Council accused of 'sabotaging' plans to make Slough the world's first 'Smart City'

James Hockaday

The CEO of a telecoms company has accused Slough Borough Council (SBC) of 'sabotaging' plans to install a 5G wireless connection across Slough.

In July 2016 start-up company Angie Communications Ltd announced it had reached an agreement with SBC to make Slough the world’s first ‘wireless gigabit and Smart City.'

The Netherlands based firm planned to build several 5G hubs across Slough which residents would pay £30 a month to access.

Angie's CEO Neal Lachman has told the Express the Angie funded project collapsed in mid-October.

He says SBC made a list of public buildings including Langley, Upton Lea, Cippenham and Westfield community centres for Angie to turn into wireless hubs.

However he claims SBC would not let Angie access the buildings in mid-October, saying it could take at least three months to gain permission.

"From that moment I think it was off the table," added Mr Lachman.

He said: "I think we were sabotaged in Slough.

"They [SBC] have zero knowledge about what we were going to bring to the table."

He says Angie, which is working on plans in London, five US cities and eight cities in the Netherlands, chose Slough because of its tech-hub status.

The Dutchman added: "We were sold on the fact that they understood tech but most of these guys don't understand tech at all."

He said SBC ignored his emails a few weeks both prior to his visit to Slough around the end of September and after being told Angie could not access the buildings in mid-October.

"I have people in my inbox that say we need this in Slough," added Mr Lachman.

Businesses and buildings with 10 or more occupants can still apply to become 10G wireless hubs, which neighbours can pay to use. Visit www.ang.ie for information.                                            

An SBC spokesperson said: "The council withdrew from the Memorandum of Understanding in October 2016 because we decided it was no longer appropriate or suitable to our needs."

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