||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (January 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Kingston Communications (KC)|
|Traded as||LSE: KCOM|
|Founded||Originated 1882, floated as PLC 1999|
|Headquarters||Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom|
|Products||Retail and Wholesale local and national telecommunications services,
Broadband and internet services and IT and Network Solutions ,Mobile service (KCOM Mobile)
|Revenue||£348 million (2014/15)|
KCOM Group (formerly known as Kingston Communications and latterly KC) is a UK communications and IT services provider. Its headquarters are in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, where it serves local residents and businesses with Internet and telephony services. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The area has no BT landlines, as it would not be economically viable to build a BT network there. Therefore the vast majority of residents and most businesses in Hull, Cottingham and Beverley are served only with telecoms services by KCOM, and as a result, there have been complaints around internet service provisioning. KCOM's broadband service is the only fixed-line residential broadband operator in the Hull area. This means that the company has a virtual monopoly in Hull, despite the fact that there are now some competitors to KCOM's telephone services.
On 22 August 1902, Hull Corporation (which later became Hull City Council) was granted a licence under the Telegraph Act 1899 to operate a municipal telephone system in the Kingston upon Hull area, opening its first telephone exchange on 28 November 1904 at the former Trippett Street Baths.
At the time, there were a number of such municipal telephone companies around the UK, all of which – with the exception of the one in Hull – were gradually absorbed into the Post Office Telephone department, which was subsequently to become British Telecom (BT). Hull's bid to renew its licence in 1914 was made conditional on the £192,000 purchase of National Telephone Company infrastructure in the city. The council gave its approval, securing the future of the country's only remaining municipally owned telephone corporation.
The first Rotary automatic exchange opened in 1922, and from 1934 Strowger exchanges were installed. Rotary and Strowger exchanges were operated to 1975 and 1988 respectively, and two Crossbar exchanges to 1989, when the network became fully digital.
Hull has therefore remained an exception within the UK telephone network, being the only place in the UK not served by BT and is noted for its distinctive cream coloured telephone boxes and innovative services, for example becoming the UK's first fully digital network in 1989! using Marconi System X telephone switches (Central Offices or Class 5 switches).
In the early part of the new millennium, the company started to pioneer services such as ADSL, Video on Demand and Digital TV. In February 2006, it announced that it would be ceasing its Video on Demand and Digital TV services (called Kingston Interactive TV – KIT) on 1 April 2006.
In 2014 Ofcom forced all providers to offer broadband and phone bundles together to offer better value to customers. Karoo's cheapest bundle was £29.99 per month. On 4 April 2016, KCOM Group PLC Moved all of its brand under a single KCOM brand name.
KCOM provides Broadband and telephone service in Hull and surrounding areas.
KCOM's Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire operation covers a relatively small geographical area. Although it is under the same Ofcom and EU obligations in terms of local loop unbundling the market is relatively small and the economics generally do not justify entry by other companies.[dead link]
As residents and most businesses in Hull are served only with telecoms services by KCOM, there have been complaints around internet service provision; KCOM's broadband service is the only fixed-line residential broadband operator in the Hull area. According to a decision from the European Commission in 2004, KCOM Group held a 100% market share in the wholesale market of broadband services in the Hull area.
In December 2005, Giacom, the owner of Hull24 – a rival broadband provider in the Hull area – complained to Ofcom regarding the provision of network access to KC's rivals. The complaint was that "Giacom alleges that Kingston is not providing [network] access on reasonable terms as Kingston's pricing is anti-competitive and prohibitive to service providers [other than KC]". In April 2006 Giacom and KC resumed negotiations on a deal to allow Hull24 to use KC's network; as a result Giacom withdrew its complaint and Ofcom closed the case.
In May 2008 the "Review of the wholesale broadband access markets" report published by Ofcom determined that KC was not acting in a way that would keep out rival companies, and that pricing for wholesale broadband and access to local-loop unbundling was within the market range. The main reason cited by rivals for not providing services in the Hull area was rather one of overall cost effectiveness, given the relatively small number of potential customers (190,000 homes), and the fact that many of these would be likely to remain with the incumbent supplier.
In July 2009, Nexus Telecoms signed an agreement with KC enabling them to offer effective wholesale line rental and call tariffs to business consumers within the Hull area so giving them a choice of service provider. But, Nexus only provide broadband service to businesses, several other providers offering wireless internet access via a installed satellite on the property have set up and have taken some of KC's customers' including Pure Broadband and Connexin both local independent companies.
- Karoo ISP
- Eclipse Internet
- Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom
- List of dialling codes in the United Kingdom
- "Chief Executive". KCOM Group plc. Retrieved 17 January 2016.[not in citation given]
- Annual report and accounts
- KCOM Group: Our History
- History of Hull Telephone Department
- Three flotations that test global buoyancy
- Kingston Interactive Television to cease operations
- Kingston Communications changes name to KCOM Group Comms Dealer, 16 August 2007
- KCOM Group signs strategic agreement with BT Group www.kcom.com, "Our history", 2009
- Review of the wholesale broadband access markets – Final explanatory statement and notification
- Letter from the European Commission
- Giacom complaint against Kingston Communications about failure to provide Wholesale ADSL access | Ofcom
- Euro commission informed of KC's monopoly
- Kcom cleared of keeping out rivals
- "Nexus can now offer an alternative to Kingston for calls and lines in Hull". Nexus Telecommunications Ltd. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2009.