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Anonymous
(Unregistered)Thu 17-May-12 12:32:17
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
If your hero really was keen on free community wireless and was as keen on the "free" and "community" aspects as he claims to be, surely he'd be looking to share his ideas across a wide audience, including potential users, other potential providers, yes? Share and enjoy, maximise the community benefits?

I actually quite like the concepts and goals described in the PR material, which talk about very laudable goals (just the kind of thing you'd have needed to get Big Society funding, if there ever had been anything worth having).

You might also have thought that the right kind of organisation to do this kind of "community" thing was a Community Interest Company (there are thousands of these across the UK, and some of them are even involved in things like broadband delivery, with varying levels of visibility and varying levels of success).

Is that what we see here?

As far as I can tell commercially we see a standard for-profit Limited Company setup (icbw).

Certainly when Peter is here in person he has given the impression that ultimately he isn't interested unless there's money in it for his organisation. We don't appear to see a man with a historic track record of community-centred activities. Not yet anyway.

Please excuse my scepticism, but...
Standard User communityuk
(newbie) Thu 17-May-12 15:24:33
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Firstly,

Thank you to the anonymous poster above for your support. Whilst I do agree with many of your sentiments, I do think they could have been put in a less aggressive manner. But again, thanks for the support.

I think I need to explain myself a little better here to try and bring this barrage of posts into a little more of a constructive thread that does indeed help and contribute better across the board.

My company, CommunityUK.net was started in 2009 as a result of a Community based project in Leigh Park in Hampshire that had been running for a year before. It actually only started trading over a year later, when the relationship with 5Miles was severed.

Apart from an initial chunk of funding from the E-Learning Foundation to get the project off the ground, we have driven the project forward ourselves without any further financial help, contributing our own time for free and an awful lot of my own money. Not one of the directors has received a salary since the project started. Such is our belief in what we are doing.

Yes we are a private Ltd company but we ARE one with a genuine social conscience and an absolute belief that a business can indeed grow, profit and generate wealth whilst STILL contributing to and supporting it's community.

I/We believe very strongly that access to technology and the internet is the absolute right of every member of any community regardless of financial capability, educational level or geographical location. I also believe that it should not be held to ransom by a few large organisations that continue to overprice everything about it and profit from a virtual monopoly.

Without consistent access to the internet and all the facilities it provides, our children will fall behind educationally even further than they are now. Average people will be denied access to the services they need to use and generally, we will continue to fall behind the rest of the world in our overall capabilities and competitiveness as we are now.

Overall, without this access, our society will degenerate further and we will continue to blindly follow the lead of the USA and other countries that deliver these facilities to their people in far better ways than we do and also encourage and applaud innovation and endeavour the way that we so clearly don't.

CommunityUK, I believe, is NOT just about a wireless broadband network. It is about our "Community Networking" concept and our strong Social ethos. We also believe that by building a business that exhibits the ability to generate honest profit and wealth for its owners and employees whilst genuinely, clearly and consistently contributing and giving back to the communities it works within is an example to many that should be attractive and inspiring.

I know that many of you will continue to doubt the sincerity of these statements. I/we are used to this and will not let it phase us or stop us doing what we do. If I said I do not care what you guys think, I would be a liar. Of course I do. I would like ALL of you to believe and support what we are trying to do. However, I know that the reality is that won't happen with anything but a few of you.

As I said, it will not stop us but I would far rather you maybe stepped back a little, tried not to judge me or CUK by totally negative but perhaps understandable standards set by others and gave us a chance and even a little support.

With regard to the progress we are making, I assure you it is genuine and real.

We have MET with Mike K at BDUK, we DO have genuine meaningful contact at DEFRA together with real support and belief at some very high levels. This is not just "name dropping" this is an attempt to show you we are genuine and this is all a result of long and hard work, lobbying and more. Not just a few phone calls.

