the total amount loaned up to £400k which was only £50k short of the total amount to be loaned by the council for Digital City to provide total borough-wide coverage. In the seven months since the release of the money there has been no significant works started in the town centre and no indication as to when the remainder of the borough will receive wifi access."



In July 2010 Rikki Hunt effectively gagged all 59 of Swindons elected Councillors by sending each of them an email (reproduced below) which, on the surface at least, was intended to be read as a 'progress' report, but a confidentiality caveat at the bottom of the email deliberately prevented any of the recipients from discussing it publicly.

Many councillors, as soon as they had opened and read the email, realised that they had effectively been gagged.  The Lamplighters leakline subsequently received several copies of the email within hours of its distribution.

I was initially tempted to disclose the contents of the email but decided against it on the grounds that the various claims made by Rikki Hunt within it might actually come to fruition.  I resolved to wait until each of the projected dates had come and gone before I did anything further.

When, on the 6th of October 2010, Rikki Hunt finally admitted to the Adver that his Wifi'asco is all but dead in the water, and blamed Swindon Borough Councillors for delaying the rollout by intervening to investigate his scheme, the time to publish his gagging email had finally arrived.


Email distributed to Borough Councillors in July 2010 - *I have inserted a couple of reference URL's but the email text is unchanged.
 
 
Quote from: Rikki Hunt
The information below is for your benefit only at this stage. I plan to do a media update around the 13th of August, in the meantime I would appreciate it if this data was not released in full or en mass. I do realise that an article has gone out in the Link. My understanding from Roger Ogle the Editor was that this was not going out until August hence my timetable for updating you. Unfortunately I missed the fact that the August edition of the Link goes out in July, so sorry for the confusion. I still aim for a wider media session around the 13th August.


You are all aware of the delays in funding and this, as well as our learning from the original pilot in Highworth, has led us to amend our roll-out plan. We will now adopt a roll-out strategy, which whilst taking longer to implement, will achieve our goal of making Swindon a Connected Community.  The planning work for Swindon town centre is underway and we are aiming to begin work there during September.


It is difficult to put a completion date on the roll-out because we are so far behind, but in answer to those who are concerned if their area is being covered I can confirm that it is our intention to achieve Borough wide coverage as originally stated.


We will do the smaller parishes towards the end and individual Business Parks and Farms will be done on a business case basis. We are working with the RDA on attracting Government money around the rural communities social inclusion bids and believe that our experiences in Highworth will put us in a good position. Should we be successful we will of course revise the rural communities roll-out plan.


In partnership with aQovia, we have had Round One success with one of three bids we put to the Technology Strategy Board. Our successful bid was around downloading music and creating a revenue share with the content owners, so the content owners, network providers and subscribers are all working together. I will keep you informed of our progress.


We are about to begin some pilot projects (at our cost) in Middi Haines Court, which is a sheltered accommodation in Highworth. The pilots are around Energy Monitoring, CCTV, Telemedicine and IPTV. Should these tests prove positive by either demonstrating cost savings or improving efficiencies, then I am confident we will be able to generate sales from them.


We have had several meetings with other localities and I believe one is a hot prospect and one a warm prospect. Both praised our business model. I will know around October if we are successful.


We have several local companies involved in helping us deliver and I expect more to become involved as we move forward. We are also working with both private and voluntary organisations on projects around the cleaning and redistribution of old computers to those who cannot afford them.


There has been some confusion around our stats which as you can imagine change weekly, below are those for June and I hope you will agree they do not look bad.


Some stats for June
With continuing optimisation our Highworth network gets better by the day, but we are still no further forward with our black spots
Registrations 3,366 (of course not all Highworth)
We have over 600 unique users per month in Highworth
Users are on line for 35 minutes per session
Sales have not begun in earnest yet due to the planning issues around our black holes in Highworth, so we currently have 18 registered for the upgrades


Summary is:
More registrations than expected
Unique users per month at 600 represents 16% of Highworth houses, so double our target
Some first time computer users, so proving positive for social inclusion
Well behind on original timetable - we have now moved away from setting dates
Will be actively selling the £9.99 (with router) upgrade to targeted households by the end of this month
Plan to begin Swindon town centre in September, should be able to confirm by mid August
Bathgate feasibility study begins on 3rd August
TSB bid successful in Round One
Planning a bid around connecting rural communities


We are behind but we remain confident that our product is right.


