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Hull ISP KCOM to Start Migrating DSL Broadband Lines to FTTP

Saturday, Jul 23rd, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 3,728
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Hull-based UK broadband ISP KCOM has, thus far, been fairly quiet on the operator’s plans to withdraw their older copper-based broadband (ADSL and VDSL) and phone (PSTN) products. But a recent update, which was given to their wholesale customers, appears to have included a solid indication of the likely timeline.

The migration plan is only relevant to KCOM’s original market in and around the Hull area of East Yorkshire (England), which has already been covered by their new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network as part of the operator’s original £85m investment project.

Much like Openreach (BT), KCOM also has a legacy of older copper based ADSL and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) broadband lines, as well as some old Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone services. The operator will need to migrate these to their FTTP and IP (VoIP) based phone services before they can finally retire the old platform (only needing to run one network will also reduce their costs).

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However, until now we’ve not had a lot of detail on the timeline for the final migration of their ADSL and VDSL2 customers to FTTP, although there have already been some trials around the Beverley area. But a recent update, which was issued to their wholesale partners, has revealed some key details. We expect this to reflect the plans for their retail base too.

KCOM’s Wholesale Migration Plans

➤ The operator will cease support for Copper Access based KCOM Line Rental (KLR) and Connect Business Voice (CBV) ISDN2, ISDN30 (DASS and DPNSS) and Centrex services from 31st March 2023.

➤ ADSL and VDSL customers will have to migrate to Fibre Broadband. ADSL and VDSL services will no longer be available as of 31st March 2023, so customers will need to have been migrated by this point.

➤ KCOM will be migrating KLR Analogue Exchange Line services to our Voice over Fibre service, starting from September 2022. This service is already in use by around 7,000 homes and businesses in Hull and all of KCOM’s customers in the KCOM Expansion Area.

➤ KCOM said they’re “liaising with government agencies, industry groups and equipment manufacturers to consider the best approach to be taken for vulnerable/at risk customers and non-KCOM provided equipment connected to the network“.

Much like with Openreach’s plans, the final migration to full fibre broadband and IP based voice services may affect some services that depend upon the legacy network (e.g. care alarms and terminal equipment), although this is largely a matter for the associated companies and customers to resolve themselves. Technology does not stand still forever.

In addition, a battery backup system will also be provided to vulnerable customers who may need to still make calls if there is a power failure at their property, which is rapidly becoming fairly normal. Finally, end customers who cannot complete the self-install process, will be able to request a visit to support the migration.

We understand that KCOM intend to make a more formal announcement about all this around the end of summer or early autumn. Naturally, their wholesale partners are being given a heads-up.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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17 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Rich says:

    I wish BT could do this, but alas the legacy of LLU etc will prevent it.

  2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    So what happens if people refuse to go to FTTP? I know Hull only had Kcom, so I presume Openreach is available now, and they do FTTC, sop people can go onto openrach network.
    I chat to someone who is using Vodafone broadband, and he had an email to say they are changing his FTTC to FTTP, but keeping the same speed and price. But he told them no way.

    Kcom would have to have access to a customers’ property to provide FTTP, so all the person have to do is refuse them entry.
    that is the problem with these large companies, they think they can do what they want and stuff the consumer.

    1. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      Why would you say no to FTTP? Its more reliable and lower latency even if you stay on the same package. This isn’t ‘stuffing the consumer’, its the customer being difficult.

      With the exception of the copper phone line for emergency calls… though this will be going to voip on FTTC as well.

      If a customer refuses access they will probably be cut off at the end of their contract and only offered FTTP, KCOM haven’t said though since its very likely that someone would refuse FTTP.

    2. Avatar photo An Engineer says:

      Openreach have no FTTC in Hull. The options are FTTP from KCom or FTTP from somewhere else.

      As it stands people decline to be moved they lose their Internet access and phone line.

      This has to happen sooner or later.

      Companies do indeed have some discretion as far as the services they provide customers go. Copper phone lines and broadband are not a right. Only reason Openreach aren’t doing it is LLU.

    3. Avatar photo An Engineer says:

      What were your thoughts on the retirement of rotary dialing and the move to touch-tone, AD?

      Or the move to direct dial from having operators connect calls?

