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Saturday, 12 November 2011

"Ozo The Bozo Just Can't Help Himself" PART 1

Ozouf under fire over Gigabit Jersey

Jersey's Treasury Minister is under fire over the £40 million plan to roll out superfast broadband with JT.

Cable and Wireless Jersey say there has been no public consultation, no discussions with rival telecom suppliers and no States debate.

CWJ say JTs plans for "Gigabit Jersey" need to be assessed by the regulator, the States, other telecom operators and islanders before public cash is handed over.

CWJ boss Graham Hughes has accused Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf and the board of JT of trying to railroad enormous public spending without any open consultation. In a document out today, Cable and Wireless list 49 separate concerns about JTs plans for providing superfast broadband - ranging from technical questions about how JT intends to provide every home with fibre-optic cabling, to broader issues about the options for alternative ways of providing superfast broadband at lower cost to the tax payer and questions about ensuring fair competition.

Mr Hughes went on to slam Senator Ozouf: "At this moment, if the Treasury Minister were to provide the £40 million of funding that JT says it needs, then he will have done so without seeking alternative proposals from other suppliers, without consulting with the industry and public or even his fellow States members.

"This would put him in a position where he could not possibly stand up and say that he has got the best value for money for the taxpayer, which he maintains is always a priority for all States departments. At the moment, we do not even know whether there is a need for superfast broadband in the island because nobody except the JT board and the Treasury Minister have seen JTs business case.

"We also do not know how much JT intends to charge islanders for superfast broadband or how they intend to allow competitors to access the network in order to provide fair competition that will give islanders the best value in superfast broadband".

And Mr Hughes raises the question that the Treasury Minister may have a conflict of interest: "It is hard to understand how, in times of economic difficulty, the Treasury Minister can even consider making a decision to spend tens of millions of pounds of public money without having all of the information, evidence and facts to inform that decision.

"If the Minister goes ahead with the funding without being in receipt of all the facts or without having launched a tender process for the rollout of a superfast broadband network, then it surely raises the possibility of there being a conflict between the role of Treasury Minister as the person responsible for seeking value for money in public spending and the Ministers role as the sole shareholder of JT".

1 comment:

  1. I find it interesting the JEP haven't yet covered this story despite it being on CTV, BBC Jersey, Radio Jersey, Channel 103...