Wednesday, 28 April 2010

That'll teach me to say town-wide wireless networking is a good thing

Way back in November I pointed out that my home town of Swindon was rolling out free public WiFi across the borough, which I thought was rather neat. It meant I had to speak up against those who were convinced they would not be able to go out of the house without it frying their brains - but it seemed really handy.

Not only would it be a benefit when you're out and about in Swindon, it should also help areas that don't have cable and have very poor internet connections through the telephone network.

Since then I hadn't heard anything more - but revelations were to start rolling when I attended a Swindon version of Question Time for candidates for the two parliamentary seats. It seems there have been big delays in rolling out the access. And worse, the Conservative-led council seems to have got itself in a real mess. Going against any common sense, they apparently awarded the contract for what was a major undertaking to a small, new company - and even loaned the company a very large sum of money to make it happen. Now I'm all in favour of supporting small/new companies, but I'm not sure this is the sort of project, dealing with taxpayers money, where such a company is the best way forward. And all this isn't helped by rumours that a council member didn't bother to declare being a director of the company.

I don't go back on my original position. It is a great idea, and if it works it's a great benefit for Swindon. It's just a pity that Swindon Council clearly called in the pointy-haired boss to consult on choice of company:



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