By: MarkJ - 25 January, 2011 (6:10 AM)
fibrecity dundee uk broadband logoThe i3 Group has formally sold off its UK subsidiaries (shares), which include its tempestuous Fibrecity project, H2O Networks, Opencity Media and Wireless Network Systems. The buyer, City Fibre Holdings, is a consortium led by Greg Mesch, i3's own former President and COO.

Elfed Thomas, CEO of the i3 Group, said:

"I started this business back in 2002 in order to focus on developing low cost methods, including the use of ready-made ducts, to build dark fibre optic networks to bring super fast connectivity to homes and businesses.

This sale to City Fibre Holdings brings the i3 Group's business in line with our international approach. I decided to concentrate on a licensed technology model withdrawing from the actual build of fibre optic networks, while allowing our licensed partners and other infrastructure specialists, to benefit from our fast to build and low cost methodologies of fibre deployment."

Fibrecity had been busy working to offer super-fast 100Mbps Fibre-to-the-Home ( FTTH ) broadband services in multiple cities around the UK, starting with Bournemouth and Dundee. However in the last 6 months both projects have hit rocky waters due to some shoddy "low cost" road works, problems with underground sewer access and financial uncertainty.

Last week the situation came to a head when Bournemouth Borough Council called a crucial meeting with the firm (here) to discuss serious concerns surrounding their future plans and damage caused to the town's infrastructure. We have been trying to find out what happened in this meeting, although so far the only reply has been silence.

Bournemouth Councillor, Peter Charon, said last week:

"We have been concerned over the project since the work ceased in October 2010, leaving a number of roads and pavements needing remedial work. As Fibrecity is a statutory undertaker we are unable to prevent the work, however we will be insisting all the works are carried out to a high standard and, where this is not the case, additional work carried out.

Whilst a delay in the works resulting in the restructure of the company is understandable it is unacceptable that residents and businesses are kept in the dark on the progress of the project. Fibrecity also need to inform those residents who have signed up to receive the cables where they stand. The growing uncertainty could potentially undermine the project. We are determined to get this situation resolved as quickly as possible in the best interests of the people of Bournemouth."

It's claimed that the management team of this "new" company, City Fibre Holdings, has extensive experience of building highly successful fibre optic broadband networks. Greg Mesch is also Non Executive Director of EuNetworks Group, a public-listed fibre optic based operator in 13 major metropolitan markets around Europe.

Fibre Associates, i3 America, i3 Asia Pacific and i3 Europe will remain part of the i3 Group. However, despite focusing more on non-UK projects, the i3 Group will still have its head quarters in the UK.

City Fibre Holdings' new strategy will be revealed over the coming weeks, which will hopefully signal good news for concerned Councillors' in both Bournemouth and Dundee.
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Comments: 10

asa logoGiven up waiting
Posted: 26 January, 2011 - 5:49 PM
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Ah well, that's the end of that then!

i3 have clearly dumped the rubbish loss making bit and kept the good, the new owners will strip it of all its worth, fill in a few holes left in the street, leave Nexus out of pocket to the tune of 500k and disappear!

And in years to come people will ask what those funny little grey boxes are on the front of your house! Lol

I feel sorry for the isp's who signed up to it and the half dozen who actually got connected (yep you over the other side of ringwood rd). Surely fibreband and velocity1 can't continue to service clients with no network?

A sorry state of affairs all round.
asa logoBTSUCKS
Posted: 27 January, 2011 - 1:40 AM
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To be honest in that area i dont blame them. Water board changed their mind and forced them to rethink plans in that area. Council then obviously isnt happy with the work done.

So they basically said screw you all then we are off, if all you want to do is complain and make life difficult why should they even bother with the area?

If i owned the company id had done the same thing, now let the whinging council sort out their pavements and go beg some other gullable sap to roll out a service to their area.
asa logoGiven up waiting
Posted: 27 January, 2011 - 7:59 AM
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I agree, although if they didn't have confirmed contract to go ahead with the sewer project why start in the first place? Or if they did what happened to make Wessex Water back out? If they continue with the Dundee project, which is using the sewers then your probable right and I couldn't blame them either.

Besides all that though, I can't understand why they connected up 100 or so homes, activated it, then moved on to install 1000's more but not switch it on, I've had the cabling to my house for well over a year and they never came back to switch it on? More subcribers would/may have installed confidence in the ISP's and more biggers names would have signed up? And the connected would have been telling friends/family in the next area how great (bad?) it was etc.....

Maybe they had already started to run out of money and could afford the ONT boxes to put inside the house?
asa logoJonas
Posted: 29 January, 2011 - 6:50 AM
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i3 Group are debt ridden and have numerous law suits pending from subcontractors , suppliers and disgruntled ex members of staff who have been very badly treated!
All the staff that went over as part of the disposal of the i3 group companies are now at risk of redundancy.
I smell a rat, asset stripping , so much so the SFO are investigating one of the companies .
asa logoA Outsider
Posted: 2 February, 2011 - 5:19 PM
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This technology may be OK for small scale point to point networks but mass market is a different can of worms.

It was clear from day 1 that the cost per connection was in the hundreds of pounds (ask any cable, gas, electric, BT contractor), and as a result this was never going to be a viable business in the mass market.

Sorry for the folks who got their hopes unrealistically raised, and sorry for i3's suppliers who have been left considerably out of pocket (half a million for the streetworks company??).
asa logoihaveadream
Posted: 16 February, 2011 - 8:15 PM
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You know those guys that bought out Fibrecity are serious telecom guys. They have rasied over 2 billion in their past telecom companies. Just research Esat and Versatel. These are not guys that are asset strippers and flippers. If anyone can make a run at building a true alternative telecom operator then why not people that have done it before. I am sure they inheritied a mess - good luck to them. I am willing to give them my support - i have a dream of 100mps........
asa logoHavenonet
Posted: 24 February, 2011 - 8:19 PM
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Well I was connected, good when it worked then got turned off with no warning last Friday!!Have a nightmare getting my phone line back !!What about the 12 month contractsfrown I guess only works the other way round.
asa logojoe blogs
Posted: 28 February, 2011 - 8:11 PM
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sadder ..... very very very sad by all this...i only found out today by fiberband that fibercity should of notified me ages ago about there so called problem. I have been on the waiting list for over 5 years!mad
anyone know what company can give me fiber optics to my front door and not copper wire! (virgin) shifty
asa logoeyeing it
Posted: 5 April, 2011 - 3:14 PM
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Didnt you see it coming samething in Reading NTL disruption and chaos,went bust.Its old tech. What happened to Swinden all those years ago? Dodgy Deals !!
asa logocontractor
Posted: 17 April, 2011 - 6:06 PM
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well im sorry to that there isnt an alternative to the other mogul providers but one of problems they had was their subcontractor who having seen myself were not following nrswa (streetworks ) highway creditation the cables were laid to shallow barely 200mm the general rule is 600mm and if you dont reinstate the highway to a certain level of accuracy the council can fine the firms thousands of pounds but saying that the contractors have been working on the roads and pavements for quite a while and where were the council highway inspectors ? who should have checked the scope of works a long time before it came to this and i work in the water industry so no you cannot put cables down sewers because sanitary towels etc could get snagged on the cables causing blockages then the water firms would have to use a high pressure jet hose to clear which could cut the cable

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