Author Topic: More WiFi Lies exposed?  (Read 4727 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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More WiFi Lies exposed?
« on: November 01, 2010, 12:57:10 pm »
At a Cabinet meeting held on the on the 10th of March 2010, Rod Bluh & his colleagues voted to 'vary' the terms of a loan agreement with Digital City (UK) Ltd in order to release a further £250,000 of public money to the company - despite the company having failed to meet progress targets it had previously agreed to.

Contained in the minutes of that meeting, on page 97 to be exact, is the following paragraph:

Quote
2.3.2. Proposed variation: Highworth network installed, working and accessible to 90% of households and a commitment made that the two remaining router installations that enable consistent coverage for the outstanding 10% of Highworth will be completed within a week of planning consent being granted.


Meaning, as I understand it, that the WiFi 'enmeshment' of Highworth would be comple ted within one week, or 7 working days, of planning consent being granted for two lamp posts to be erected, upon which WiFi routers would be quickly installed.

On teh 6th of October 2010 the Swindon Advertiser reported Rikki Hunt, CEO of Digital City as having said:

Quote
"delays had been due to technical issues, including installation of wi-fi boxes on concrete lampposts, and council bureaucracy."


Today, whilst listening to Swindon 105.5 Fm, I'm damn sure I heard Des Morgan say that, six months after Digital City was given another £250,00 of our money, no planning application has yet been submitted to SBC in relation to the lamp posts that Digital City needs to install in Highworth to finish the pilot scheme.

This begs the questions:

Did Digital City (UK) Ltd ever intend to finish Highworth, even though it had been loaned the money to WiFi the entire borough?

Has Councillor Perkins, Deputy leader of the council and Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd, been aware of this all along and that this is one more reason why he refuses to answers questions about the WiFi'asco?

As the second loan installment (£250,000) was released very, very early to 'prevent the project stalling'*, but no further work appears to have been done with that money, or likely to be done with that money, should the Chair of the Scrutiny committee, Cllr Kevin Small, now re-scrutinise the entire wifi deal, bottom to top and find out what the hell has happened to £400,000 of public money that would have been better used elsewhere? 



* SBC briefing risk-management briefing note:

Quote
"The key risk in delaying further funding is that Digital City will not be in a position to progress full Borough coverage, meaning that the project is likely to stall and the original loan amount of £150k will be in jeopardy. Until such time as the full network is in place the ability of Digital City (UK) Limited to deliver public and private sector sales is significantly diminished."


By SBC's own measurements and risk analysis, the wifi'asco failed some time ago.

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 01:23:28 pm »

Today, whilst listening to Swindon 105.5 Fm, I'm damn sure I heard Des Morgan say that, six months after Digital City was given another £250,00 of our money, no planning application has yet been submitted to SBC in relation to the lamp posts that Digital City needs to install in Highworth to finish the pilot scheme.


Geoff, You heard right.   >:(

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 01:44:24 pm »
Geoff, You heard right.   >:(

Well you can all hear it again, if you care to tune into Swindon 105.5 Community radio Daring To Be Different. 2pm Wednesday.  :coffee:
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: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 03:12:30 pm »
Why isn't our local media all over this...?

At a time of such financial restraint, wastage of cash on this scale should be a resignation issue, surely?
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 Richard Symonds

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 04:01:52 pm »
Why isn't our local media all over this...?

At a time of such financial restraint, wastage of cash on this scale should be a resignation issue, surely?

You may ask that question Tobes, but I wouldn't hold my breath for an answer if I were you!!

but...........

I wonder which one of the impending cuts actually gulvanises the people of Swindon into action?

and then...........

things will get interesting!

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 05:08:30 pm »
Rikki Hunt did say that "delays had been due to technical issues, including installation of wi-fi boxes on concrete lampposts, and council bureaucracy."

I was mystified by this as you will recall that Council officer Hitesh Patel was mandated to make everything go smoothly for Digital City.

I re-read the minute and thought the only 'bureaucratic' issue that was outstanding was the planning consent.