We ARE engaged now in a strongly supported development strategy for CommunityUK that has real belief behind it and, on paper and in the minds of those behind it and beside it (organisations and individuals), the very strongest probability of success.

To succeed in anything but the mediocre, to really do great things, you MUST be prepared to take the flack you will get. The opposition and resistance from those who want to stop you has to be fought hard and you must have the stamina and belief to keep doing this. SImply put, nothing truly worthwhile is easy and I don't expect this to be. We will carry on driving towards the success both we and all the communities we work and will work with deserve.

Most importantly, we DO want to make the benefits of what we have been doing and achieving in these areas available to ALL who genuinely want to collaborate with us. We just do not have the time to waste revealing and discussing all our models and processes and approaches with this who clearly do not. Surely this is understandable?

I am not just trying to be "flippant" in any way or intentionally trying to upset or offend anyone. I am simply fighting my corner and protecting the interests of not just my company but the cause we are involved in.

Again and again I have stated here that we will be happy to disclose all that is necessary to any community or organisation that genuinely wishes to work with us. Yes we will ask for NDA's etc. where necessary but what sensible organisation would not?

We are attempting something that is somewhat radical and the many organisations that make huge sums of money from what we want to give freely away are going to oppose us in any way they can, regardless of how unpleasant, underhand or distasteful that may be. Do you guys really believe we do not expect that?

However, if we succeed in forcing this sea change in the way internet access is delivered and used, then many, many people, not to mention the UK as a whole will hugely benefit from it. As I said the effort is worth it.

As to our Wireless networks, I fully understand the feelings of those industry experts who visit here and indeed many of their doubts.

The simple fact is, I and CUK genuinely believe in the capabilities of Wireless Technology in the delivery of internet access. Both in what it can do now and what it will be able to do in the future as the technology continues to progress.

To me, it is clear that so many communities in the UK are currently digitally excluded (be that through geography or finance) when they do not need to be because a cost effective wireless solution and the distribution of overpriced bandwidth cheaply or freely is seen so negatively.

If you are a genuine exponent of Wireless solutions (which I presume most of you are) and understand the economics and ACTUAL current bandwidth needs of the average individual, then you already know I am talking sense. You know we do not need complicated technical "Rocket Science" to make it work. Get these solutions into communities that need them NOW and freely if possible.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are already releasing something in the region of £30000 per month back into the pockets of the residents of Leigh Park who use our system. This means that instead of lining the pockets of BT, Virgin etc. and their shareholders, these people can spend money in local shops and businesses and help regenerate their own community. By the time we have finished there, this could be in the region of £250,000 per month. Imagine the impact of that in an area where shops are closing, people are out of work and self belief and belief in their community and the UK is at a huge low??

I am sure someone clever will remark something like "more money for them to buy drugs, booze etc. with" or something like that. We know you will so do not bother. I can tell you from long personal experience that Leigh Park and communities like it are absolutely brimming with genuine, law abiding ad indeed inspirational people (i.e. Louise Austin's earlier post) that will use this money very well indeed.

Regardless of the cynicism shown here, our Wireless networks are genuinely working and have been built in such a way that upgrading and enhancing to newer, faster more powerful Wireless technologies will be straightforward when required. Why would anyone actually want to knock this. If you do not believe, give me a call and I will arrange to personally take you round Leigh Park, see and experience our service and even meet some of the people it is helping. Is that not fair enough?

As to me personally. I have had an eventful career that has been punctuated by both great success and some failures. I hope I have learned from both. Now as MD of CUK I devote my whole time to this project and the little I have left to other community activities such as being a STEM Ambassador in Schools (see STEMNET.org.uk), working with the Havant Children's University, supporting Havant Women's Aid, acting as a Business Mentor for Headteachers in Portsmouth Schools, working on the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth Project and a few other things. I can promise you I genuinely try my best to be as "community-centred" as I can be.

SO..........

