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KCOM Clarify Level of FTTC in its Fibre Optic FTTP Broadband Rollout

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 (7:59 am) - Score 2,078

The Hull and East Yorkshire (England) focused telecoms operator KCOM has kindly confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that around 8% (12,000 premises) of their planned fibre optic based broadband roll-out to 150,000 local premises will be catered for via the slower Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) service.

The vast majority of KCOM’s impressive “Lightstream” roll-out, which is due to complete by December 2017, is being catered for via their 250Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) network that delivers a pure fibre optic line directly to your home. Related lines are ultrafast (Gigabit speeds may come in the future), but they’re also slower and much more expensive to roll-out.

It is of course no secret that KCOM also uses some cheaper and slower (up to 75Mbps) Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), which like its BT equivalent is different from FTTP because it only takes the fibre optic cable to a local street cabinet and then connects to homes using VDSL and an existing copper line; this produces more variable quality and gets slower over distance. But many people may not be aware of this as the operator rarely explains it in their FTTP dominated PR.

The reality for KCOM is that it would simply be too expensive to cater for all of their communities with a pure FTTP approach. Furthermore this shouldn’t detract from the otherwise excellent work being done elsewhere as it will still deliver a sizeable performance improvement, which should be enough to meet the needs of most people.

As such the operator’s use of FTTC is largely being limited to rural areas in the East Riding of Yorkshire and locations where other technical considerations, such as the presence of armoured cables, makes it more challenging to deploy FTTP. However FTTP still remains KCOM’s primary focus due to “the superior online experience it delivers to customers.”

The operator recently confirmed that their roll-out has already covered 78,000 premises, with 26,000 connected including 1,700 3,500 businesses (33.33% take-up). On top of that another 4,500 FTTP properties officially went live in East Hull this week. KCOM’s capital expenditure for the next two financial years is also anticipated to be “greater than£40 million per annum, which they say reflects the increased fibre investment.

UPDATE 9:49am

Just a small correction. KCOM informs that the number of business connected to their FTTP/C network was incorrectly reported by them as 1,700 last week, but it’s actually 3,500.

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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.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. MikeW says:

    So, not much different to the last story then.

    http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2016/05/kcom-fibre-broadband-reaches-78000-premises-east-yorkshire.html#comment-166884

    They don’t highlight it in the PR, but it is (in small font) on their rollout page

    *Wherever possible we use Fibre to the Home (FTTH) technology, to enable customers to enjoy the best possible superfast connection speeds. As at 31 March 2016, 93% of available properties were connected using FTTH.

    http://www.kcomhome.com//products/broadband/lightstream-roll-out/

    I vaguely recall that Australia’s NBN had a similar proportion of FTTP in the original “fttp-only” version of their plans. It seems that, however grandiose or simple the plans are, the final few % are always destined to be left behind.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Good spot, I can’t even read that text it’s so small / bad colour contrast and never saw it before 🙂 .

  2. Jonathan says:

    Will there lightstream roll out be complete by 2017 December of just the current phase?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      At the moment December 2017 is as far as they go, but that’s not to say that they won’t extend it again. However I suspect that after 2017 they’d need to use a lot more FTTC to get the job done.

    2. MikeW says:

      The December 2017 target is now 150,000, and they’re running at a rate of about 4,000 properties per month.

      IIRC, KCOM’s coverage area of Hull, Beverley and the surrounding villages, amounts to about 200,000 premises, though some of that overlaps BT coverage at the outer edges.

      I suspect there is room for KCOM to achieve more after 2017.

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