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MS3 Take On KCOM in Hull UK – Launches FTTH Home Broadband Network

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 (3:51 pm) - Score 3,691

Communications developer MS3, which operates a business focused dark fibre optic network in Hull (East Yorkshire), has today announced the radical decision to take on KCOM by entering the domestic connectivity market with an “ultrafast” Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) broadband service (Giga+).

At present KCOM largely dominates the local market for fixed line broadband connectivity and in keeping with that their 250Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) network has already covered 78,000 premises (26,000 subscribed, including 3,500 businesses), which will rise to 150,000 by December 2017.

The expanded deployment will mean that KCOM’s fibre broadband roll-out should soon reach “approximately three-quarters” of their total network footprint, but they aren’t the only fibre optic game in town for residential connections.. at least not anymore.

A few years ago MS3 also deployed a 33km long fibre optic network across parts of Hull and East Yorkshire for £4.5 million and they’ve since been busy expanding this further into the rest of Hull, which will reach many more businesses (covering around 42km, with a 25km extension being planned for Q1 2016).

Now MS3 has decided to start adapting their network for the residential market. As part of that effort MS3 has joined forces with global communications provider ZTE (UK), which will see the provider deploy carrier grade ZTE equipment in their core infrastructure to create a 10Gbps access network. Apparently this will give local homes a “premium class service” and “one of the fastest networks in the [United Kingdom]“.

Tony Hales, MS3’s Managing Director, said:

“We are extremely excited to be launching our new Giga+ ConnectHull service. It will provide residents with a much needed choice of ISP and we believe it will be truly transformational to the local broadband market, by providing fixed line fibre network competition in Hull for the first time.”

The new service is called connectHull and it will initially offer a variety of packages, including broadband speeds that range from 50Mbps, 100Mbps, 250Mbps and 1Gbps (1000Mbps); within the next 12-18 months they may also offer a 10Gbps package, although the latter seems too fast (i.e. most Internet services and computer hardware won’t be able to make proper use of it).

Prices are expected to start from just £24.99 inc. VAT per month (no phone line rental required) for the 50Mbps service (10Mbps upload) and this will only attract a monthly rolling contract, although it does appear to be hobbled by a 200GB download limit. Meanwhile the top 1Gbps (100Mbps upload) package would attract a 1TB allowance (1000GB) for £59.99.

However the new home-focused network FTTH extension is currently being described as “test” to establish if there’s enough local demand. In that sense MS3 has begun a feasibility study and are actively looking at areas around Hull to trial the service (locals can register their interest via the website).

Under the current plan, construction of the additional network build could begin this month (i.e. after they’ve identified some suitable deployment areas) and then the first customers would be connected in October 2016. Suffice to say that this is very ambitious for a service that doesn’t yet know where it will be rolling out (we assume that privately they probably have a good idea).

At this stage KCOM probably won’t be too worried, but MS3 has been around awhile and if they decide to pursue the deployment more aggressively then it could provide some much needed competition for the local incumbent.

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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
13 Responses
  1. Whitesnake says:

    KCOM’s packages all seem to have download limits, given the way they shout about their high/ultra high speed network. I don’t understand why there’s no unlimited package and it looks like the competitor is going down the same route!!!

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      KCOM do have unlimited packages, you need to look under the “Heavy” title.

  2. Jonathan Gorbutt says:

    Hopefully they start with areas that KCOM haven’t tackled yet I.E my address please.

  3. Liam coates says:

    Crack on kcom have been nothing but a lump on the left nut since forever

  4. Whitesnake says:

    @mark Jackson, £60 for an unlimited connection! Are KCOM having a laugh?

    1. Phil Coates says:

      £75 for 50Gb limit on Satellite. That looks like a bargain in comparison.

    2. Dumb argument says:

      Seems reasonable to me. To make an as near deal from BT it would cost you the following…
      76Mb infinity will cost you £25 (which DOES increase after your contract to £30) for the broadband and £18.99 for the line rental, anytime calls then cost £8.50 on top, caller display if you want it is another £1.75 giving a grand total per month of £54.24.

      The Kcom deal is for 100Mb includes phone and also includes 180min of mobile calls (couldnt find the cost for ‘mobile call’ bundles from BT) so all said and done pricing is similar to the UKs biggest supplier.

  5. DandyMan says:

    @Whitesnake It looks like £59.99 will get you just 1TB data with connectedhull, so KCOM perhaps not alone in having a laugh but at least they offer unlimited.

  6. ShelleyM says:

    I bet this lot will be more of the same ‘up to’ speeds, which I thought fibre to the premise saw an end to. And if you need to speak to them after teatime or on a weekend, good luck with that!

    1. MS3 says:

      Hi Shelley, all of our business customers have dedicated account managers who can be contacted out of hours in the event of fault or emergency. As we roll-out the FTTH network our opening hours will be extended from normal business hours.

  7. Whitesnake says:

    @DandyMan, pleased I left hull and returned to my home city, just shocked at wha KCOM want to charge….That’s a monopoly for you!!

    1. Dumb argument says:

      Who were you with and what were you paying for phone line + broadband + unlimited calls + 180 mins of mobile calls???? cos thats what Kcom include in their £59.99 deal.

  8. Jason shaw says:

    I’m with pure and the speeds really drop around tea time til around 9pm. I’m on unlimited for £22.50 a month. How much will this service cost to join?

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