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KCOM Unveil £85m Lightstream Broadband Rollout for 100% of Hull UK

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 (9:17 am) - Score 1,178
kcom engineer on side of building in hull

The incumbent telecoms operator for Hull in East Yorkshire UK, KCOM, has today announced the final phase of their “Lightstream” roll-out, which will extend their “ultrafast” fibre optic broadband (FTTP/C) services to cover 100% of their network area (around 200,000 premises) by March 2019.

At present the operator expects to have completed their penultimate deployment phase by the end of 2017, which has so far consumed an investment of around £60 million (mostly funded by the sale of their UK fibre network assets to Cityfibre – excluding Hull) and should reach 150,000 premises with their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology (note: around 7-8% of this is being done via slower FTTC / VDSL2 technology).

Residential consumers are currently offered a maximum line speed of up to 250Mbps (30Mbps upload) on FTTP (soon to be 350Mbps), although the smaller area reached by slower FTTC are only able to access speeds of up to 75Mbps. Overall some 50,000 homes and 5,000 businesses have already connected to the new network.

However, much as we reported yesterday (here), KCOM has now confirmed that they intend to increase their investment into the Lightstream deployment by another £25 million (total £85m) in order to cover the remaining 50,000 homes and businesses within their network footprint by March 2019.

Bill Halbert, KCOM’s CEO, said:

“I am delighted to announce our plans to complete what is arguably the most ambitious full fibre deployment in the UK. This is the final piece in the jigsaw in securing Hull as the digital capital of the UK.

When we set out to transform our broadband network in 2012 our plan was to put Hull and East Yorkshire at the cutting edge of a digital revolution that would help to build a city and an economy fit for the 21st century.

We believed investing in full fibre broadband was the right thing to do both for the company and our customers, and that belief is now bearing fruit.

With roots in the city reaching back to 1904, KCOM has always been at the forefront of innovation and, with the completion of our Lightstream deployment now in sight, we can be proud of the fact that Hull still leads the way while others follow.

The people of Hull and East Yorkshire have supported our ambition by signing up to Lightstream in their tens of thousands. Their confidence will help us to make the KCOM network the fastest, the most connected and the most future-proofed not only in the UK but the world by 2019.”

By March 2019 KCOM now expects to have installed more than 11,000,000 metres of optical fibre cable (up from about 8 million metres today), which they say is enough to stretch around the Moon. In order to achieve this KCOM aims to ensure that their new network will become available to 3,000 new properties every month.

At present the Lightstream Rollout page on KCOM’s website doesn’t list any new deployments beyond December 2017, although no doubt this will change. We’ve also asked the operator to confirm how much of the final phase will involve FTTC instead of FTTP, if any. However, we broadly expect that the majority of this final phase will still receive a “full fibre” network.

UPDATE 10:06am

KCOM has confirmed that the deployment will finish with 96% coverage of FTTP “full fibre“, while the remaining 4% will be FTTC. Most of the FTTC will be in several villages beyond the operator’s “original licenced network“.

Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all

    Great to sell.

  2. Avatar Paul B

    @NGA for all – Yep, nice to see Hull on a roll, with this and their recent year as City of Culture.

  3. Avatar MikeW

    KCOM’s rollout page stops short of the new deployments, but the checker doesn’t give up so easily. It is already showing some of the new phases due to go live in January, February and March.

  4. Avatar MikeW

    With the update, it looks like KCOM are leaving their FTTC deployment to places where they use SLU on BT’s copper, and they’re putting FTTP in where they own their own ducts.

  5. Avatar GNewton

    It would be interesting to know how much money is spent per premise by KCOM, and why KCOMs strategy can’t be replicated by other telecoms like BT for the rest of the UK.

    • You can estimate £425 per property by just doing a simple division, although obviously this is overly simplistic and the cost will vary.

      As for replication. The main problem is you’d be comparing a market, which is largely urban and one where KCOM dominates, against a much more fluid situation across the rest of the UK with many more rural areas and convoluted regulation. It’s not apples to apples by any stretch.

    • Avatar MikeW

      What KCOM are spending seems to be in line with what BT reckoned it would cost to get FTTP to the 10 million they hope to get partners signed up for.

      That tells you that BT’s issue isn’t the expenditure, but more likely to be associated with the conditions that Openreach mention when they publicise those consultations: decent partnerships; the ability to turn off copper; decent regulatory environment.

      KCOM faces a significantly different picture in those 3 areas.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      I can’t believe you are trying to compare Hull to the rest of the UK.

      I know telecoms isn’t a strong area of yours, but geography….?

  6. Avatar HullLad

    All privately funded without any BDUK cash. Yes, as a result it’s been a slower roll-out than perhaps it’s customer base would’ve liked, but the result is a future-proofed network.

    Well done KCOM

    • Avatar MikeW

      If Hull City Council chose to take part in BDUK, that slow initial rollout could have triggered some competition for KCOM – in places not due for service for 3 years as of 2012.

      Was the council complicit in helping KCOM NOT face competition?

      Eventually KCOM got the hurry-up, but they only managed to fund the work from the sale of their national network.

    • Avatar HullLad

      Given that there have been two rather substantial alt-net developments in the area, and Hull City Council have given major WiFi contracts to a major wireless provider in the city, I don’t think there’s any weight behind the guess that the council were complicit in anything. Their behaviour suggests quite the opposite.

      As regards the speed of the roll-out, it’s all relative. BT would not/do not even consider covering areas deemed commercially unviable, unless they have public money behind them – and when they do, it’s with the fibre to the copper technology. BT boasting about the speed of their rollout after it was bank-roled by the taxpayer is risible.

      Of course the roll-out is likely to be slower when it’s private money being invested, particularly when it’s in an area that consists of some of the most economically deprived wards in the UK.

  7. Avatar JOnathan

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the article, seems my area is finally going to be done next year, just wondering if you would be able to find out the roll-out dates of each area’s as there site has not yet been updated?

    Many Thanks
    -Jonathan

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