THE end is in finally in sight for Swindon’s wi-fi saga, it has been claimed.

The council’s 60-day non-disclosure agreement with a mystery investor ended yesterday.

It allowed Swindon Council to enter into confidential negotiations with a big name company, whose name it would not disclose, with a view to getting it on board the failing wi-fi project.

Now Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw) said they are close, although he refused to name a date, when any deal might be signed.

But asked if two weeks was a reasonable timeframe, he said: “I would hope it would be.

“There has been a very long meeting this week. They’ve laid out their proposals for us to look at their figures, and a very outline proposal for the next five years.

“At the moment our legal and financial people are going over the proposals put forward. There is a plan on the table.”

He also said: “One would have liked it to be completed several months ago, but one is often in other people’s hands.”

He said the objective of these negotiations, is to turn Digital City into a profitable business which will bring back revenue to the council, like Swindon Commercial Services.

Coun Perkins would only say that the mystery investor is “a very large telecoms organisation.”

Asked if it is a French company, as some rumours suggest, he said: “No, you’re wrong.”

Des Morgan, 59, a former company director, of Caraway Drive, and a regular contributor to the Adver’s letter pages on the subject, said: “We’ll be interested to see what the outcome of the deal will be. And whether the £400,000 will be paid back to the council at once.

“I hope that it is announced within the next two weeks because we have been waiting over six months since Garry Perkins first promised a deal was ‘imminent’ and ‘just around the corner.’ “I look forward to seeing what will happen to it, to the £400,000 loan and interest, and whether the proposals that come forward from the new investors bear any resemblance to the original wi-fi project put forward by the council.”

The whole wi-fi saga dates back to 2009, when the council put up £450,000-worth of taxpayers’ cash for Rikki Hunt’s firm Digital City to borrow.

The aims was to provide free wi-fi internet access for the whole of Swindon.

But it failed almost totally in meeting its deadlines or objectives, or keeping up with interest payments on the £400,000 it ended up borrowing.

Chris Watts, 44, of Dunsford Close, a Labour Party member and IT business owner, said: “I think we can believe something is going to happen. But it’s going to bear no resemblance to what’s gone before, because that has been an abject lesson in how not to bring wi-fi to a town.

“If we can have a partner that’s actually experienced in this business, it can only be good.”