End KCOM's monopoly in Hull

October 26, 2011 9:30 AM

If you live in Hull and some of the surrounding areas (the 01482 dialling code) instead of having a BT telephone line, your services are provided by KC - part of the KCOM group. When municipal telephone exchanges were brought into the national network, Hull was the exception, and it remains the exception to this day.

Taxpayers in Hull are forced to use KC every time they want to make a call from their landline, or access reliable broadband from a fixed line. If other companies call you and offer you a cheaper service, as soon as you say you're from Hull, they apologise for disturbing you, and put the phone down.

This monopoly has been allowed to continue, with telecoms regulator OFCOM ruling as recently as 2008 that the people of Hull are getting a fair deal. The truth is: they are not.

In July this year, my colleague Dominique Lazanski wrote how OFCOM had ruled where BT has a monopoly (generally in rural areas) it must reduce its wholesale prices to other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by 12% below the rate of inflation. Today we are launching a campaign calling on OFCOM to rule in the same way regarding KC. Taxpayers in Hull are paying over the odds for telephone and broadband bundles compared to what other companies charge. I personally pay £40 a month for unlimited telephone calls, and 150 gb of broadband per month. Other companies who operate outside of the Hull area offer similar deals for around 25-30% less.

In the 2008 report, OFCOM correctly stated that other ISPs were not being prevented from entering the market in Hull, but because the population was relatively small, it was not in their commercial interests to do so. The report also stated that the wholesale charges KC were offering were similar to BT. Since its ruling in July though, the same arguments do not apply. Reducing wholesale prices by 12% below the rate of inflation would make the Hull market more attractive, and thus open it up for competition.

We believe taxpayers in Hull deserve a better deal, and have set-up a petition for you to sign. If you live in the Hull area, you can meet-up with us on Saturday from 11.30 am in Queen Victoria Square in the city centre where we will be collecting signatures for the petition. If you have some time to spare, please contact me if you can help us.

Competition will help the economy of Hull by driving up service quality and lowering bills for everyone, leaving taxpayers with more money to spend as they wish. This is good news for everyone, especially businesses who are already struggling during these hard economic times.If you live in Hull and some of the surrounding areas (the 01482 dialling code) instead of having a BT telephone line, your services are provided by KC - part of the KCOM group. When municipal telephone exchanges were brought into the national network, Hull was the exception, and it remains the exception to this day.

Taxpayers in Hull are forced to use KC every time they want to make a call from their landline, or access reliable broadband from a fixed line. If other companies call you and offer you a cheaper service, as soon as you say you're from Hull, they apologise for disturbing you, and put the phone down.

This monopoly has been allowed to continue, with telecoms regulator OFCOM ruling as recently as 2008 that the people of Hull are getting a fair deal. The truth is: they are not.

In July this year, my colleague Dominique Lazanski wrote how OFCOM had ruled where BT has a monopoly (generally in rural areas) it must reduce its wholesale prices to other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by 12% below the rate of inflation. Today we are launching a campaign calling on OFCOM to rule in the same way regarding KC. Taxpayers in Hull are paying over the odds for telephone and broadband bundles compared to what other companies charge. I personally pay £40 a month for unlimited telephone calls, and 150 gb of broadband per month. Other companies who operate outside of the Hull area offer similar deals for around 25-30% less.

In the 2008 report, OFCOM correctly stated that other ISPs were not being prevented from entering the market in Hull, but because the population was relatively small, it was not in their commercial interests to do so. The report also stated that the wholesale charges KC were offering were similar to BT. Since its ruling in July though, the same arguments do not apply. Reducing wholesale prices by 12% below the rate of inflation would make the Hull market more attractive, and thus open it up for competition.

We believe taxpayers in Hull deserve a better deal, and have set-up a petition for you to sign. If you live in the Hull area, you can meet-up with us on Saturday from 11.30 am in Queen Victoria Square in the city centre where we will be collecting signatures for the petition. If you have some time to spare, please contact me if you can help us.

Competition will help the economy of Hull by driving up service quality and lowering bills for everyone, leaving taxpayers with more money to spend as they wish. This is good news for everyone, especially businesses who are already struggling during these hard economic times.

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