The incumbent ISP for Hull (East Riding of Yorkshire), KCOM, has moved to address consumer concerns by refreshing their fibre optic (FTTP/C) “Lightstream” broadband packages to offer more unlimited data options (as opposed to old fashioned capped allowances), cheaper prices and a new 900Mbps tier.
Consumers in Hull frequently complain about the operator’s dominant position in the local market, which is one of the reasons why in the past they’ve been able to get away with setting higher prices and often use more restrictive data caps than others in the wider UK market.
On the flip side, if they didn’t have that dominant position then they probably wouldn’t be investing £85m to ensure that their new Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband lines are able to cover 96% of their addressable network area – 200,000+ premises – by March 2019; the remaining 4% will gain 75Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (VDSL2).
Nevertheless the company’s Managing Director, Sean Royce, last month acknowledged the concerns and hinted that the operator was “looking at lowering prices … 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” (here).
The good news is that KCOM has now introduced a bunch of changes, which aim to address the aforementioned concerns.
KCOM’s Key Changes
* A new entry level Lightstream package costing just £25
* An unlimited data option with all Lightstream packages
* 12-month contracts – shorter than other providers
* A standard, single connection fee of £25
* A new “Gigafast” service offering download speeds of 900Mbps
* Flexible “bolt-on” local, national, international and mobile call packages that offer customers more value
Prices have now been reduced across a bunch of packages. For example, the 30Mbps unlimited Lightstream package has gone from £55 to £40 per month, while the 200Mbps unlimited data package has gone from £58 to £46 a month and even their 400Mbps unlimited data package has dropped from £60 to £50 per month etc.
Sean Royce, MD of KCOM, said:
“When we held our first Facebook Live event in October it was obvious people are passionate about KCOM and the role it plays here in Hull and East Yorkshire. But it was also clear our customers wanted us to change aspects of what we do.
The changes we’ve made to our services are part of that listening process and will hopefully make our customers proud of the broadband service this region enjoys. Full fibre Lightstream is already the Ferrari of the broadband world – now we’re putting that Ferrari within everyone’s reach.”
The new prices make KCOM look much more competitive with the wider market than they did before, albeit still some distance off the cheapest FTTC packages on Openreach’s national network. However, as highlighted earlier in this article, that’s not necessarily a bad thing since you’ll be getting a strong “full fibre” FTTP service.
Meanwhile we note that it’s still possible to get a capped data allowance if you want, albeit at lower prices, which may be useful for those who only make very casual use of their internet connection. KCOM are also in the process of testing a new broadband router and this should follow shortly, although we’re still trying to discover precisely what kit is in the trial.