I foolishly assumed the phrase 'awaiting planning consent' implied that a planning application had been submitted. I mean to say how can you be 'waiting' for a response unless you have asked a question?

The Borough Solicitor has confirmed that "aQovia did not apply for planning" which begs the question "why is Highworth not yet 100% complete" that it isn't is confirmed on the Digital City website.

According to SBC (see page 95 of the report referred to) "there is now a real business imperative to build on this momentum, to continue rolling out the Wi-Fi network across Swindon"  I hesitate to ask 'what momentum?' 

Councillors - the project has stalled, come to a grinding halt, going no where - the proof is in the facts given by Mr Hunt.

In attempting to explain the Highworth delay, Mr Hunt cites two issues, one is the concrete lamp posts the other is the short lamp posts.  In December i made SBC aware of the lamp post problem but they simply ignored my warning - once again they knew best despite Norwich having exactly the same problems.

Of course the two reasons are not the same given for the delay back in March - then it was simply a matter of obtaining planning consent to install two repeaters. So guys which was it?

The reality is that hardly anyone i speak to believes the hyperbole that there is any 'real' interest from public, private partnership or sponsors and many of us are sceptical of the hype which suggests that the four variations agreed back in March were 'practical and commercially pragmatic'.  What they quite clearly were, was a means to an end. For without them there was no legal way the Cabinet could release the additional monies a point confirmed in minute 1.5 (page 96)

Councillors will once again raise their hands in horror - not at the revelation that the planning application they believed had been made was a fiction, but at the continued examination and scrutiny of this project by the public. It is not too harsh to suggest that 'they hate us' for questionning them and for challenging their dodgy plans.



Offline Ringer

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 06:02:21 pm »
Does that mean in lay speak that the council should not have released the money yet? I am confused as when the council stated it had a Director on the board, but then said that it did not mean that they had a Director on the board, but had a Director on the board? Its all a load of old semantics if you ask me or is it more  like something from Allo Allo?

I must go to night school and undertake lessons in what the English language actually means, as SBC concillors/officers from the point Des raises, appear to have different interpretations to I? I must be an :idiot2: as I thought in plain English a word meant to those using it, something similar not completly different? I need to lie down now in a dark room with both a dictionary and a thesaurus and struggle on.

Calculus is obviously my next challenge with the report on the Beady eye thread, for in that one councillor Perkins states that Highworth is now 95%  complete. He is on the board and I think I now know what that means. I read somewhere that in March it was 90% complete and awaiting two routers, or did I misread that also?

If Des is correct, and it is not 100% complete then when was the other 5% completed? Is that 1 router up and 1 to go? Or is 90% the new 95% or is that only common to Highworth? It is possible that a technical fix was found to put the router/routers up? Inside the works as a kid I was sent to the stores for some skyhooks usefull things they were too, did that happen to anyone else? I also was sent to the stores for a long wait do you  think the people of Swindon have been asked to do the same ?  :2funny:

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Offline Drone

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 06:36:57 pm »
Is this the point where the whole Wi_fi debacle stops looking like sheer incompetence and exaggeration and starts looking like strategic corruption and collusion?
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Ringer

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 06:45:35 pm »
Is this the point where the whole Wi_fi debacle stops looking like sheer incompetence and exaggeration and starts looking like strategic corruption and collusion?

Drone

There are words you have used there that I think I understand understand? Do they have the same meaning to both you and I?  As you know the meaning is important and I think the gist of what you are saying/mean is; it cockup or conspiracy?  :idiot2:
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Offline Drone

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2010, 06:54:31 pm »
Yup - cock-up or conspiracy. Are we defending liars or w***ers, to paraphrase Malcolm Tucker.
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Ringer

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2010, 07:13:31 pm »
Yup - cock-up or conspiracy. Are we defending liars or w***ers, to paraphrase Malcolm Tucker.

