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UPDATE KC Bringing Fibre Optic Broadband to 105,000 Hull UK Premises

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 (11:14 am) - Score 1,555

Remember last month when KC announced that their Lightstream fibre optic broadband (FTTP/C) network would cover 60,000 premises by spring 2016? Forget about it! The incumbent telecoms operator for East Yorkshire and Hull has now decided to push out even further to reach more than 105,000 by March 2017.

At present KC’s network, which is dominated by their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/H) technology (this is 350Mbps capable, although their home packages currently only go up to 100Mbps) and just a little FTTC, has already achieved a total coverage of 45,000 premises passed and uptake stands at an impressive 30% (rising to more than 40% for business customers).

So, just to be clear because there may be some confusion with this coming so soon after the February 2015 update (here), KC has just doubled the speed of their roll-out plan for next year from 15,000 to 30,000 and will do another 30,000 in the year after that. On top of this there’s a new 250Mbps (15Mbps uploads) package from £69.99 per month (includes line rental cost).

Gary Young, KC’s Managing Director, said:

We want to give our customers the best-connected homes and businesses in the UK, and that’s what KC Lightstream delivers. The feedback we have received from customers who have taken the service, homes and businesses alike, has been extremely positive.

We said from the start that this is an ambitious project and it will take time to make Lightstream available across our entire network. The industry-leading take-up rates we have achieved so far have enabled an increase in our level of investment to accelerate the pace of deployment.

We believe the additional investment we are making to speed up our roll-out is fantastic news for KC customers and for our region.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said:

This is fantastic news for Hull and its growing digital economy, giving our residents and businesses – both current and future – access to state-of-the-art internet connectivity.

KC’s investment also supports us in our ambition to establish the city as a leading hub for digital technologies, alongside developments like the C4DI digital hub in the Fruit Market and the recently announced Ron Dearing University Technical College. It’s another milestone in the city of Hull’s transformation and provides the platform for further exciting developments ahead.”

Last week’s Budget also announced that, from 1st April 2015, Hull would become one of 50 cities across the UK that are part of the Government’s Superfast Cities scheme, which means that small and medium sized businesses can receive a grant of up to £3,000 towards the cost of installing superfast broadband.

Apparently KC’s fibre roll-out to date has so far cost the operator around £15 million and the next phase is likely to be a bit more expensive due to its ever increasing focus on more outlying areas. Last year KC secured a £200m finance package and so most of the new investment is likely to come from that.


Added a bit more detail about the new 250Mbps package above.

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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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12 Responses
  1. dave says:

    great news, that is a lot of FTTP connected homes 🙂

    1. FibreFred says:

      What news? 🙂

      They’ve not really said anything apart from we are carrying on. Last of stats is a concern….

  2. NGA for all says:

    If £15m pays for 45,000 FTTP premises passed at c£333 each, it begs the question why LA’s are paying so much subsidy for BT FTTC, and why subsidised FTTC has been in business parks with DUCT available?

    Good to see!

    1. GNewton says:

      These a good questions. Unfortunately you will find that local councils often hide details behind obscure commercial confidentiality clauses, despite a lot of taxpayers being thrown at BT. We know of cases where more than £2400 per VDSL were spent in urban areas. Public scrutiny is urgently needed, otherwise the BDUK will turn into a bigger farce than it already is!

    2. TheManStan says:

      I don’t think so. The news item doesn’t say that 45,000 homes are FTTP.

      45,000 is the network covered and FTTP is a dominant part, but isn’t ~20% of the fibre network non-FTTP tech?

      Also, pretty much defacto monopoly with minimal CP interest in KCOM domain… so RIA is much better.

      KCOM own surveys have shown their ducts and poles to be in pretty good condition, which always helps.

    3. NGA for all says:

      @The Man Stan – they refer to white boxes being installed on the exterior of premises. Google are budgetting $500 a premise in Kansas but need to start from scratch. The number is interesting for an overlay cost, but I had assumed it would exclude the final drop and a white box.
      A cof 205 cable from an SPN to a manifold on a pole, with 1500 metre segments serving 10 customers looks more compelling than investing in all that power.

