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ISP KC Brings 2Mbps Broadband for ALL in Hull and East Riding UK by 2011

Posted: 04th Jun, 2010 By: MarkJ
karooKC ( Karoo ), the incumbent phone and broadband ISP for Hull and East Riding (Yorkshire, UK), has called upon rival providers to follow their lead in rural areas. KC claims to have committed to providing 100% 2Mbps broadband penetration across the region by the end of this year and states that internet providers have a responsibility to bring related services to the disenfranchised few.

The calls follow a recent remark by the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Caroline Spelman, who said that the new government was "particularly keen to support community-led broadband in rural areas". KC believes Spelman is really suggesting that the responsibility and cost should reside with the people living in rural areas.

Nick Thompson, Director of Consumer Services, KC, informed ISPreview.co.uk:

"People living in rural locations have long been second class citizens when it comes to broadband and this simply has to change. Communities that don’t currently receive broadband are already at a disadvantage and they cannot be expected to have to engage in community projects in order to rectify the situation.

At KC, 98% of customers on our network already have access to at least 2MBPS broadband, well above the national average of 65% penetration. We have also committed to delivering this to everyone, including the most rural locations within our service area, by March next year - well ahead of the Digital Economy Bill deadline.

With the emergence of broadband-based technologies such as tele-medicine making a real difference to people’s lives it is more important than ever to get everyone online. KC is committed to regeneration across the region and we believe that it has to be the responsibility of broadband providers to end the disenfranchisement of rural communities. We are calling upon other providers to follow our lead."

The 2Mbps target set out by KC is "well ahead" of the Digital Britain deadline, which aims to deliver a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps to everybody in the country by 2012 (Universal Service Commitment). KC notes that its service area also has a more pronounced rural profile than the UK as a whole; 29% live in rural locations compared to a national average of 19%.

It is worth pointing out that most ISPs are not incumbents, like BT and KC are, and do not have the same legal responsibility to both build the underlying telecoms infrastructure and deploy services on it. Some ISPs do get involved (e.g. Rutland Telecom ) but most are internet service rather than infrastructure providers.

At the current time it is still not clear how the government plans to implement the 2Mbps USC. We're already half way through 2010, time is fast running out, and so far the new government has only talked about funding superfast next generation broadband services into rural areas after 2012. In fact it's not even clear if the 2Mbps USC is still a serious commitment.

Bootnote: KC just became the latest operator to incorrectly refer to speed in MegaBytes [MB] instead of Megabits [Mb] ("2MBPS"). It's surprising to see how many ISPs have got this wrong, with Eclipse Internet and Orange UK being some of the most recent slip-ups.

FYI: 1 Megabit = 0.125 Megabytes (i.e. 8Mbps would be equal to 1MB per second)
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