Kcom Infrastructure Sharing Fiasical. Here’s The Breakdown.

KCOM has unveiled a plan that could allow other broadband providers to share its infrastructure without the need for additional poles.

However, the question remains: Will it be viable for other networks? Probably not. Our guess is that KCOM will make the costs to share said network quite unmanageable to hinder other networks from gaining access.

It’s indeed a sticky situation.

Here’s the breakdown…

For many, many moons, Hull has always had one infrastructure provider and one ISP selling on that infrastructure (KCOM). That means you can’t really go around finding a new deal for a better price. That, my friends, is a bog-standard monopoly. Although the rest of the UK, for many years (pre-altnet boom), only had two infrastructure suppliers (Openreach & Virgin), we still had multiple ISPs to choose from! (ISPs could use the Openreach infrastructure to deliver broadband). KCOM never had that. KCOM never shared their infrastructure. Now, we won’t delve too deep into the history, but that’s the basics.

Then, along came the “altnet boom”, so as of around 2020, new networks started laying brand new fibre cable!

“GREAT NEWS” is what you think the local residents of Hull would say. Finally, we now have a choice of broadband supplier. Many people did say that. But also, MANY people were getting angry with the new poles being erected around the town! You can read more about that on the old BBC.

Pretty mental, right?

So, to combat these complaints, the other networks should be able to share KCOM’s existing infrastructure to deliver their fibre. It happens elsewhere in the UK, so why not Hull!

No chance. Although we do see KCOM wanting to comply with these requests, let’s be honest, are they going to make this option viable for the networks? Absolutely not. Our guess is the “price” to rent their infrastructure will be sky high. After all, KCOM has had the monopoly in Hull for years and years. Now, they’re finally seeing competition. Are they going to help that competition? Nah.

Of course, we’re guessing here.

Updates have been released on KCOM’s website with the following comments…

A KCOM spokesperson said: “Since receiving Connexin’s request for access to our passive infrastructure in January, our teams have worked flat out, from a standing start, to create a blueprint of systems and processes to handle and deliver requests for sharing KCOM’s ducts and poles, potentially saving local residents from the stress and inconvenience caused by the proliferation of new poles in streets across Hull and East Yorkshire.

“Today, we’ve passed that to Connexin, on a confidential basis, and asked for its views. We want to know if it would meet Connexin’s requirements. Subject to its comments, we hope to start commercial negotiations in April.”

We’re really keen to see how this story unfolds and it completely makes sense for poles to be shared! Openreach has done so and it works. Of course, some poles can end up looking like space stations, but hey, it keeps the public happy and it drives us to a full fibre britain even quicker.

Max Walker

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