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UPD4 Broadband Operator NextGenUs UK and Fibrestream Go into Administration

Friday, April 13th, 2012 (2:59 pm) - Score 1,142
nextgenus community broadband uk

NextGenUs UK CIC (NGU), the financially and seemingly also managerially troubled group that once aimed to become a community focused broadband developer for isolated rural areas, look set to go into formal joint administration by the end of today; subject to confirmation by the Leeds High Court.

The news follows last month’s issuance of a general notice to creditors and customers (here), which informed them that the operator had “no realistic prospect” of “being able to pay its debt to creditors” (i.e. they effectively ran out of money).

The situation certainly wasn’t helped by a series of very public spats between ex-directors of NGU, not to mention several disagreements with public authorities and the odd rival (e.g. B4RN). Meanwhile the operator’s customers, such as around 500 in Hull and East Yorkshire, continue to face an increasingly uncertain future.

NGU Statement

Subject to confirmation by Leeds High Court on Friday 13th April 2012, NextGenUs UK CIC and Fibrestream Limited will go into formal joint administration.

There are operating networks now looking for buyers in Hull and East Yorkshire, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and the highest bidder will win in order to maximise value for all creditors concerned.

Shortly details will be published as to who to formally contact if WISPs or local communities wish to put forward a serious offer for any or all of the networks.

There would be nothing to stop you from applying to set up your own community interest company in your area and purchasing the assets of NextGenus UK CIC, but the purchase must be for full market value.

Let the best bidder win!

The announcement is in stark contrast to a statement made by NGU’s current Managing Director, Guy Jarvis, whom earlier this month flatly stated that “neither NextGenUs Ltd nor any of its subsidiaries are in administration and any attempt to do so is and will be vigorously defended“. Unfortunately today’s expected outcome is perhaps overdue, which has only added to the ever increasing climate of uncertainty that customers have had to endure.

Administration occurs when a company, such as one that is in serious financial difficulty like NGU, is put into the hands of an administrator. The administrator decides whether or not they can help the company to continue running or sell it off for a good price. This effectively takes control away from the current owner and puts it into the administrator’s hands.

It’s believed that at least one of the operators former and somewhat disgruntled bosses, Simon Davison, has been working with several local ISPs (Sure Broadband and Quickline Communications) to help deliver an alternative solution for many of those affected. We would not be surprised if such a group made a play for what remains of NGU.

UPDATE 3:42pm

Redman Nichols Butler looks to have been appointed administrator and are currently reviewing several offers. However some or all of the NGU sale might have to happen today because the ISPs plan to “withdraw their service today“. Consequently, reports the administrator John Butler, “it is imperative any sale occurs today as continuity of service provision cannot be guaranteed and the value in the business will be severely eroded“.

UPDATE 14th April 2012

A post on the Karoo Forums states that “I am glad to report that Connexin has acquired the Nextgenus Hull and lincoln network assets. We will be working with customers to switch on to our new platform and system. Stay tuned for more information.

http://hull.connexin.co.uk

UPDATE 16th April 2012

The official line from Connexin has now been posted on their blog.

Connexin Statement

Struggling under poor management, NextGenUs was placed into administration on April 13th following an announcement in March that it was unable to pay its creditors and was facing bankruptcy. With almost 400 customers in Hull and 200 in Ashby and Digby, sizeable communities had come to rely on the service and would have been left stranded without their Internet connections if the company was not rescued.

CEO of Connexin, Furqan Alamgir, was happy to report on Friday that Connexin had formally purchased NextGenUs’ networks. Connexin worked with the administrators and negotiated with creditors to purchase the Hull, Ashby and Digby networks to ensure customers did not lose connectivity and in a wider effort to support the local community. Approximately 500 customers have had their connections saved by Connexins actions and a statement has been released that all customers who have paid a year up front with NextGenUs will have their contracts honoured by Connexin, given proof.

Management at Connexin request that customers remain patient during this transition phase as the company awaits key network access documentation from NextGenUs before it can formally take over the running of the networks. For any enquiries, customers in Hull can visit http://hull.connexin.co.uk or call on 01482 363738.

Connexin anticipate that handover will be completed quickly, at which point the network will be upgraded and customers will be offered superfast broadband plus a free local number with no line rental. The award-winning company operate a carrier grade phone service and provide internet services across the country and internationally. Founded by local Hull boys, Connexin have been keen to bring the service to Hull and East Yorkshire for some time to finally offer people choice in service.

Hopefully customers will not be left in turmoil for too much longer, provided NextGenUs delivers the needed “network access documentation“.

UPDATE 19th April 2012

A report on This is Hull states that Police arrested a 46 year old man, whom is believed to have had access to the codes and customer details of local ISP NextGenUs, after 100 homes lost their internet connection. The new network owners, Connexin, are understood to have called the Police after having their ability to deliver access obstructed. Those familiar with the situation will know exactly who this refers to.

The Police said that “The calls followed a posting on Facebook [by Connexin] urging concerned customers to contact the police after wi-fi was disconnected for several customers in east Hull. A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing a computer to perform a function to secure or enable unauthorised access to a program or data and has been released on police bail pending further inquiries until June.”

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