    4. MikeW says:

      @NFA – No special numbers at all. Hull is a large enough city, and falls into one geotype. The LA’s are currently paying for the non-viable, non-commercial areas that are an entirely different geotype, and an entirely different cost bracket. Don’t be so quick to try to make one average apply to a case that it just doesn’t apply to.

      The 2008 BSG study on fibre costs for the UK would put Hull into their third or fourth geotypes, labelled “>200k population” or “>20k lines” (Hull has quite a few small exchanges/concentrators); for these geotypes, their estimate was a combination of around £400 per premise-passed fixed cost, plus £400 per premise-connected variable cost. The estimates for the rural-ish geotypes, as covered by BDUK phase 1, was more like £1200 fixed plus £1000 variable (and rising for sparser geotypes).

      Remember that the variable costs (on connection) will be augmented by anything contributed by the consumer when he orders the line; Hull currently charges £50 setup on the most popular entry-level product, so this can be added to the £15m.

      Split in a similar way, and allowing for that setup fee, this would make Hull’s costs to be £260 per premise-passed fixed cost, plus £260 per premise-connected variable cost.

      If we take @TheManStan’s figure of 20% rollout using FTTC, the numbers for the remaining FTTP rollout change to £305 fixed cost plus £305 variable cost.

      These are better than BSG’s estimate, but perhaps explained by the state of KC’s ducts; The BSG study predicted a 25% reduction in their estimates if more duct re-use was possible than assumed. If true for KC, the BSG estimates would be bang on the KC actuals.

      The important thing is that KC’s costs are of the right order, compared with the BSG estimates. Rural-ish figures are of a completely different order.

      Why do you have to be reminded about such simplistic stuff?

  3. Carl says:

    ‘At present KC’s network, which is dominated by their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/H) technology (this is 350Mbps capable, although their home packages currently only go up to 100Mbps), has already achieved a total coverage of 45,000 premises passed.’

    45,000 total with FTTP/H nice work from them.

  4. DoodleDandy says:

    Hull is well placed to leapfrog copper-based FTTC or G.Fast. BT CEO is talking G.Fast and ‘speeds of up to 500Mbps to most of the UK within a decade’, after spending £Millions of BDUK funding, and other providers are bypassing Openreach infrastructure and building their own FTTP networks. I’m with GNewton in questioning value-for-money on my tax money, spent on what looks like a technology that is already looking obsolete. FibreFeed may not be impressed but going faster with better technology than Openreach seems like a good thing to me.

    1. TheManStan says:

      But, even with these figures for “easy” urban a nationwide roll-out would be of the order of £15BN… £5.3BNish for the easy 65% (16M x £333), another £7.5BN for the next 25% (7.5M x £1000) and £5BN for the final 10% (2.5M x £2000), take some off for economies for scale…

      And on the timescales you have here it’s half their network in 8 years… so a full roll out would be 16 years… long time to wait on slow speed.

      So the millions spent of tax payers money really wouldn’t have made much of an impact if FTTP had been used.

    2. MikeW says:

      It is easy to label copper as “already obsolete” from a technology standpoint alone, but is it equally easy to write it off financially?

      After all, the cable companies were busy installing copper coax in the nineties, when fibre had already made coax obsolete by the same “tech” measure. Why did they choose it – because it made financial sense at the time (and still sent them bankrupt).

      By the measure of whether copper can deliver what we want (and are willing to pay for), it is most certainly not obsolete, for the best part of the country. Estimates for 2023, for the top-using families, still don’t reach 40Mbps, and median properties only half that.

      Fibre is great, for a number of reasons. But affordability isn’t one of them. KC can go for it, in no small amount because they are pretty much a vertical monopoly – and a fibre rollout helps lock that in. But even with FTTP, you need to take careful note of the packages sold in Hull. The vast majority choose the entry-level 50/5 Mbps package – which makes for a long payback time.

      FTTC-like hybrid solutions have a great advantage that they are cheap now, and they can be rolled out much quicker – so almost everyone sees a benefit sooner.

      And the kicker is this: The overall net cost, with appropriate discounting, for rolling out FTTdp now, followed by FTTP in 8 years time is the same as rolling out FTTP now. Unless we *need* gigabit right now (and will pay for it), it is financially better to do the quicker roll out of a hybrid solution first

  5. RegRepsa says:

    This company also have 250Mb service. Very good.

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