I see that master Brown’s public relations spin on bringing “New” data services to town has received lots of discussion.
It’s amusing to see that lil ole feisty Joy’s comments in the August 17th edition of the Daily News. Her concerns about losing control over CityWest or the fact that CityWest is unable to make it’s “CashCow” 2006 dividend of $2-Million to the city has received little or no comment.
Undoubtedly the missed dividend is a result of their acquisition of Monarch Cable Systems… another obsolete services provider. Purchasing a company takes a lot of cash as does investing in bringing obsolete cable, telephone, internet and cellular infrastructure up to date.
Unfortunately Joy missed the point that the city has already lost control over CityWest to market forces. Does anyone really question whether we will witness CityWest’s downwards spiral as competition comes to Prince Rupert. Read through the comments in the other topic to see how CityWest will fare with real competition. Whereas the big boys ignored Prince Rupert in the past, this will no longer be the case.
Anyone with an inkling of financial, marketing or techical acumen should wonder how CityWest will fare against a full service cell provider or a telecom that pushes tv signal over standad phone lines. The fact that CityWest and it’s obsolete cable operations are now investing in updating it’s outdated infrastructure to prepare for competition leads one to question how it can afford to significantly invest in updating it’s services and pay an increased dividend at the same time? Smoke and mirrors won’t help when Telus, Rogers or Bell come to town.
In the same paper it was noted that the recently spun off corporation has not had an annual general meeting since incorporation. As we all know … an annual general meeting is where the management of a company reports out to its’ shareholders on what it is doing with the shareholders money entrusted to management’s care … and what the prospects for the future are.
The fact that a dividend was missed with out this public meeting leads one to wonder how CityWest is going to make this up over the next three years. Assuming City West is responsible for the interest on the two million dollars, they presumably will have to pay close to 3 million a year to play catch up.
I seem to recall smiling Herbert’s yammering about business demands for secrecy when the city spun off CityWest into itsâ€™ private fiefdom and purchased the Monarch assets. At that time there was no real chance for the public to consider whether this was a wise use of taxpayer’s funds. At that time, we were assured the professional board would bring accountability and transparency to the new CityWest operation.
As the company is apparently ignoring itsâ€™ own articles of incorporation, one has to wonder how professional and accountable this new board or city council is. If this city wasn’t the same one that failed to demand taxes from Skeena for many years and continued to spend as though payment was assured, Perhaps we could ignore a measly two million dollar dividend that was never received.
However in 2006 we all watched sewer, water and roads in this community continue to degrade at the same time our tax bill increased dramatically and we were unable to access the telecom services the rest of Canada takes for granted.
To hear Brown spout off that;
“the Fiber-link was the first step towards the Digital Cable TV planned for early fall and is also essential to the mobile data services, such as text-messaging capability and Blackberry devices, expected to be available in Prince Rupert as early as the end of the year”
is an insult to one’s intelligence.
Firstly we’ve had to wait all these years for fiber access because CityTel and it’s “Consultants” failed to reach a deal with Telus back when the underutilized fiber ring around town was put in place in the 90’s and second, fiber is not essential to mobile data services.
But there is a much more basic question to the question of the future of our “Cash Cow” that is not giving milk.
Should a small community in financial difficulty and trying to diversify and attract new business be engaged in the high risk telecom industry with a firm that is uncompetitive and painfully slow in providing new services?
Those in business know that the time to sell a business is when it is still profitable and you can recoup your investment rather than wait until the creditors wind the company up for you. If CityWest is unable to make its’ dividend payments perhaps it is time for Prince Rupert to sell off the anachronism that CityWest is and use the proceeds to pay down the city’s debt.
By the way… any guesses on how much City West is worth?
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