      Copper to fibre is the migration of our times. Whether people like it or not it is not only happening but must: why should everyone else pay more because a tiny minority refuse to move?

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Alex A, Maybe people don’t want their garden/drive dug up, it is not so bad if they go over head, like openreach do, but if they go underground I have seen some of the mess that is left behind. We are having zzoomm FTTP laid in the city and looking at some of their work, if I had a decent driveway I would be a bit worried about allowing them to dig it up. My driveway is mainly stones, so not a big problem.
      I have also heard of people damaging their fibre, the copper wires on my pole have been there for over 50 years and still work fine, even doing stuff they were not intended for.

      VoIP, I use VoIP and have been for years, I don’t have a phone connected to my landline, but the problem is if I have a power cut that is it, no phone, also VoIP have to pass though different servers, if one of them fail, again, no phone.
      the person I was on about above, has an alarm system, for his wife, that uses a phone line, it may work on VoIP, but if the power went. Open reach used to provide a battery backup, but I see now they don’t. Surly they should be forced to do so and Kcom?

      @An Engineer

      I thought that was the case of Openreach not having FTTC as that was one place in the U.K where Open reach did not have a monopoly, they had another company with a monopoly instead.

      I thought Kcom was the only supplier in Hull, so how can people go elsewhere? I am surprised that this have not been changed, to be honest.

      I don’t remember calls via the operator, I did use them a couple of times when I was a teen, but not a lot, I like the old rotary phones, better than some of the rubbish that is produced now, saying that my BT synergy4100 cordless phone is still working, and they are around 18 years old, I did buy another handset around ten years ago as I decided I wanted 4 handsets and I did replace the batteries a couple of years ago, so not too bad.

      I remember when I was a child, someone across the road having a trim phone, could hear it halfway down the road. Not many people had phones then, I used to use the phone box up the road, we did get one when my brother decided to set up a mobile disco, but I was told, not to touch it 🙂

      I know fibre is the next step, I just don’t like this forcing people. ~Once they change to fibre, even at the slower speed, are they going to be bombarded with emails, text or leaflets saying, update to a faster speed?
      I know of someone who has that with FTTC, they went on the lower speed as that is all they required and get emails every few months saying we have an offer on Fibre65, update now for a pound a month extra. Which is fine, but it will not stay a pound a month extra. I can’t get any faster than my 36Mb/s, so I don’t get these emails, but then again, maybe plusnet don’t send them out.

      Well up here, we have Zzoomm now putting fibre down, they have arived up my estate and also a couple of roads away, it also seems as if Openreach have started as well. They are like buses.
      I am under contract with Plusnet for another 12 months, gives me time to think what I am going to do and also allow the bugs and problems get sorted out. Zzoomm seems to have a fair few of them.

    5. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      @AD47UK existing ducts and poles are used by KCOM so digging up your drive is unlikely to be needed unless direct in ground (which I cant find examples for KCOM online).

    6. Avatar photo An Engineer says:

      I know of at least 2 alternative networks building full fibre in Hull, so there are challengers.

      If you mean challenging the compulsory move to FTTP I would assume it’s already had regulatory approval.

      I’ve no doubt some won’t be happy with an ONU consuming electricity in their home, or its appearance, though. I suppose I think of this in terms of analogue phone being the novelty, the power coming from elsewhere, and that the analogue NTE is not attractive either.

    7. Avatar photo J Holden says:

      He can say no if he wants but KCom will be ripping the copper out of the ducts, taking it down from the poles, taking the kit out of the exchanges and selling off all of the exchanges they don’t need. Then there’s the engineers who in time won’t have a clue what this copper stuff is. Your friend’s phone will end up connected to precisely nothing. Perhaps he would like to have FTTP installed before this happens so that he can continue to receive a service?

    8. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Alex A, not digging up my drive in Hull, I live nowhere near it, but we do have a lt network here digging around and the mess they are making me think if they do that on the road, what will they do to peoples drives?
      If they are using p[oles and existing ducts, then it is not too bad.

      @An Engineer, i meant alternative providers, if Kcom is the only one in hull then it is no different from open reach being a monopoly in other parts of the country. You say there are alternatives, 2 of them, but does everyone in hull have access to them?

