I just thought I’d point up an excellent post on the Pigblog by regular Brownhills Blog reader and commentator, The Stymaster. Just lately, there’s been a publicity push underway on Walsall’s ill-fated Gigaport project, which has led to some astonishment amongst twatter regulars and newspaper readers alike. It seems great things are around the corner, however the only taker so far is Walsall Housing Group (who are Walsall Council’s former Housing Department, now a housing association), now in the process of building a multi-million pound HQ in the development. After claiming penury, the association obtained relaxations on planning conditions and were sold the land in question by our equally cash-strapped burghers for a pound. That’s a £500,000 pound plus piece of development space, given to a former department of the council for £1. Absolutely no desperation there, then.
Amongst the claims made is one that BT will be installing the ‘latest’ 40Mb fibre broadband, a service that’s supposed to pull eager tech companies in from miles around – even though I can get, as a residential or business customer in Walsall, 50Mb Virginmedia cable broadband right now, with 25% higher capacity. The Stymaster focuses on this sales pitch, and points out that far better connections have been available for ages.
Whilst we’re being conditioned to expect cuts in facilities, services and provision by a financially incompetent council, it seems a bit odd that we’re expected to cheer as land is given away to kickstart what appears to be a pet project with little market appeal, apparently to justify the enormous expense of the failed ring road – whose signals malfunctioned for nearly a whole day this week due to a ‘BT fault’. From where I’m sitting, this is looking less like the 21st century, and more like a comedy of errors.