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KCOM Name Initial UK FTTP Rollout Areas and Hints of 2020 Plans UPDATE

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 (6:30 pm) - Score 2,941

Earlier today UK ISP KCOM unveiled Phase One of a new £100m project to extend the coverage of their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network into new parts of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire (here). Now the provider’s MD, Sean Royce, has revealed details of its initial rollout areas and other plans for 2020.

The proposed deployment marks a significant shift for KCOM, which up until now has tended to self-confine itself to being the incumbent communications provider across its network footprint of c.200,000 premises in parts of East Yorkshire and the city of Hull.

However, last year’s £627m takeover by Macquarie Infrastructure (MIRA / MEIF 6 Fibre) changed all that (here). As part of that deal Macquarie promised, among other things, to increase the “amount of business with third party ISPs” and to “use additional investment to expand the fibre network beyond the current footprint.”

In an urban area the proposed £100m network expansion might be enough to add another 200,000 premises (effectively doubling their network coverage), although the announcement itself only mentioned “tens of thousands more homes and businesses” (possibly indicating a greater focus on more rural communities).

The good news is that KCOM’s MD has now revealed a few more details about their roll-out and other plans for 2020 as part tonight’s KCOM Facebook Live Q&A event. Apparently the first areas to benefit will include thousands of properties in the market town of Driffield, followed closely by the town of Market Weighton and the modest sized village of Nafferton.

Sean Royce, KCOM’s Managing Director, said:

“I’m delighted to announce we’re bringing our award-winning full fibre broadband to new areas beyond our traditional network.

Today we’re announcing that we’ll shortly be launching our ultrafast Lightstream broadband service to thousands of properties in Driffield, followed closely by a Market Weighton and Nafferton. And this is just the beginning – we will be announcing more areas throughout 2020.

This means more people than ever will be able to access one of the best broadband services on the planet. Thousands of people in the areas we’re expanding to will now have the chance to stream, surf, download and game faster and better than anyone else in the UK – with no more buffering or delays.

Lightstream has already had a huge impact where it is currently available in Hull and East Yorkshire, changing the way people consume the internet at home and transforming the economy for local businesses. We fully expect this good news to boost the areas we’re now reaching out to.

This £100 million investment is a huge vote of confidence in our regional business from our new owners, who recognise the great potential this region has to grow and prosper with quality ultrafast broadband.”

A quick look at the three initial locations reveals that they’re all dotted around KCOM’s existing network area and there’s a lack of rival ultrafast broadband networks in almost all of them, except for a little bit of Openreach’s FTTP in Driffield. As such these communities seem like a reasonable and fairly low-risk place for the operator to start the next phase of their expansion.

In fact there are quite a few locations like this outside of KCOM’s traditional network patch and so there’s plenty of opportunity for them to grow. Further details about KCOM’s future plans for 2020 were also revealed during the event but we’ve run out of time for those tonight and will summarise any interesting bits tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 9th Jan 2020

As promised we’ve summarised some of the key points and developments below from last nights Q&A with Sean Royce.

Summary of KCOM Q&A Points

* KCOM did have a TV package for awhile but due to a lack of demand for the product it was scrapped. The operator is apparently always looking for new products to introduce but at the moment they have no plans to introduce a new TV package.

* The operator also confirmed they have no plans to review their current prices (they were already reduced a year ago), which are deemed to now be competitive with the wider market.

* KCOM has no plans at the moment to up their speed any further due to 900Mbps being more than enough for the average household.

* On upload speeds (currently between 15Mbps to 50Mbps for homes), Sean said they will be looking into the upload speeds they offer “this year” and should hopefully have some good news for customers soon.

* On the new FTTP rollout, Sean said they expect to install and connect from February 2020. KCOM are also calling for locals to register their interest. Not surprising as a commercial operator like KCOM is more demand-led. https://www.kcomhome.com/lightstream/register-your-interest/ or 0333 230 0449.

* Sean also touched on the issue of getting their FTTP into blocks of flats, which as we known have been held up by the usual problems with access agreements (wayleaves etc. – “we need the landlord to let us in“). Apparently they expect to get those agreements sorted within the next “12 months or so.”

* The “pockets” of areas where KCOM have only deployed their slower hybrid fibre FTTC (VDSL2) technology, which has a peak download speed of 75Mbps, will be upgraded to FTTP (no firm date was given).

* Sean noted that they’ve recently launched a new range of “Flex” packages on their FTTP network for low income families (monthly prices range from £5.10 to £20) – https://www.kcomhome.com/lightstream/flex-packages/ . Essentially these are very basic low cost services that include a price cap so you will only ever pay a maximum of £10 a month for phone calls. Limited data allowances also apply and if you exceed those then service speeds are throttled to just 128Kbps (in our experience web browsing at that speed will be very painful and some larger sites may simply time-out during loading).

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar SymetricalAccess says:

    Very good to hear their looking into improving the upload speed. Everyone should be putting more effort into this area now.

    Like the low priced capped packages as well, smart move.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      A guy with that name that can’t spell ‘symmetrical’.


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