      Here in Hereford we are having zzoomm and it looks like open reach is now moving their backside in providing FTTP, but strange how they are up on my estate at the same time as zoom, maybe Open reach are scared of losing customers, because I think they certainly will. Ok i know open reach don’t have consumers, but they still get money from internet providers and if internet providers lose customers to zzzoomm, so do open reach.

      Does a ONU consume a lot of electric?. I can’t see them using that much to be honest, but yes some people may not like it. I know of someone who turns their router off when they go out and when they go to bed, no matter how many times I tell them not to.

      Analogue phones are normally reliable, in all the years I have had a home phone myself, I had one problem and that was what started off the problem I had with my broadband at the same time. My parents only had one problem, years ago and that was water in the junction box, now I have had a few problems over the years with broadband, mainly the routers being unreliable.

      i presume it will come here at some point when OR covers the whole city, but I think it will be years.

    9. Avatar photo An Engineer says:

      2 alternative networks, both full fibre, neither available to all of Hull.

      Even if they were available across the city Hull residents are going FTTP, going mobile or going offline.

      Shouldn’t be too long before Openreach are doing the same thing. Some of our continental neighbours already have copper switched off everywhere full fibre is available, so must be our turn.

    10. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @An Engineer so not available to all of Hull and this is the problem or one of them anyway, little choice. Do over providers exists on Kcom like we have on open reach?.

      I think open reach will take a long time to do the whole of the U.K, the only reason they are here where I live I think is because of Zzoomm, but I saw zzoomm doing something on the poles a few days ago, so maybe open reach was doing something for them. As i said, it will take a long time before openreach have done the whole of the U.K, so forcing people to fibre is not going to happen for most. Anyway, what about those who are on providers that don’t offer FTTP? Not sure if there are any left, even Plusnet is now doing FTTP, but not advertising it yet.

      We will wait and see, I am happy with my FTTC, it does what I need and at an ok price, just need to have better routers.
      That is the other thing about FTTP, more electronics to go wrong and also fibre is easy to damage. Been a few people already around the city complaining that their fibre is damaged.

    11. Avatar photo An Engineer says:

      There aren’t any wholesale customers of KCom that I’m aware of. Doesn’t really matter for this, though. KCom own the network and are removing copper services so would apply to wholesale customers too.

      All Openreach’s direct customers of any scale sell full fibre and those that wholesale Openreach sell full fibre. Not Openreach’s problem what their customers’ customers offer.

      On reliability fibre is more reliable than copper. Operators going full fibre see fault calls drop by 30-60%.

      The change nationwide isn’t about Hull, Hereford or what you may want: you’ve made your preferences clear. It’s inevitable and the sooner the better as long as the safeguards for the vulnerable are there.

  3. Avatar photo arundel says:

    Dates coincide with first tranche of telecoms security act measures. Probably not a coincidence 🙂

  4. Avatar photo Comms Engineer says:

    What about emergency/fall back essential lines with no back up power?
    Stuck in a lift, no power or line,Emergency services, “Hospital Red phone”Police, Ambulance during power outage?

    1. Avatar photo A USER says:

      You add a UPS to the system for battery backup, for specialist cases like that you can add a large battery at all the stages needed for multiple days or more of power

  5. Avatar photo James says:

    Spotted something on the KCOM site. Looks to be from August 22

    VOIP Lightstream

    – Wireless broadband router
    – Optical Network Terminal (ONT) – internal
    – Customer Termination Unit (CTU) – external
    – Master phone socket (NTE) connected to the ONT to provide telephone service
    – Battery Back Unit (BBU) for phone service
    – ‘If you are taking service outside KCOM’s original licensed network geographical area listed below, we will only provide a battery back-up unit if you do not have the ability to make calls from a mobile phone in the event of a power failure, you have poor mobile
    phone coverage or you are deemed at risk or vulnerable.’

    Areas outside of KCOM’s original licensed network geographical area:
    – Driffield
    – Nafferton
    – Market Weighton
    – Pocklington
    – Howden
    – Goole
    – Selby
    – Hornsea
    – Withernsea

    http://pricing.kcomhome.com/media/1605/p05-s24-props-32.pdf

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