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10000 Hull UK Premises Set for 250Mbps FTTP in KCOM’s Summer Roll-out

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 (12:56 pm) - Score 696
kcom engineer on side of building in hull

East Yorkshire ISP KCOM has today announced the next phase of their £60m Lightstream roll-out (July – September 2017), which will see their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) dominated ultrafast broadband network reach a further 10,000 homes and businesses in East Hull.

So far KCOM’s “full fibre” network has already covered well over 100,000 premises within their network footprint and they aim to reach 150,000 premises by December 2017, which equates to 75% of their overall network in Hull and East Yorkshire. Take-up is also strong, with around 45,000 customers choosing to subscribe.

Residential consumers are generally offered a maximum line speed of up to 250Mbps (30Mbps upload) on FTTP, although around 8% of the operator’s Lightstream network is still based on their slower ‘up to’ 75Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) service.

Cathy Phillips, KCOM’s CMO, said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce the next stage of our Lightstream rollout, which will bring the benefits of ultrafast broadband to thousands of homes in east Hull.

Demand for Lightstream has been incredible and we are connecting a new customer every 20 minutes, which truly cements Hull’s growing reputation as one of the UK’s digital hotspots.

KCOM’s significant financial investment in its fibre network is now paying dividends for the people and businesses of Hull. It means people will be able to enjoy faster streaming, surfing, downloading and gaming at home while businesses will be able to work faster and smarter.

KCOM hasn’t yet updated their roll-out page with the full details of this phase (we expect this to be online soon), although in the meantime we’ve pasted a shortened summary below. Take note that the deployment has already begun in some of these areas, such as around the Longhill Estate.

The Deployment Plan for July – September 2017

July
Longhill, James Reckitt Avenue, Preston Road, Dunscombe Park and Bilton.

August
Sutton (e.g. College Street and Tweendykes Road).

September
Southcoates Lane, Portobello Street and Aberdeen Street.

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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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19 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    I find myself wondering why KCOM has ignored G.Fast..

    • Avatar MikeW

      An entirely different competitive map in Hull.

      FTTP needs a telco to be confident it is going to get a return over quite a long period – especially in the UK where prices are cheap-as-chips.

      Because there is no-one selling LLU, KCOM has a much higher expectation of being able to retain the full income from a line … so the prospect of getting a return on their investment looks to be both for a longer period and with a higher value.

      And without LLU or VULA competition, there isn’t quite the same threat of prices dropping down to TalkTalk levels.

      Moderately higher prices, where all of it goes to the telco, and with expectation that it stays that way long into the future … is an investor’s delight.

    • Avatar Henry

      KCom decided early on largely to avoid FTTC and instead go straight to FTTP – with the effect that its superfast rollout has been slower than elsewhere but its ultrafast rollout has been quicker. Once down this road, g.fast might have been seen as a step backwards.

      It is worth comparing Hull with Aberdeen, as another city without Virgin Media, to see what the impact has been

    • Avatar DTMark

      The competition aspect is irrelevant, because G.Fast would – if BT are right – have been cheaper than FTTP, therefore delivering – if BT are right – the same performance but with higher margins and a faster return on ROI.

      So it has nothing to do with that. Does it have to do with BT not being right?

    • Different company, different market, different philosophy.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      Surveys by KCOM found their duct to be in very good condition, which meant lower cost projection for roll out of FTTP and their decision to drop FTTC from the rollout.

      http://www.ftthcouncil.eu/documents/CaseStudies/KC.pdf

    • Avatar DTMark

      Surely that’s a big part of it.

      If I refer back to how hilarious the idea is that BT will be running fibre to street level for G.Fast on any scale, do I get accused of being negative again? 😉

    • Avatar AndyH

      There already is street level fibre in most areas, hence why BT will be able to deploy G.fast to 10 million people in little over 18 months.

    • Avatar Lee

      @AndyH Get away from here with your facts! They’re not wanted around these parts!

    • Avatar DTMark

      Sadly, though, not to the same street as the end premises in order to overcome the deficiencies of DSL tech.

      So back around again:

      Why has KCOM has ignored G.Fast?

    • Avatar AndyH

      I don’t get your point here…

      Why are DT/M-Net/ZTE rolling out G.fast in Germany? Why is Swisscom rolling it out in Switzerland? Why is Telekom Austria rolling it out in Austria? Why is Energia rolling it out in Japan? Why is Korea Telecom rolling it out in South Korea?

    • Avatar MikeW

      You can ask the question a second time, but the answer is the same.

      BT faces considerable competition, and endless regulation designed to keep its market share low. There is a higher risk involved in any investment they make, whether it is for FTTC, G.Fast or FTTP, because they have to keep copper and have to indulge the competition.

      Stepwise investment, of smaller amounts in each step, helps limit the risk for BT. That means FTTC in one step. G.Fast in another. FTTP, when necessary or cheaper, in another.

      I guess there’s another significant reason: KCOM have no researchers. They haven’t had people involved intimately with G.Fast since 2009. They’ve not been in a position to see whether G.Fast could help them. Not, at least, until they’ve already embarked on FTTP.

      And digging into the recesses of my memory, I think Hull tends to use thinner gauge copper, so is at a disadvantage over any copper-based technology.

    • Avatar DTMark

      In response to Andy’s point, that is indeed what I am asking albeit the other way around.