I know I am not defending anyone cockerupper, conspirator or T***er (does that mean the same as w***nker?) They whom ever they be can defend themselves and their own reputations. I am just one of half a dozen people that read TS or so it has been claimed on here today. So what would I know what Malcolm Tucker thinks he is obviously not in the thick of it like the magnificent half dozen on TS? Does he post often on TS?

This is from Signal website

The majority of those with an SN6 7 post code can now enjoy 2 hours free internet, or upgrade to our 24/7 faster paid service for just £9.99 per month, and the first month is FREE.

For those of you in Highworth that we cannot get to at present I hope the following explanation helps,

To be able to cover the remaining area we have two challenges to overcome. Our equipment is mounted on lampposts and therefore our ability to provide coverage is predicated on the availability of appropriate street furniture. In some areas there are concrete lampposts on which we cannot mount our equipment because it is perceived to pose a weight threat to the structural integrity of the post, the second challenge is that we have a number of quite short posts or posts which are in dips, this makes it harder to get effective radio communication between posts.

In the medium to long term we are maintaining a dialogue with Swindon Borough Council who do have a programme of replacing concrete lampposts with more modern steel ones. As Street furniture is upgraded we hope to be able to extend our network coverage. We are not in a position to put a timetable on when this might happen


If you read the SBC website it is clear that the Parish or Town Council is responsible for street lighting so what SBC can do I don't know it is under the Towns control not SBC. Or is the last paragraph open to interpretation?
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Offline Mart

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2010, 09:13:33 pm »
I reckon you have:

Those who do not know what is going on and don't want to.

Those who do know what is going on and don't want to.

I reckon this is getting more like one of Stalin's little miracles every day, can't wait for those tractor production figures.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

Offline Tobes

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2010, 09:28:39 pm »
The W**nkery just gets better and better, eh? So now, in this time of total financial stricture, the success and viability of WiFi which we have already subbed to the tune of £450k+ now depends on further investment from us the rate payers to replace perfectly serviceable concrete lamposts with brand new 'Rikki friendly' ones...

All this, ANOTHER gaping hole in a piss poor plan - something which ought and should have come up if this whole debacle had been put up for proper public tender.
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Offline Ringer

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 08:41:02 am »
Tobes

Good points but it will be the rate payers of Highworth that will have to pay for the replacement, can it get any worse than the scenario you describe? The Highworth entry in the British Town Net says http://www.british-towns.net/en/level_4_display.asp?GetL3=943

The town of Highworth is an urban area that is larger than a village but smaller than a city. Unless Highworth grows to a size where it is elevated to a higher administrative status it is effectively a parish but to differentiate between the two at the turn of the last century towns were granted the right to allow their elected representatives call themselves a "Town Council" and to, from their number, elect a Mayor. Other than that they have the same legal rights and responsibilities as a Parish Council.

The Town Councils have many powers and some duties. (Cf. The Good Councillors Guide).

An example of a power is the one that allows the purchase and operation of street lighting. One duty requires the council to open the meetings to the press and public, with few exceptions. They manage local amenities in Highworth and have a watching brief on local issues and their opinion is noted by those higher authorities in matters concerning them such as local planning issues.


Tobes will this allow the councillors/officers to shift the  blame  for it all onto the good Burghers of Highworth? Has Des Morgan been chasing the wrong planners as surely the application should have been proposed, voted on and minuted by the tory Town Council? Is Mr Rikki John Hunt Director of the company  not to blame for this oversight after all? Cllr John Short has on a tory site somewhere http://www.swindonconservatives.com/page/79/ taken from the site a few seconds ago John serves on the Planning Committee, Health Scrutiny Committee, and the Appeals Committee, among others. His focus is on delivering real improvements for local residents. These have included the installation of security fencing at Newburgh Place, street lighting improvements on Swindon Road, As John was sitting on planning in March (was he on scrutiny? I see he was on Health Scrutiny did he sit on the wi-fi one?) and has been credited with obtaining street lighting in Swindon Road Highworth Luckily for Justin Tomlinson MP John Short is a tory councillor who used to work for the council in some capacity the tories have his expertise  on hand to sort this mess for them and can the tories big guns call on Cllr  John Short to  knock the town council into shape on this one?