I hope that this somewhat longwinded missive, if you have taken the time to read it (thank you if you have) can go some way to at least making you all think a little better of CUK and what we are trying to do and perhaps encourage some of you to cease your constant, wholly unwarranted attacks and instead maybe engage in a more productive and constructive way that will benefit us all.

Bye for now smile

Regards,
Peter Reed-Forrester
CommunityUK.net Ltd
Tel: 0845 077 4014
Mob: 07828 075140
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.communityuk.net
Skype: peter.reed.forrester
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Sat 19-May-12 02:54:19
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: kijoma] [link to this post]
 
I beg to dream and differ from your hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives.


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Standard User BatBoy
(legend) Sat 19-May-12 09:26:15
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
on holiday


_____________________________________________________________________________________________ this is not usenet __________________
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Sat 19-May-12 11:03:27
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: communityuk] [link to this post]
 
I would far rather you maybe stepped back a little, tried not to judge me or CUK by totally negative but perhaps understandable standards set by others and gave us a chance and even a little support.

Fair comment Peter. As I said earlier, the goals are laudable and the concept does have my support, and if the existing users are happy, that's fantastic too, long may it continue. I'm also aware of what STEM is about, and say well done in that respect too.

Anything that offers effective competition to BT/Virgin is good by me, and if it has community benefits too, even better.

The delivery mechanism - how the concept is delivered, not just how the web pages and bits are delivered - is where the detail questions arise.

Not one of the directors has received a salary since the project started.

Interesting choice of words. Salary is not the only way to pay a director a significant income, as anyone who's been near IT contracting (which is lots of folk round here) will know. Am I reading too much into it?

Anyway, moving on.

My crystal ball (which is far from reliable) says this looks like an ideal opportunity to build a local business model which can then be franchised out (for profit), wherever community startup funding is readily available following a documented process.

Nothing wrong with that, especially if done openly and honestly. Sometimes these things work well for franchisor and franchisee and user/customer community.

Obviously franchising works better if there's lots of cheap publicity for the concept but the implementation details are kept secret until paid for by the franchisees.

On the other hand, genuine community projects arguably work better/cheaper when significant amounts of money aren't extracted from the community (or from wherever the community funding comes from) for personal/corporate profit. Of course not everybody agrees with that statement, otherwise privatisation of various parts of the welfare state wouldn't be such a hot topic.

What actually matters much of the time in these things is competence and decency and fitness for purpose, and that is not confined exclusively to either private sector or public sector, whatever the Millionaires' Cabinet may want us to believe.

There's a balance to be struck.

Again, I applaud the goals, and I like the concept. All that leaves is the little bit in between concept and delivery, the bit the project plans/business plans sometimes label "miracle needed here".

Meanwhile, readers wanting to form a more complete picture might want to have a look at Peter's contribution at
http://www.linkedin.com/answers/hiring-human-resourc...

No need to follow the link unless the extract I'm about to post in the next note here, on the dubious grounds of "fair use", gets deleted (it's LinkedIn's text now, not Peter's, definitely not mine or TBB's).
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Sat 19-May-12 11:06:23
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
As promised.

Short extract from
http://www.linkedin.com/answers/hiring-human-resourc...

From a “franchise” viewpoint, my feeling is that you should go for a centralised, hosted solution that you can role out to all new franchisees as part of the package.

This way, you would encourage inter-franchise communication and revenue generation as well as retaining ultimate control of the centralised data etc. giving you the opportunity, for example, for performance monitoring across the group allowing you to spot trends, provide proactive assistance to franchisees and much more.

As with pretty much all of these systems, you need to plan and execute a professional project to ensure that the right system is chosen and that you customise and implement it correctly to ensure maximum functionality and ROI.

This will include covering issues/areas such as initial Business Requirements and Process Analysis to produce an overall specification for the system your business needs. Resource planning, implementation/testing, roll-out and training plan, technical and end-user documentation etc. etc.

