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back to article Kingston: nobody else wants to provide broadband round here

Kingston Communications, the UK's only remaining independent local phone company, has hit back at suggestions from an MEP that Hull's businesses and consumers are "held to ransom" by lack of competition in broadband. The Independent carried a story today that Diana Wallis, Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has …

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Surprise Surprise

Its funny that no one wants to touch Kingston with a bargepole, perhaps they are overcharging to resellers and no one wants to touch this area.

I find it very strange with a city of approximately 250,000 people that no one would want to go in and attempt to undercut kingston and provide a better deal especially since kingston has a monopoly here!

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Ha

from what i understand they are charging an arm and a leg for their wholesale packages. plus they dont use the same settings as the bt lines, LLC instead of VC Mux.

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Anonymous Coward

BucKaroo $$$

My father lives in the area and wanted to go on to broadband with his existing dialup ISP. He couldn't, so he reluctantly went to Karoo (Kingston's own brand broadband). In any other area of the country, he could have obtained the same package more cheaply. He was then forced to change his web hosting and email address, as his old ISP wouldn't let him keep it when he left.

To understand why nobody is bothering, you only need to look at their [Kingston's] pricing. Kingston have deliberately priced other ISPs out of the market with their over the top network usage costs. Other ISPs want to provide broadband, they just don't want to pay Kingston through the nose for the privilege.

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Anonymous Coward

@Surprise Surprise

... or maybe other ISPs have seen how much the people of Hull moan about the price etc. and think they won't be profitable customers?

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This post has been deleted by its author

If only it was just Hull

The ridiculous cream phoneboxes extend throughout the unfortunate HUXX area :(

If HullComm ran brothels you'd be promised a supermodel, have to pay them the deed to your house, be made to wait days before finally sodomized without warning by an elephant and thrown naked into the streets.

Actually, even then you'd at least be able to take your business elsewhere. Here you're legally obliged to keep going back for another 12 months...

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Go for it.

I think it would be extremely interested for other providers to come into competition within the Hull area. I think it would give the residents of Hull an unwelcome insight into just how much 'better' the ISPs are that they can't sign up for.

IE, hour-long waiting times to get through to consultants, 6-week time periods between ringing up for the service and getting it activated (as opposed to Karoo's 6 working days), £40 line reconnection charged (as opposed to BT's £120+ charge) free activation (as opposed to Virgin Media's £25), and out-of-area technical support (as opposed to Hull's local technical advisors who are open till 10pm every night).

I say go for it, as they say, give em' what they (think) they want.

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Anonymous Coward

The people of Hull....

...might wish to reflect upon the money the council got (still gets?) from the sale and how much it kept their council tax bills down? ISTR it was called a "bonanza" at the time. Not much consolation now I know.

Nobody is going to LLU Hull. Reason? How does Hull interconnect to the rest of the world for virtually all voice/data? Mmmmm yes that'd be BT. Why bother putting in backhaul when the area isn't exactly one where you'll get decent revenue from consumers?

Apologies to people in Hull but at one point in time you were the envy of the UK (free local calls) and now you envy the rest. Seems fair as you do actually have broadband but have to pay a bit more ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Stealing money from customers

I live in Hull. I subscribe to Sky Digital who provide free ADSL, I also have a contract with Orange who also provide free ADSL. I can not access either of these free services and instead have to pay KCOM £20 for something I should by rights get for FREE!

I have already complained to Ofcom who say they cannot do anything. My local MP also won’t do anything. How can anyone looking at this see there isn't a huge problem with KCOM being allowed to operate a monopoly! The Scottish Executive subsidised rural broadband maybe our government should give an incentive for offering broadband within Hull. It would stop KCOM squeezing local business and residential customers; it would also entice business to the region if there were cheaper internet access.

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Kane has a point...

While I suspect that Kane may be an employee or major shareholder of KC he is right that there are some positives to being in the KC area. I work in the IT support sector and have spent many years cursing the name of KC support when having issues with our business Internet lines (starting with our ISDN way back when). They always stuck me on hold for ages and could take days to sort our issues.

Then we got an office in BT land.

I've decided that, on balance, KC aren't that bad :)

For people who've only dealt with KC believe me when I say that there are much worse out there.

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Shortsighted

So, the council decides to sell, and a company that was the envy of the rest of the UK when run by the people turns rubbish when run for the benefit of private shareholders. Why should we be surprised? The people were robbed when it was sold off, just as the rest of us were when BT went.

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Anonymous Coward

Ofcom have been useless in KCOM related cases.

Living in a KCOM area, I can confirm that they are very poor value for money.

Quite honestly the British Government or the EU should forcibly fold this area into BT.