Another thing about Highworth is it has no official town council site on the net that I can find  but it is wi-fi capital of the world here is the link to the not the official site http://www.highworth.co.uk/  Also it may of interest to you that the SBC website link that it promotes along with all its other official parish websites points to a political website. Should Gavin Jones allow this? The following link was taken from SBC website 10 secs ago http://www.highworthintouch.com/page/6/  Should SBC be using political links to conservative websites? Discuss or contact  Dave Sammels he is promoting it. One of the acheivements on the site is Approved improved lighting of the High Street and Market Square Isn't life interesting in Highworth? So does that mean that the Tories in Highworth on the council approve every street light? Where are the minutes of the Town Council are they on line? Odd question to ask you may think in the wi-fi capital of the world? If anyone can find them on line it may save Des Morgan an FOI through what do they know? Hang on a mo if the council is not online does that mean what do they know does not work for you? :-\
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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2010, 09:42:19 pm »
All I can attest to is that I asked the Borough Solicitor what was the time line in connection with the Planning Consent referred to in the Cabinet Agenda of 10th March 2010.

In my view and insofar as my question was concerned it is immaterial whether the application was made to Highworth Town Council or SBC.

What has now become public knowledge is that NO application was pending or even made by Digital City or aQovia.

This is even more intriguing as DC claimed in June (that is 3 months post the release of the additional £250,000) that further progress in Highworth was subject to 'planning permission'.  If it was, one wonders why they didn't make an application.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2010, 11:20:55 pm »

This is even more intriguing as DC claimed in June (that is 3 months post the release of the additional £250,000) that further progress in Highworth was subject to 'planning permission'.  If it was, one wonders why they didn't make an application.

It's the Keir Starmer approach to successfully avoiding satisfying the criteria for a prosecution:  e.g, I'll tell you what the criteria for prosecution are exactly, so you can avoid them completely.

Example Criteria:  'We're goin gto lend you another £250,000, but when planning consent has been obtained you must finish the installation Highworth'

Avoiding tactic:  Agree to conditions, Take money but do not apply for the planning permission which, if granted, means you will have to finish Highworth

In the meantime: Continue to pay oneself extravagant amounts each month from the loan money.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 10:04:12 am »
I am now starting to think this is nothing to do with Wi-fi at all but the pRodect had more to do with other cirteria.

Was this the reason why it was commercially sensitive?

What do you think?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2010, 09:06:58 am »

More wifi-lies are on the way. :popcorn:

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2010, 10:03:49 am »
According to Coun Perkins he doesn't accept that the work done by DC in Highworth pre April 2010 counts towards the point at which the Wi-Fi project was started, in fact according to Coun Perkins and in his view the project is only 6 months old:

Coun Perkins states Because of all the delaying tactics employed, this project was held up for six months and only cleared Scrutiny in April. Therefore this is just a half year, not a full year position.

The position we have reached is a full year position and not a half year one. Work in Highworth was started at the end of 2009 when the initial and agreed funding of £150,000 was made to Digital City. The initial funding of £150,000 was always a limited amount so as to limit any risk exposure to SBC and was always subject to ‘clear outcomes’ being achieved in Highworth, that point is clearly covered in Minute 1.2 of the Cabinet Agenda paper of 10 March 2010. All of those ‘outcomes’ were not achieved and some were subject to variation in order to facilitate the release of the further £250,000. The minute is quite clear that the funding would be amde in 3 tranches of £150,000 based on a results based formula


Offline Outoftowner

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2010, 12:24:04 pm »
So if you re-write the rules and are still in it up to your neck, re-write the calendar.

Offline Nadine Watts

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Re: More WiFi Lies exposed?
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2010, 02:09:06 pm »
So if you re-write the rules and are still in it up to your neck, re-write the calendar.

I am used to Facebook. If there was a "like" option I would press this!

 

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