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Ofcom Withdraw KCOM Notification for Emergency Services Outage in Hull

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 (11:31 am) - Score 788

The UK telecoms regulator has had to retract a notification that it sent to KCOM last year, which found “reasonable grounds for believing” that the operator had “failed” to take sufficient measures to maintain uninterrupted telephone access to emergency services.

At the time Ofcom suggested that there had been several related disruptions around KCOM’s network in East Yorkshire and Hull (England) between 5th Feb 2009 and 28th Dec 2015 (here). Under the rules such networks are required to provide “uninterrupted access to emergency organisations” (police, fire etc.), but telecoms networks are complicated and sometimes problems do occur.

As part part of their investigation the regulator issued KCOM with a formal notification of their findings and gave them a chance to respond, but in doing so they also overlooked the fact that their legal enforcement powers had changed in May 2011 and yet their notification covered an even earlier period.

Ofcom’s Statement

The Notification that Ofcom sent to KCOM on 7 October 2016 did not accurately reflect changes to Ofcom’s legal enforcement powers, which came into effect in May 2011. As this technical change occurred during the period for which we found there are reasonable grounds for believing KCOM to be in breach of General Condition 3.1(c), we have decided to withdraw the original Notification issued to the company.

KCOM has already provided its response to the original notification and Ofcom are currently reviewing their feedback, which suggests that a second (corrected) notification may not be needed. We expect to hear a verdict on this issue in the not too distant future. Last month the regulator made a similar blunder in their investigation of Plusnet’s billing practices (here).

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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. Steve Jones says:

    Oops…

  2. MikeW says:

    Is there any detail of what happened available? It all seem vague so far…

    1. Shirley says:

      Yes, more info, please! MikeW and likeminded BT trolls are getting excited over this story. Another chance to smear a BT rival!

    2. Steve Jones says:

      If you are referring to me, my oops was over the regulator slipping up.

    3. MikeW says:

      Smear kcom? Why would I want to do that? In a year’s time, my parents will have FTTP, long before me. Mind, I’ve had FTTC a long time now … the consequences of different deployment options in microcosm.

      But I am technically interested. I want to know where Ofcom draws a line here compared to, say, outages we see for all the CPs.

      18 months ago, though, I was highly critical of Kcom’s rate of rollout. Then they sold their nationwide network for £90m and used the money to speed up. Up until that point, I thought they had the balance wrong. Were making the wrong technical vs financial decisions. A better balance now.

      Being critical vs complementary requires knowledge and thought.

      Of course, most anti-BT trolls can’t deal with real technical knowledge. Can’t cope with someone who applies thought instead of hatred.

      So busy with the hatred, in fact, they conveniently forget that kcom isn’t really a rival to BT. Not from the perspective of Hull’s consumers.

      Didn’t one of Kcom’s chief engineers, responsible for the FTTP deployment, shift over to Openreach to head up their FTTP deployment? Isn’t Kcom subcontracting some large proportion of that work to a BT company? All without the rancour that shows in Sky’s relationship with BT?

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