Your support of Digital City is crucial to me and although you may think we got off to a poor start and that our PR was weak, I hope you will agree that our project is a sound one. I look forward to your continued backing for what is still held up as a ground breaking project, which has support across the industry and within many communities.



Rikki Hunt
CEO Digital City (UK) Ltd
Mobile: +447831 807796
E-Mail: rikki@getsignal.co.uk
Web: www.getsignal.co.uk


As far as I can ascertain the various components of this email exist and have been discussed in the public domain, although not neccessarily in one place or identical formats. I believe it to be in the public interest to now place the email fully into the public domain, thereby remove its gagging effect on our elected representatives.

Discuss

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 05:05:15 pm »
Now that it has been  published, I now believe I can make comment, as TS is a public forum so I now take it that publication/thread establishes that it is now in the public domain. I believe that I can now openly discuss the contents of the said email, herein reproduced.

Coincidentially at the time this was being published, cllr Bob Wright was asking section 15 questions at Full Council about Wi-fi only to be informed that Digcit/getsignal was a private company, however that puzzled Bob as he pointed out that Cllr Garry Perkins sits on that board as a council representative.

Cllr Garry Perkins referred cllr Bob Wright to the getsignal/digital city board with his questions. It would appear that if the council loans public money to private businesses then elected  cllrs cannot ask questions about it?

Opening questions to encourage discussion:

How can I as a cllr best support it when the information was couched in a nondisclosure caveat and the company is describing its PR as being weak?

I am not aware that Middi Haines Court been Wified up?

Are there more customers who have signed up than in March?

Has the company been out actively pushing the £9.99 package in Highworth as described?

Has the Town centre got underway yet?
 
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2010, 05:54:33 pm »
Interesting to hear the price of £9.99 per month including router.

I have just renegotiated my BT deal complete with new router for £7.49 per month.

I always thought this was a bum deal and now we know it for what it is.

It is such a shame that our Councillors were not business savy enough to save us from this waste of £400k of much need funding.

Offline Drone

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 06:03:10 pm »
Each time you think the whole sorry debacle can't get worse...
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline concerned_of_Old_Town

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 07:10:58 pm »

Quote from: Rikki Hunt


Well behind on original timetable - we have now moved away from setting dates

This shows why he is not a serious businessman and the council not a proper sponsor/customer for allowing him to say this!

Interested in the gagging order  can you elaborate?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 09:41:19 pm »
Interested in the gagging order  can you elaborate?

A councillor, having received the email complete with caveat, can explain its effect on them better than I  :)

**unless someone wants to send the caveat to: leaks@talkswindon.org and I'll publish it (discretion assured)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2010, 09:47:34 pm »

That didn't take long  ;D  Thank you Lamplighter DikkiFunticus

Quote
This e-mail is intended for the above name(s) only. It may contain private and confidential information or material that is property of Digital City (UK) Ltd and is under copyright. You must not copy, show or use the contents of it to anyone [or what it describes] without the prior written consent of Digital City (UK) Ltd

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2010, 10:42:46 pm »
The question I want to ask is do the Councillors involved in this debacle represent the people of Swindon or Digital City and who pays for their services?

Offline Steve Wakefield

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The question I want to ask is do the Councillors involved in this debacle represent the people of Swindon or Digital City and who pays for their services?

Des Morgan TS member has started to question the Deputy Leader's assertions. He is obviously not gagged as he is on the board, but then why did he not answer Cllr Bob Wrights section 15 questions?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/8473589.Letter_from_Des_Morgan/

I remember when gagging meant something completly different a reflex to spit out or not to swallow. Hmm maybe gagging is an appropriate word after all, as on the face of it, it appears that some have not swallowed all or part of the the Wi-fi story so far?

Will Robert Buckland MP now start to ask questions, just like his predecessor? I ask as the questions asked by Anne Snelgrove are as far as I am aware unanswered? Ball passed over to you our; New Conservative MPs :popcorn:

(I believe as a local councillor it is a not an unreasonable request/expectation for me to ask them through the public forum of TS to question this wi-fi project on behalf of their constituents. After all  Highworth is in the North Justin Tomlinson, and Robert Buckland defeated Anne who had secured an adjournement debate in Parliament).
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Chav

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The question I want to ask is do the Councillors involved in this debacle represent the people of Swindon or Digital City and who pays for their services?