      Up until now, all new fixed-line broadband in this country was FTTP. But then it was brand new line plant, and you wouldn’t do anything else. KCOM is the first example where line plant already exists, and they haven’t even bothered with G.Fast, going straight to FTTP.

      So they could have taken the supposedly cheaper option and elected not to. I don’t buy the argument about competition.

      KCOM may have cleaner ducting. That might be one explanation. Cost of maintenance / TCO, the skill-base of the engineers, and customer satisfaction might be others.

      As Mike says, the copper is required to remain. Get rid of that requirement and BT is free to make their own choices. But then BT isn’t going to yank out all the copper taking down connections all over the place while it “upgrades”, breaching multiple SLAs; it would have to be done in parallel, so that doesn’t help much with the duct blockages. New duct required.

      BT is the odd-one-out. The company has never been forward-looking, though it had a brief moment of this when it bought EE. It has a pensions burden which will always drag it down. It also has a history of acting like a charity case, tapping the taxpayer for the funds to remain relevant while deploying trailing-edge tech at the cheapest cost. That it has succeeded twice will embolden that strategy.

    • Avatar AndyH

      “Up until now, all new fixed-line broadband in this country was FTTP.”

      Erm, no it hasn’t been.

      “So they could have taken the supposedly cheaper option and elected not to. I don’t buy the argument about competition.”

      It’s probably more expensive for KCOM. To deploy a completely new technology for them would require a significant investment. It’s not like you go to PC World, pick up a piece of hardware and it’s plug and play. You need to develop backend systems, support, line management tools etc.

      “As Mike says, the copper is required to remain. Get rid of that requirement and BT is free to make their own choices.”

      It’s down to OFCOM who have been very clear that copper remains in situ. BT is not free to make their own choice, everything they do is regulated and subject to scrutiny. A SMP that is able to make free choices, is allowed to abuse their position.

      “BT is the odd-one-out. The company has never been forward-looking, though it had a brief moment of this when it bought EE.”

      There are many exceptional individuals (present and former) who would take great offence to this comment. Adastral Park is at the forefront of technological innovation in telecommunications.

      BT operates in one of the tightest regulated telecoms markets in the world. It has never held back that regulation is its biggest hurdle to investment.

      “It also has a history of acting like a charity case, tapping the taxpayer for the funds to remain relevant while deploying trailing-edge tech at the cheapest cost.”

      BT is not a charity case. If you’re referring to the BDUK contracts, then these contracts were put out for tender. They were, of course, lucrative contracts for BT but there was nothing preventing other operators from bidding for them. The fact in the UK is that the wholesale cost is so low, it makes little sense to any large telco to invest in their own network (VM being the only exception).

    • Avatar TheManStan

      Quick and dirty sums shows that for their business coverage area KCOM have much better financials which allow them to spend.

      To March 2017 £331M over 200,000 properties = £1655 each

      vs BT

      To march 2017 £16.8BN (excludes global services and EE) over ~26M properties = ~£650 each

      KCOM spent £47M on CAPEX ~14% of revenue

      BTOR spent £2.32BN (again excluding EE and global) on CAPEX ~14% of revenue

      So as a proportion of revenue the spending is roughly the same, except KCOM gets more revenue hence can afford more expensive toys!

      Even allowing large margins or error for this very rough and ready calculation, it’s clear KCOM has a big financial advantage

    • Avatar alan

      The most obvious answer is often the right answer… One company decided to invest the money and do the graft the other didn’t.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      The higher revenue allows a better employee ratio too.

      KCOM 116 properties per employee (1712 total for 200K)

      BT 356 properties per employee (73K, 104K total less EE 14K and BT Global 17K stripped out)

      So financially and resourcewise KCOM has an advantage.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @AndyH: “BT is not a charity case. If you’re referring to the BDUK contracts, then these contracts were put out for tender. They were, of course, lucrative contracts for BT but there was nothing preventing other operators from bidding for them.”

      I think even the strongest BT fans like you will have to admit that the BDUK project was not a normal tender process, it was highly biased towards bigger operators like BT.

      And DTMark has a valid point about wasting taxpayer’s money, BT has never had a need for taxpayer’s subsidies for it’s VDSL projects. This whole process has been a series of government and Ofcom failures, leading to an over-regulated BT. The latest failure was the lack of making Openreach an independent commercial company.

    • Avatar AndyH

      @ GNewton – Procurement contracts for hundreds of millions of pounds requires large operators. If you open the floodgates for anyone, you end up in failed projects and the taxpayer ends up footing the bill.

      Where were Vodafone, Sky and to a lesser extent TalkTalk in the BDUK process? Vodafone is investing €1.35bn over the next 7 years in Ireland and a significant amount of this will be in FTTP. Where is their investment in the UK? These are the kind of questions that people need to ask rather than just keep calling BT a failure.

      Over time, BT probably would have expanded their commercial network to some areas that have been covered by BDUK. However, the significant majority of areas would be left without superfast coverage. It makes no economic sense for any business to make capital investments if it does not meet their targeted ROI.

      People often complain about the UK being backwards with regards to broadband when compared to countries like South Korea and Japan. I suggest those people go to those countries and have a look what the rural broadband coverage is like. The rural coverage for broadband in the UK has been a success story and it’s not finished. The Government, OFCOM and stakeholders now need to ensure that the UK is looking ahead to the future with ultrafast availability.

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