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Ofcom propose that KCOM bundling restrictions be removed
Thursday 05 August 2010 15:07:24 by John Hunt

Ofcom has today proposed to allow KCOM, the telecommunications provider in Hull, to bundle broadband, landline and other services together in a move that should save consumers money. Last year, Ofcom made a ruling to allow BT to bundle products together which had previously not been allowed due to BT holding significant market power. Whilst this is still true in Hull where KCOM operate the incumbent telephone network, Ofcom believe that there is no evidence that there is likely to be competitive fixed retail narrowband services in the near future, leaving Hull residents as the only group in the UK who could not benefit from price savings brought about by bundled products.

The proposals from Ofcom will see some restrictions placed on KCOM, requiring that:

  • bundles are made available to all residents (and businesses) equally in the Hull area; and
  • prices for bundles are set in a way that will not discourage other communications providers from offering their services to consumers in Hull, should they wish to do so.

The full consultation document can be found here, and is open for responses until 2nd September 2010.

Comments

Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Hate ofcom, why can't they just leave companies alone?
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
One of their roles is to protect businesses and consumers by facilitating competition. Although sometimes it seems as though they are just causing more problems, it is probably better a world with them.
Posted by adriandaz over 6 years ago
This is a good thing! No other realistic fixed line services or ISPs are available and probably won't be for the foreseeable future, no providers have expressed reasonable interest in the past 10 years. This will allow KCOM to offer bundle deals which in turn will save both consumers and businesses money.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Restricting the free market is never a good thing.

If you don't like what KCOM over don't buy it, if you need broadband so badly then move.

Damn nimbys!
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Adrian, I've lost track of hull to be honest, are other providers allowed in now or not? Is there any concept of LLU in hull
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@GMAN99:According to Wikipedia LLU is possible but the area too small to be viable. Apparently the cable coming out of the exchange is also narrower than UK standard so presumably that will curtail speeds across the board.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
I see, sucks to be in Hull then in terms of Internet services in the future, I bet they've no plans for FTTC/FTTP
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
'the cable coming out of the exchange is also narrower than UK standard'

Interesting, who writes this stuff?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
In detail - A further complication for any would-be rival of KC is the fact that in Hull the first 1 km of wire from the exchange has a cross-section of 0.3 mm sq, as opposed to the standard 0.5 mm sq, requiring a more expensive DSLAM in the telephone exchange for providing an ADSL service.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
So in summary no outsiders will be interested in Hull, not good for their residents..
Posted by webranger over 6 years ago
If this is the case, haven't the businesses in Hull been screaming for the right to have a competitive service? Or moving out in droves? Particularly ironic as this is John Prescott's constituency.
Posted by adriandaz over 6 years ago
Maybe so, but atleast people will benefit from better prices... I'm told some of the cable from the exchange to PCPs is smaller gague so the ADSL signal doesn't travel as well as on BT lines, from what I've seen this leads to higher attenuation like for like compared to a BT line. There are a few Wireless ISPs popping up such as Nextgenus which I am currently trialing. Very fast and low latency :)
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
Ofcom have recently relaxed the reigns on BT Retail in the rest of the UK in permitting BT to offer more aggressively priced service through bundling lines, calls and broadband services to residential customers. The customer has the freedom to select a bundled option (the more you buy the less you pay) and is not "forced bundling"(tied)that forces ALL KC customers to pay for local calls from KC at an additional £3.50 per line per month whether they make a call or not of which removes all competition in the Hull market for local calls.
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
If Ofcom were to allow KC to offer similar "bundled" packages, whilst initially being good for the consumer, would have a considerable long term negative effect on consumer choice since by reducing charges without the precesence of any existing competition in an existing Monopoly where Significant Market Power (SMP) already exists would further minimise any possibility of any other Commuicarions Provider seeking to enter the Hull market in direct competition to KC and harm whatever limited competition already exists.
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
If Ofcom are considering permitting KC to bundle services,Ofcom MUST conduct a new investigation into the individual markets for telephone calls, lines and broadband markets in the Hull area. If KC still are still considered to have Significant Market Power in any of these markets bundling cannot be permitted.
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
Fibrestram / Nextgenus will be writing to Ofcom to raise this issue formally with the regulator and will make their position abundantly clear that the removal on the existing conditions on KC will be fully objected to and vehemently opposed on the grounds that KC continue to possess SMP in all 3 markets and Communication Providers (CP's) do not have access to the KC telephone line at the wholesale level.
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
Fibrestream/ Nextgenus would only ever agree to the removal of the existing conditions placed on KC unless the equivalent of Openreaches WLR3 services were made available from KC in the Hull area whereby CP's were able to compete directly with KC for the provision of fixed telephony service having obtained "Equivalence" with all providers that wish to compete in the Hull market.
Posted by ProjectNovo over 6 years ago
If Ofcom were to orchestrate this would fully benefit consumers in terms of not just providing consumers with competitively priced services but would also provide consumers with a number of alternative choice's with a selection of providers wherby endusers can choose their supplier based on price and service.Ofcom should write to all CP's to solicit their views about the Hull Market.
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