This is an area I/we have much experience in and I would be happy to discuss how we could assist you with an independent view and guidance to ensure you both choose the right system and implement it correctly.

Let me know when would be convenient to call and on what number.

Regards,
Peter J Reed-Forrester
Whitewave Solutions Ltd
Standard User communityuk
(newbie) Sun 20-May-12 17:28:13
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
HI,

Thank you for your comments and I am glad that you see the positives in what we are trying to achieve.

Re the salary comment, yes you are reading too much into it.

As I stated, none of the Directors have received a salary since the project started. We have only received payment of reimbursable expenses we have legitimately incurred during the course of normal business etc. and this doesn't include loads of big lunches, "business trips" or anything else that could come under legitimate questioning!

Actually, the only person who get's a salary is our young IT apprentice, who is a lad from Leigh Park who volunteered with us whilst at school and college and then joined us.

I hope that clears that issue up for you.

As to the future, we are actually looking right now at different models for expanding the project across the UK. Especially as real engagement with the local community is ket to its success. The opportunity to be at the forefront of creating employment and personal development opportunities etc. in the areas we go to is a core part of our ethos. We want to lead by example.

The Franchise option you describe is indeed being looked at. However, sometimes the most suitable and deserving people we should consider are not those who can spend thousands on buying a franchise but can benefit from an opportunity to become part of the team and contribute to the initiative as a whole. As I said though, yet to be finally decided.

In addition, we are starting the CommunityUK Foundation for Digital Inclusion as a separate Charitable organisation with the objective of helping communities and NFP organisations etc. to fund projects that are relevant, including the roll out of free WiFi Broadband and the Community Networking concept. It is our intention that CUK the Ltd company will donate a % of its profits each year to the foundation too.

Whilst I agree that the road we are travelling isn't going to be the easiest, I do not believe we need a miracle. we just need people across "CommunityUK" to see that it is possible. That's the real challenge and we more than ready to meet it.

Regards,
Peter Reed-Forrester
CommunityUK.net Ltd
Tel: 0845 077 4014
Mob: 07828 075140
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.communityuk.net
Skype: peter.reed.forrester
Standard User communityuk
(newbie) Sun 20-May-12 17:41:40
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
Hi

In reply to a post by Anonymous:
The probem is that a random startup company with less than a 1000 customers comes on to a technical forum to try and get some free advertising.


Just to let you know we already have over a 1000 registered users with CommunityUK and are growing at a rate of knots week in and week out through little more than word of mouth.

We also want to genuinely engage with our peers not just promote our company (although I would be a fool to ignore that bonus).

I think you other comments have been adequately answered in my other posts above.

Regards,
Peter Reed-Forrester
CommunityUK.net Ltd
Tel: 0845 077 4014
Mob: 07828 075140
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.communityuk.net
Skype: peter.reed.forrester
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Sun 20-May-12 22:11:28
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: communityuk] [link to this post]
 
sometimes the most suitable and deserving people we should consider are not those who can spend thousands on buying a franchise but can benefit from an opportunity to become part of the team and contribute to the initiative as a whole.

That simple sentence is, in its own way, one of the most amazing sentences I have heard in a good while. In a *good* way, especially when combined with the charity foundation.

There is a small but (isn't there always):

It is our intention that CUK the Ltd company will donate a % of its profits each year to the foundation too.

You probably weren't to know this, but there's a tiny ISP well known around here (though not well known in the market) that promised something like that too. Some people think it didn't work out too well.

You are venturing into territory where there are lots of people here who know lots of history, sometimes quite unhappy history (the history of WISPs in general is a bit mixed). Scepticism is to be expected. Thanks for putting up with it, and best of luck. I'm out of here, things to go, places to do, etc.
Standard User anon1
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 26-May-12 16:51:50
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Re: FREE Community WiFi Broadband - Not a myth!!


[re: Anonymous] [link to this post]
 
I had to have a good laugh. You hide behind an Anonymous tag and demand transparency.
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