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KCOM Complete Full Fibre Broadband Rollout to Cover Hull UK

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 (7:39 am) - Score 2,110
kcom engineer ourside house fttp install

The incumbent ISP for Hull and East Riding (East Yorkshire), KCOM, appears to have announced the “completion” of their £85m “Lightstream” roll-out, which means that nearly all of the 200,000+ premises within their network area should now be within reach of a 900Mbps+ Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service.

The operator’s target was to ensure that “every KCOM customer will have access to Lightstream .. by March 2019,” which in reality means that around 96% of premises within their addressable network area can now access a “full fibre” connection and roughly 4% can take a slower 75Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) solution. But we wouldn’t be surprised if a few tiny bits of ADSL-only still exist in awkward areas.

During the final Q1 2019 roll-out phase (Jan – March 2019) we saw 6,410 premises being added to their network in order to reach completion and the final locations to benefit came from the Orchard Park area (e.g. Dodthorpe, Homethorpe, Thorpepark Road, Gorthorpe and Ilthorpe). At the last count some 61% of their consumer base had already upgraded to one of their Lightstream packages.

We should point out that a lot of the funding for this roll-out stemmed from KCOM’s 2015 sale of their national UK (excluding Hull) fibre optic and cable duct assets to Cityfibre (here), which raised £90m to help support their Lightstream programme. Cityfibre has gone on to seemingly make good use of their old fibre infrastructure (here).

At the time of writing the operator has not yet put out a formal press release (expected next month), although their social media accounts (here and here) have very much begun celebrating “the completion of our full fibre Lightstream network across Hull and East Yorkshire.” Queue a comically cheesy celebratory video..

The completion announcement itself actually comes a little later than KCOM’s end of March 2019 target, although we understand that this is because they still had a few small patches to complete and were concerned about the likely clash with Brexit dominating news in the same window.

In any case the achievement should make it easy for KCOM to deliver on the Government’s new legally binding Universal Service Obligation (USO) in their network patch (here), which from 2020 will require them (and BT in the rest of the UK) to deliver a minimum broadband download speed of at least 10Mbps (1Mbps upload) upon request.

Likewise the development puts KCOM in a prime position to be one of the first operators in the United Kingdom to start switching off their old legacy copper line network. Work on the prior stage of that process, which involves migrating their PSTN (analogue phone) customers to a new VoIP service, has technically already begun (here). At present no solid date has been set for switching-off the copper network itself.

At this point it’s worth reminding readers that KCOM recently accepted a cash offer of £504m for its business from Humber Bidco, which is a subsidiary of pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd (USS) that has a track record of investing in UK infrastructure (here). The new investor believes this will “enhance the quality of [KCOMs] offering, delivering benefits for customers as well as sustainable, long-term returns.”

UPDATE 9:35am

Upon taking a closer look we’ve noted that some small patches, such as along Dalwood Close, have not been done yet (Dalwood is due to an issue with the local telegraph poles). Likewise there seem to be a few apartment buildings that can’t yet access it because of a delay with council permission.

In response one of KCOM’s team simply said, “Our network is fully complete which means all the cables are down, and we have the fibre cables to the high rise flats, we are now just waiting upon the council.”

In any case we understand that KCOM should have a bigger and more formal announcement on this next month, although the recent takeover has caused a few delays with their media release plans.

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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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13 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all

    Great to see.

    I hope they get any regulatory assistance they need in bringing forward any transition activity.

  2. Avatar M.wilson

    Thanks for the ugliness of the telegraph pole all over they are an eyesore ad a cheap way of doing it you can keep your light stream it is expensive for low users like me

    • Avatar Cory

      Kcom well done excellent work at an excellent cost with great prices for the consumers

      it is so sad when people just complain about it being ugly, or too many cabinets, if they were not so selfish the country would move ahead a lot faster

  3. Avatar NotTheFacts

    Interesting that you choose to repeat and promote their claims of “Complete..Rollout” to “every KCOM customer”, but then clarify that “in reality means that around 96% of premises”..

    Would KCOM be happy if, in reality, their customers only paid 96% of their bills?

    • Avatar Phil

      What a foolish comment. Anyone who reads this site should be aware that full fibre is effectively impossible unless you’ve a bottomless money pit. Some areas are just too challenging for any budget limited project and, like many industries outside of telecoms, a “full” rollout essentially means “the realistic 100%.”

      I’d say if 4% of customers didn’t pay their bills they’d be disconnected

    • Avatar Joe

      More to the point it was always clear that the last few % would be fttc. Its not as though they’ve changed their plan.

  4. Avatar lukehebb

    So my flat in a privately owned building isn’t yet available because kcom haven’t been bothered to survey and install it. Building owner has given permission and it’s private so no council involvement.

    A very premature celebration

    • Avatar Mike

      Have you tried personally reaching out to KCOM?

    • Avatar lukehebb

      Yep! They have had all of the information and everything they need since early December and so far have no idea when it will even be surveyed let alone installed!

  5. Avatar Alex

    96%… I still don’t know a single person who has access to fibre! They fell way behind and are covering it up.

  6. Avatar Jay

    Still waiting 7 months after putting my request to have fibre connected up to my small apartment block (4 apartments, 2 floors).

    It’s been available on the street for years, but they simply refuse to do anything about connecting it my building despite having the building owners permission since November.

    After 10+ phone calls, I currently have one of their customer service employees emailing me every 2 weeks to let me know if they are any updates – but its the same every time “No updates, and no expected time frame”.

    After meeting a KCOM engineer through a friend who told me ‘unless everyone in your building requests it, chances are it will just keep being put to the bottom of the list’, I’ve all bust given up hope having it now.

    A very premature celebration of a ‘completed’ project.

  7. Avatar David

    I live on the marina and still cant get Lightstream. I have called KCOM numerous times and sent emails etc but still nothing. All I have received is the usual it’s coming soon which they have been wheeling out for many years now.

    • Avatar David

      I should add I can’t get fttc either so I’m still on the same hideous service I have had for the last seven years.

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