The Managing Director of Hull’s (East Yorkshire) incumbent telecoms operator KCOM, Sean Royce, has hinted in a special Q&A event that lower prices could be on the way for local broadband subscribers. The new year will also bring the introduction of a new “Super Router“.
As most people know KCOM are currently investing £85 million to ensure that their new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) lines, which offer broadband download speeds of up to 400Mbps to local homes and 1Gbps (1000Mbps) to businesses, can cover 96% of their addressable network area by March 2019 or 200,000+ premises (the remaining 4% will gain 75Mbps capable FTTC / VDSL2).
Nevertheless some residents are still frustrated at the lack of ISP choice in the local market, which can make a few of their packages seem pricey (particularly at the lower end). For example, if we select a 30Mbps service and add unlimited usage like most of the mainstream UK providers then you can expect to pay £55 a month (plus £56.49 one-off upfront). On the other hand they have to gain a fair return on that FTTP investment.
However last night Sean took part in his first Facebook Live broadcast, which rather uniquely fielded some predictable questions from customers across Hull. You can find more details on KCOM’s Facebook page but we’ve also integrated a recording of the full 53 min video below, although the audio appears to be a little out of sync.
Sean didn’t say anything too revelatory as part of the event, although he did admit that pricing was something they “have to address” and apparently the team are already “looking at lowering prices” (no ETA was given). “I do recognise we do need to constantly review the price points and the products we provide and we will do that. I think there are some more unlimited packages we can do,” said Sean.
The MD was however keen to point out that they don’t run the same sort of special offers as other ISPs, where at the end of your term the price could in some cases double as initial contract discounts come to an end. “We don’t do that, you don’t pay that, there’s nothing hidden,” said Sean.
KCOM’s boss also agreed that “we have a monopoly” in the local market before noting that “TalkTalk, Virgin, anyone can come here and pay a price but it doesn’t happen … we can’t force them here.” We recommend reading our summary from the outcome of Ofcom’s recent Wholesale Broadband Access (WBA) review in order to get the full context for this (here).
Sean also fielded questions on various other topics, which among other things confirmed that a new Super Router would surface in the New Year 2019 and that at present KCOM does not appear to have any solid plans to add a TV (IPTV) product but they are keeping an open mind. Understandably the cost of TV content and can make it a difficult market to enter, but their FTTP network offers a lot of potential.