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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Kcom and Karoo.

Kcom the incumbent telephone company here in Hull and its ISP spin off Karoo are technologically so far behind the other ISP's that proliferate around the U.K. they are fast becoming a bigger joke than they were last year.

They use relatively new DSLAMS but their back end servers often fail and twisted pair cable runs are mostly 20 or more years old. If you are stupid enough to use their proxy servers you are guaranteed to run into problems more times than not. Their back end servers that sift through what you do on-line so the data can be sold to third parties often fail. In the last year or so we have suffered outages of between 24 and 14 hours on 3 separate occasions. They have no backup servers. No redundancy whatsoever. They are a cost cutting operation. They have not invested much in new stuff for years. As for cable runs well, the best that can be said about them is they work. Slowly, but work. Just.

Look at the state of ADSL2+ in this city. Ignore what KCom and/or Karoo say about it as they often lie about statistics and it is a well known fact that those who say they are happy with the service are those who are technologically lacking in skills. There are thousands of people suffering from poor connection rates. Piss poor throughput rates and it can all be put down to 1 or 2 things. 1) Lack of exchanges. 2) Long, poorly routed, twisted pair cabling. Cable runs  that where laid early last century and new runs bolted on as the city grew in size. Back then of course there was no Internet so they laid cable willy nilly which results in this Internet age with piss poor sync rates and throughput speeds.

Almost every area of this city suffers from old copper cabling. Almost every area of this city suffers from long lines (from house to exchange). Some areas suffer what they call 'dead' exchanges which are then routed out to real exchange which can be several miles away from the 'dead' exchange. It is a mess. Worse still is the fact they are doing nothing whatsoever about it.

It is quite simply take it or leave it. As there are no other ISP's in this city it is impossibly difficult to go eslewhere.  Those who do not understand the telephony situation in this city often say "Go to another ISP"  which is impossible to do here.

If another ISP came here and did not use the Kcom network of piss poor cabling nor use their exchanges but did in fact set up their own autonamous network then people and businesses would jump ship in a heartbeat. But they will not come here and neither will they invest in a new network simply because of some believed loyalty to Kcom and Karoo which frankly does not exist amogst the rank and file of this city.

The people and businesses of this city are crying out for a real high speed connection. If there is someone out there with money to burn and they set up a high speed fibre network and charged reasonable rates for the connection they are guaranteed to succeed in taking  thousands, 10's of thousands, 100's of thousands of customers.

Kcom and Karoo can't see this simple fact. If they can see it they are doing nothing whatsover about it. Last I heard they where  doing a feasibility study  about fibre but the fact of the matter is if it will cost then money they  will not do it. They are a shadow of the company that once served Hull only. In those long since gone days they where a company to proud of. Since they expanded into a, don't laugh, world wide company they have forgotten about their long suffering roots. Telephony in this city is so poor now they are the biggest joke this city can offer.

Someone, any one, set up a fibre network. Use the cities extensive sewer system to route the fibre to homes and businesses. Use a route out to the wider Internet somewhere outside the city. No need at all to touch anything belonging to Kcom. Provide  real high speed services which the current piss poor ADSL2+ cannot provide, Offer Internet, telephone and TV via cable and the people would jump. It it so easy to envisage but finding someone to do it is the hard part. Which is a shame because I guarantee the people of this once magnificent city would jump ship tomorrow if the fibre network suddenly appeared.

The fact is that the long suffering people and businesses of this city are ready and primed to move elsewhere.

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