In the interests of getting some much needed clarity on the extent of Swindon Borough Council’s support for the company planning to provide boroughwide wireless internet to Swindon, I’ve made some enquiries to the Council. This is a summary of their answers to my questions.
- The council’s 40% shareholding was obtained at nil cost, i.e. it did not cost anything in addition to the £450,000 provided as a loan.
- The decision to provide the loan was made by the Director of Finance (Mr McKellar), the Director of Law and Democratic Services (Mr Taylor) and the Group Director Business Transformation (Mr Patel).
- “[R]egarding support of planning applications for transmitters… no special or preferential treatment is being extended to Digital City UK Ltd regarding this matter. They are subject to the same process and regulations as any other company.”
- The offices provided to the company rent free in the David Murray John Tower had been vacant.
- “In terms of making the space fit for use… no additional cost has been incurred as a result of Digital City’s occupation.”
From those answers it appears that £450,000 is the limit of the council’s expenditure, so far, on this speculative venture.