Karoo run an effective monopoly as they charge such extortionate prices for line rental no other company can reasonably enter the market, or charge a feasible price in order to turn profit. Of course Ofcom the idiots claim it's not a "monopoly" and in a literal term they have a point, but it's certainly antitrust and I hope one day KC get shafted for this animosity.

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Hull - Centre of the World - Not!

It's by all means interesting to read the comments from the readers of the Kingston Com article and broadband.

First, Hull didn't survive the fishery wars between Iceland and England, especially after the seriously bungled negotiations by the local Hull MP - Mr Prescott ( Yes, the infamous Mr Two Jags ) and as the notoriously aggressive port tradeunion resisted any attempts from larger companies to establish bases at Hull harbor for EU export. As a result, Hull is basically dead as a corporate hub even if the City Council refuses to accept it... As we all know, any City Council can revamp any city by spending taxpayers money on citywide plantations etc. Dooh! Besides, Hull University is not renowned for producing well educated youngsters so why should any IT or other technology companies bother ( except for the cheap labor in Hull... )

Now then, look at the market! 250,000 peeps? Shure, but let's look at the numbers!

27% unemployment?! Let us assume that one person of 2.5 inhabitants works to or are seeking work. Of those 73% that work, 40% are on national minimum wage. Let's do the math now - guesstimate that 100,000 is working or looking for work. 27% of these are unemployed = 73,000 persons are working. 40% of these are on minimum wage so the rest - 60% of 73,000 = 43,800 potential customers for Kingston.

If we look at the UK broadband average numbers, say 30% of the population have broadband - 30% of 43,800 = 13,140 broadband punters!!!

Well then, let us use generous figures and say that 25,000 punters have broadband.

Who in the right state of mind can believe that this would be a lucrative market for BT or anyone else? Seriously?

First, to win over new punters, you need to present a lower price for the same or better service. Many ISP's pay for their fibres on a kilometer basis ( miles ) and as Hull is at the end of the World, this EXPENSIVE. I guess the nearest major node to be in Leeds.

Combine this with a low buying power from the locals and you have a market none want to invest in.

And to defend Kingston Comms, the numbers are stacked against them as well!

So stop whinging about not having any competing ISP's here, AOL tried but didn't make any money, I guess BT just cannot be bothered either and as most alternative ISP's have the small print "BT Line required" - dream on...

If you look at Hull in general, there is a lack of medium sized as well as large companies, which in hindsight is absolutely self explanatory.

Now then, don't take my guesstimated figures for facts -do your business model

calculation yourself...

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Anonymous Coward

@ Da Andersson

Interesting stats.

[Off Topic]

As someone who lives in Hull, and just to reinforce your point, I'm a fully qualified IT Technician on *just* above minimum wage, in a job in a department within the Council. I received my qualifications in Hull, paid for by the government. There are no prospects for progression in my current job due to the Council trimming down their workforce (as all readers of the Hull Daily Mail will know about).

Iv'e been looking for another job for over a year now, but IT jobs don't seem to pop up that often. Chances are that I may move city. I could imagine this happening across the board with many professions, which may in part be responsible for such high unemployment and such low rates of pay.

[On Topic]

Last time Ofcom came to Hull they was met (apperntly) by an angry crowd of people requesting that they look into Karoo's monopoly. Needless to say, after that they didn't bother coming back ever again. It's interesting to see that about 5 years later, this seems to be blowing back up again.

Those who live in BT areas, if you seem to think that Karoo have good support, compare what we pay for broadband with what you pay :)

Karoo's 8Meg offering is seriously over-saturated, and you're lucky to get 20kb/sec at peak times.

I'm currently on a 1Meg package, and although I usually get 120kb/sec out of it, and it's stable enough for how I need to use it, the 1Meg line costs me £24.99 per month (and on a 12 month contract).

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Itys not as bad as people make out

Ive got the 8 Meg service in Hull, £28.99 per month, unlimited for all practical purposes. I get 6Meg connection speed and get ~620Kb/s most of the time.

Ive found the technical support better than any other technical support helpline ive had to deal with.

Yes they are a little over priced but you do get a good service now. They did have some problems a few years ago but it seems to be sorted.

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Anonymous Coward

End Game = OPLAN

Whether in terms of data rates (upto Gbps) or longevity (decade warranty) fibre to the premises FttP is the ultimate objective if individuals are to have equality of access in a future-proof form.

It is simply a matter of time and will for any given community including Hull to have FttP universally available.

The central issue for any existing or emergent FttP utility service provider is the level of uptake - if 50% of residents in a given ward, estate, suburb or city commit to taking FttP service then a rollout becomes commercially interesting.

The OPLAN (Open Public Local Access Network) model combined with community shared ownership (perhaps through a members co-op) of the fibre infrastructure would give Hull, first in the UK, the kind of end game solution that our friends in Holland have been enjoying for several years eg www.onsnetnuenen.nl

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