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[June 07, 2014]
Superfast broadband coming even faster? ; E YORKS:KC could roll out fibre service sooner after strong demand [Hull Daily Mail (England)]
(Hull Daily Mail (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) InShort KC may be speeding up its superfast broadband programme after demand proved strong in the last financial year.
The company's parent group Kcom reported pre-tax profits of Pounds 2.8m.
COMMUNICATIONS giant KC may roll out its fibre optic broadband faster than planned, after a successful year.
Kcom Group posted annual pre-tax profits of Pounds 50.5m for the year ending March 31.
The group, which owns KC Communications, saw profits increase by about Pounds 2.8m on the previous year. It invested Pounds 27.9m on upgrades throughout the year, including the superfast Lightstream broadband being installed in Hull.
About 27 per cent of users have connected to the new service in areas where it is available, an uptake rate Kcom said was far higher than for other companies.
The group is now seeking to build on this success and is considering speeding up its programme.
Chief executive officer Bill Halbert said: "We always said Lightstream would be demand-driven and as a result of that very strong demand we will be looking at what we might be doing in the future.
"It's good news for Hull. There's a need for that infrastructure in terms of making use of the inward investment Hull is starting to attract. "The digital agenda Hull has and the way we're contributing to that makes Hull a much stronger place for investment generally." Kcom has been moving away from its traditional role as a telephone provider, towards providing IT support for medium and large businesses.
It is well established as a provider of "cloud" services for offsite data storage, working with Amazon Web Services as its largest UK supplier.
The group has closed a deal with Government tax collector HMRC and another with the National Rail Enquiries website, which Mr Halbert said showed its work was taking off.
There are likely to be more jobs created in Hull as some Kcom services presently based outside the city move back in.
Mr Halbert said: "Increasingly, the whole group is moving to much more data-based services.
"There will be some additional activity, in part, because of the investments we're making internally and our IT, which will see us move some specific related activities into the Hull area from elsewhere.
"In terms of employment, as we continue to expand our consumer market, that will inevitably mean we need more resources and Hull is clearly one of our major centres." Shareholder-owned Kcom generated Pounds 370.7m revenue from ongoing operations in the financial year, down Pounds 2.2m on the year before.
The firm's net debt reduced by Pounds 13.2m to Pounds 75m during the year and it also announced a new Pounds 200m financial support package agreed with a banking syndicate made up of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, Barclays, HSBC, Santander and RBS.
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