Des Morgan TS member has started to question the Deputy Leader's assertions. He is obviously not gagged as he is on the board, but then why did he not answer Cllr Bob Wrights section 15 questions?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/8473589.Letter_from_Des_Morgan/

I remember when gagging meant something completly different a reflex to spit out or not to swallow. Hmm maybe gagging is an appropriate word after all, as on the face of it, it appears that some have not swallowed all or part of the the Wi-fi story so far?



ooh I say Mr W - are you sharing an experience  :o
You remember when !!! , where and how was this exactly  :2funny:
(the last time you gulp a hotdog and mustard down in one - I bet)

Sorry, but I am still in stitches now as you come across as being so prim and proper  :azn:
I bet your a right little wolf in sheep's clothing aren't you  :angel:

Either that or you are a secret chav - welcome to the jungle  ;D
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2010, 10:20:43 am »
Sorry Chav you have completely lost me on this one, are you saying I have  :embarassed: myself by using some Chav speak? I was referring to the fact that the wi-fi train of events is possibly proving just a tad to hard to for us all to swallow? That is all, no jungle references intended.   ::)

From wiki:

The word "gag" has come to have various extended meanings, for example:

Various sorts of laws and orders preventing or stopping discussion or revealing of information, e.g., a parliamentary procedure to end a debate. See gag order.
A gag rule can be a part of court proceedings and congressional proceedings.
Gag (medical device), to keep the mouth open
The word "gag" has been used for a cloth tied over the mouth and nose when the purpose was not to prevent talking or screaming but to keep harmful dust out of the lungs.
The term "hand gag" is sometimes used for temporarily silencing someone with a hand over the mouth.
A gag bit is a special bit type used with horses.

"Gagging" may mean the feeling of nausea or vomiting.
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline James

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 07:01:39 pm »
They still haven't finished Highworth?

Oh dear.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 07:06:09 pm »
They still haven't finished Highworth?

Oh dear.

Are you stating this as fact James or asking the question?

If they have yet to finish Highworth and have not started anywhere else how long has this story got to run?

Interested to know if they are now paying for the DMJ and if not why not?

Do I feel vibrant about this?

No.................

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 07:51:33 pm »
They still haven't finished Highworth?

Oh dear.

Are you stating this as fact James or asking the question?

If they have yet to finish Highworth and have not started anywhere else how long has this story got to run?

Interested to know if they are now paying for the DMJ and if not why not?

Do I feel vibrant about this?

No.................

Highworth is not finished yet.

I think the the free year in DMJ finishes in Jan 2011.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2010, 10:19:00 pm »

I think Rikki's Rent Free Year is up for review in December 2010.

If I get a chance tomorrow I'll check the paperwork  :)

One wonders whether Rikki is running his other businesses from the free office in the DMJ.

Offline Drone

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2010, 07:00:30 am »
They still haven't finished Highworth?

Oh dear.

It was supposed to be completed at the end of September and then the rest of the borough by October 2011. Is there even any work being done in Highworth? Has anyone spotted Rikki up a lamp post recently?
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Ringer

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2010, 07:50:27 am »
Drone

On November 17th 2009 it was announced world wide including China and Russia that the world's first town wi-fi  would be operating on 5th December, but it snowed and it was put back to15th December with Robert Buckland Justin Tomlinson and a Spelman. was it to give it a bit of magic? It was also claimed it would be ready to use across the Borough by April 2010.

Australia on the back of the story sent someone over, remember that one? I think it is about time that this council (the other 58 members) got up off their back benches and scrutinsed this properly and beat the leader metaphysically speaking with the deadlines around the wifi box. Tory MPs are so quiet it is making people lament the passing of that Anne Snelgrove bandwagon woman. The new MPs should be out glowing Anne and Michael's reputations....... well that is what they promised didn't they? It appears now that Anne understood the value of £450,000 of local council taxpayers money to the people of Swindon, no doubt the new MPs do understand just as much as Michael and Anne did that £450,000 of council tax payers has been loaned out. 
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2010, 11:12:31 am »
[quote
Has anyone spotted Rikki up a lamp post recently?
[/quote]


No but I know a few people who will chase him with one if he doesn't deliver!!

Offline Mart

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Re: Lifting The Digital City Gag on Local Councillors
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2010, 10:18:48 pm »
One wonders whether Rikki is running his other businesses from the free office in the DMJ.

This one doesn't.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

 

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