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UPD NextGenUs UK CIC Runs Out of Money for Rural Broadband Initiative

Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2012 (8:25 am) - Score 1,209

NextGenUs UK CIC, a community focused broadband developer that hoped to bring superfast internet services to rural areas via a mix of fibre optic and wireless (WiFi) connections, has issued a general notice to creditors and customers informing them that the group has effectively run out of money. NextGenUs claims to have “exhausted all serious discussions with potential investors” and are “unable to secure any other viable sources of finance“.

Apparently the board concluded this week that there was “no realistic prospect” of “being able to pay its debt to creditors” or “for any services provided by creditors going forwards“. Luckily NextGenUs’s 500 customers in Hull and East Yorkshire will, at least for the time being, be protected free of charge by Quickline Communications. It’s hoped that should give them “time and opportunity” to find an alternative provider.

Meanwhile its customers in Cumbria, where the group had mooted plans for a “county-wide” rollout of faster broadband that was allegedly backed up by an investment of more than £1 Million, were initially told that the service would need to “cease forthwith“. But thankfully interest from a “serious potential investor” appears to have saved the situation.

NGU Statement

In the specific context of the largest network, Hull and East Yorkshire, where some 500 customer premises are affected, NGU is delighted to announce that Quickline Communications Limited has stepped up in the interim on a free of charge basis as regards wholesale internet backhaul to ensure continuity of service of NGU customers and to provide the time and opportunity for people to make choices as regards alternative service providers if they so wish.

NGU would further like to extend its thanks to the very supportive position taken by KCOM PLC in this difficult time.

The Board is of the opinion that this interim measure is consistent with acting in the best interests of the body of creditors as it keeps revenues flowing into the business and thereby maximises the asset value of the network infrastructure currently deployed.

Cumbria Update 5PM 13 March 2012 – following an enquiry by a serious potential investor, the Board has taken the view that service continuity can be maintained for Cumbria customers.

As regards the North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire networks, negotiations are ongoing with creditors and potential purchasers.

Customers will be receiving an email in the near future giving more information.

Prior to this NextGenUs had frequently touted its privately funded and community owned network model, where locals, supported by some private sector investment, would have helped to both build and manage the broadband infrastructure themselves (i.e. without any taxpayers money). In reality the project appears to have suffered due to some very public spats between directors, many of whom have since left,  not to mention several disagreements with public authorities and the odd rival (e.g. B4RN).

As recently as last month NextGenUs was threatening Cumbria County Council (CCC) with legal action (here) if it attempted to award taxpayers money from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office to BT. Last week it added to the problems by accusing a serving Lincolnshire County Councillor of potentially abusing his position. If burning bridges was a national pastime then NextGenUs would probably take 1st place.

Meanwhile NextGenUs’s customers, many of whom had previously been unable to receive a viable broadband ISP connection, now appear to have been left with little in the way of alternatives. It’s hoped that a solution can be found for some of these but others might be forced back onto their old and often slower BT line.

UPDATE 15th March 2012

Quickline Communications has now stated that they will have “nothing further to do with with the caretaking of NGU network” (Karoo Forums). Apparently “new talks are taking place so true to our word we will step aside“. Customers are unlikely to be happy with all this uncertainty.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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