KCOM marks formal completion of its full fibre roll-out
KCOM pretty much finished building its FTTP network in Hull and parts of East Riding back in March 2019 but with the disruption involved in the £627m acquisition by Macquarie who is an investor in infrastructure around the globe, it has taken until now issue the press release formally announcing completion.
It is fantastic for the city that full fibre broadband is now available across KCOM’s whole network. “All businesses rely on good connectivity, from the smallest to the largest, and this means businesses in Hull can be confident that they can work faster and more efficiently.The city is in the middle of an economic and technological revolution. Full fibre broadband is a vital part of this for both new businesses and existing businesses looking to expand and grow.Councillor Stephen Brady OBE, leader of Hull City Council
We have now gone through the list of those in the KCOM area without access to the Lightstream product and found a few premises where we had not previously spotted FTTP along with a handful of others where the original VDSL2 roll-out is all that is available. The end result is that we have updated our coverage for UK council areas mid-week and the latest figures have the Hull local authority running at 98.59% Lightstream FTTP, East Riding area which is a mixture of KCOM and Openreach networks is running at 39.64% full fibre coverage. There is around another 500 to 600 or so premises where KCOM is telling the public they need to have a chat and these are not recorded as full fibre available in our system, almost all of these are apartments and flats so it may simply be the case that way leave approval is required from the building owner.
A key point is that over 100,000 premises have had the final connection of the fibre into the property i.e. take-up is high but that should be no surprise when the other choices are either ADSL2+ or a 3G/4G connection.
The stand out part is the mean download and upload speed recorded in Q3 2019 for FTTH/FTTP connections in Hull which is 94.7 Mbps down and 27.1 Mbps up (median 49 Mbps down and 18.5 Mbps up). The mean is significantly higher than the median due to the realities that the faster packages cost more and therefore the public are buying what they can afford and what they believe they need, the key change with full fibre is once installed upgrading to the faster packages is just a case of paying more. The results were significantly higher in Q2 2019 at 131 Mbps down and 32.8 Mbps up and this is a factor of the crowd sourced nature of the data along with a likely push to get people connected to the network
While KCOM is saying the FTTP roll-out is complete we will be keeping an eye on what happens when the new postcodes are issued by ONS each quarter to see what the new postcodes hold in terms of number of premises and what broadband options are made available, i.e. the KCOM fibre teams will still have more full fibre to deploy as new premises are built in the area.
KCOM and Hull are likely to remain at the top of the full fibre charts for some time, as the difficulties around dealing with that final 1% are likely to remain. The current top 10 for full fibre coverage table is:
|Local Authority Area||Full Fibre FTTP premises coverage|
|City of Kingston Upon Hull||98.59%|
|Barking and Dagenham||48.6%|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||39.7%|
The official Ofcom figure based on coverage to April 2019 and rounded to the nearest integer records the UK at 8% full fibre availability and if we round to the integer point our tracking was at 8% in early May 2019 and using the same rounding rule is now at 10%, to two decimal places our figure as of 10th October 2019 is 9.53% and climbing almost every day. The observant may have spotted there has been a 0.08 percentage points rise in the UK coverage figure in the last 3 days, i.e. an incease of 23,734 premises which is impressive but still shy of the 36,300 premises that need to be passed in the same time frame. This is not reflective of the sustained rate though which over the course of a month is running at around 5,000 premises every day.
The question now is when and where will KCOM expand its network, an expansion has been hinted at and with the push well and truly in the full fibre race getting your new network in place early is important in terms of winning customers. There are changes on the way that are meant to make migration seamless even between different physical networks, but we have our doubts over how well this will work in practice.