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Hull ISP KC Set to Achieve EU Target of Universal 30Mbps Broadband by 2020

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 (1:53 pm) - Score 689
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The incumbent telecoms provider for Hull and East Yorkshire in England, KC, has told ISPreview.co.uk that they will “strive to meet the more ambitious 2020 goals” set by Europe (i.e. 100% of households should have access to superfast broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps) and most of this will be delivered via true fibre optic (FTTH/P) connectivity.

KC has already rolled out its superfast fibre optic (FTTP and FTTC) Lightstream broadband service to more than 20,000 homes and businesses in the region and it’s currently on course to reach the next goal of 30,000 by the end of 2013 and then 45,000 by March 2015 (here). But by 2020 they also hope to have met the targets set by Europe’s Digital Agenda scheme.

Sean Royce, KC’s Finance & Commercial Operations Director, confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that their ambition for universal coverage of superfast speeds wouldn’t just focus on Hull city and “absolutely includes the rural areas which KC serves, as well as the urban“. In addition, KC’s slower hybrid fibre FTTC (up to 80Mbps) products will happily only account for about 10% of properties and their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology is thus expected to pass 90%.

Sean Royce told ISPreview.co.uk:

KC currently works to provide the fastest service possible and our deployment of choice is FTTP. In a small minority of cases where it is faster and more logical to deploy FTTC, we do. However this is the exception rather than the rule, and we continue to roll out FTTP to the vast majority of premises. We currently expect Lightstream via FTTP to pass about 90% of properties, and we’re working to continually expand this.”

Separately Royce also used the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report (here), which heavily criticised BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, to have a pop at the schemes lack of a “pure commercial model“.

Sean Royce added:

The mismanagement of the tender for rolling out superfast broadband and the failure to meet targets have raised a critical point – would this have happened if the project was operating on a pure commercial model, rather than being primarily funded by public subsidy? KC is rolling out fibre optic broadband in Hull, and we’re delivering the fastest service in the UK. On top of that we also have the best penetration rate – double the average across the rest of the UK – and this has all been done without public money.

When it comes to meeting targets, KC already has a minimum speed of 2Mbps across 100% of its customer base, and is looking ahead to European targets and providing speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020. We should be able to achieve this because we’re implementing Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) rather than Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), meaning that our speeds won’t be limited in the same way as BT’s FTTC approach. This means future-proofing over the long term in Hull, while the UK as a whole will almost certainly fail to meet the EU 2020 target.

Superfast broadband is vital to the economic future of UK plc, and the economy at large. Assuming that public money must be used to support the project, the question is then why more hasn’t been invested? £1.2bn has been given to BT for the rollout, but that’s a paltry 2.6 per cent of the estimated £46.2bn being funnelled into HS2. Superfast broadband is undoubtedly the more important of the two projects for the UK economy, so funding to ensure it is delivered successfully, swiftly and to a high standard is plainly the best course of action.”

In fairness BT and some ISPs would probably cast a similarly questionable eye back towards KC for its lack of a fully unbundled / WLR3 style equivalent to the services that exist on BT’s own network around the United Kingdom, although that’s another matter.

UPDATE 4th October 2013

Forgot to mention that KC Lightstream now has 5,000 customers (uptake of around 25%!).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    “BT and some ISPs would probably cast a similarly questionable eye back towards KC for its lack of a fully unbundled / WLR3 style equivalent to the services that exist on BT’s own network around the United Kingdom, although that’s another matter.”

    I’d say it’s the crux of the issue. ROI.

    What BDUK needed to do was to provide a means for all the players to invest in the country’s infrastructure. To attract significant private investment.

    Because of BT’s monopoly position on the infrastructure, I can’t quite see how Talk Talk and Sky were ever going to be gifting BT with money to improve their network when BT is itself one of their competitors. So there’s only one source of investment which has been running rings around the government.

    Rather than address anything in the longer term to break this stalemate, the easier option of simply grabbing money from the taxpayer was the one they came up with.

    Which solves nothing in the longer term and means we plough money into a short-term setup (VDSL) which will come back to bite us with the identical issue in a fairly short space of time, not to mention that VDSL alone is incapable of even meeting the goals BDUK set out in the first place.

    Which then necessarily means more taxpayer’s money. And so on. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”. Doing it this way is going to cost the taxpayer more in the end than if we’d gone down the route I and others have been suggesting since even before the inception of BDUK.

    • Avatar GNewton

      Perhaps getting rid of the fibre tax, and a stricter regulation of BT, along with NOT using taxpayer’s money to support BT who has no need for ity, would have helped with the creation of more altnets in the many areas where VDSL fails to offer a solution.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      So these ‘altnets’ should be rushing in to provide a service where VDSL fails to offer a solution and there are customers demanding better.

      Hang on, many of these places have a low population density so unlikely to see sufficient income…

    • Avatar Roberto

      KC is not an altnet never has been, in fact man, many years ago it was government owned, just like BT.

  2. Avatar Owen Smith

    KC should be forcibly merged with BT then customers there can have LLU and other things like the rest of the country. KV have a government protected total monopoly in their area, since as well as no other telco being allowed in they hold the cable licence so Virgin can’t go there either. It’s ridiculous in the 21st century, the worst kind of old fashioned monopoly.

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