Responding to customer needs in a “more agile and flexible way”
Hull-based KCOM Group is combining its broadband and IT service operations under a single umbrella brand – KCOM.
KC, its consumer broadband brand, Kcom, an IT and communications provider, Smart421, an applications integration specialist, and Eclipse, a supplier of communications and IT services to SMBs, will all be affected.
KCOM sold its national infrastructure outside of Hull and East Yorkshire to CityFibre for £90 million in December and says the rebrand is the latest stage of its transformation.
“Bringing together all our capability and expertise under a single brand will give all our customers visibility of and access to our full range of services and enable us to respond to their needs in a more agile and flexible way,” said Bill Halbert, KCOM CEO.
“For our Hull and East Yorkshire customers, our transformation gives us the capacity to accelerate our deployment of ultrafast fibre broadband and create a future-proof platform that has the capacity to satisfy the demands of homes and business as they evolve.
“The changes we are making will help us to deliver greater value to all stakeholders and position us well for further growth.”
The company is investing £30 million in its Lighstream superfast broadband network to extend the service to a further 91,000 homes and businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire over the next 20 months, bringing the total number of premises covered to 148,000 by December 2017. Lightstream offers speeds of up to 1.5Gbps on its fibre to the premise (FTTP) network.
The rebrand shouldn’t be that confusing for customers in Hull, given it is the dominant communications provider and that it has the naming rights for the KC Stadium, home of Hull City Football Club and Hull FC rugby league team, as well as the KC Lightstream Stadium, which plays host to Hull Kingston Rovers rugby league club.
BT and Virgin Media do not operate telephone or broadband services in Hull due to KCs historic advantage in the city. As a condition of its licence renewal in 1914, KC was required to purchase the local telephone infrastructure, whereas other regional telecom groups were absorbed into the General Post Office (GPO), which became BT.
Although competition authorities have ruled that KCOM offers wholesale access to its network within the market range, the cost of providing services to a potential 200,000 residential and broadband customers has not been deemed economically viable.
Pure Broadband launched a wireless broadband network in 2015 and Nexus has offered a rival telephone and internet service in Hull since 2009, but the traditional perception is that KCOM has a monopoly in the city.