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Tom Keighley

Spanish firm behind Newcastle and Gateshead free Wi-Fi files for bankruptcy

A Spanish firm chosen to provide Newcastle and Gateshead with free Wi-Fi provision has filed for brankruptcy after admitting falsifying its company accounts for the last four years.

Madrid-based GOWEX had been due to deliver Wi-Fi as part of a government-backed ‘smart cities’ deal.

In a joint statement, Newcastle and Gateshead councils said there would be no financial loss to the council tax payer as a result of the events, and said they had not yet taken any further decisions on progressing the work.

The public area access project was due to receive funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) as part of the Go Digital Newcastle initiative.

In a statement on Sunday, GOWEX confirmed its CEO, Jenaro Garcia Martin, had resigned and that the company would file for bankruptcy.

The firm said: “The Board, anticipating that the Company might not be in a position to face its ongoing debts when they become due, has agreed to file for a declaration of voluntary insolvency, without prejudice of other measure that it may adopt for the best protection of the Company’s interests, regarding which it will immediately inform the market as soon as it might adopt them.”

In a joint statement, Newcastle and Gateshead Councils, said: “We are naturally concerned and very disappointed at the news that Lets Gowex SA, the associated company of Gowex (UK) Ltd who were procured – in common with many other major cities around the world - to provide public Wi-Fi, is in financial difficulties.

“The contract Newcastle and Gateshead have with Gowex (UK) Ltd did not rely on any financial investment from either council so there will be no financial loss to the council tax payer. Delivery under the contract with Gowex (UK) Ltd has not started.

“We are waiting for confirmation from Gowex (UK) Ltd before any further decisions are taken to progress this work.

“The contract with Gowex (UK) Ltd is just one part of our ambitious programme of delivering superfast broadband and Wi-Fi in the city.

“We remain committed to this important programme.”

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