KCOM Broadband Review

Last updated: 20 January 2024   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

KCOM offer full fibre broadband to customers in Hull and some surrounding small towns and villages.

KCOM offer fast broadband speeds with reasonable pricing, they also bundle the latest WiFi 6 router.

Price:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

Speed:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

Reliability:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

Customer Service:

Gold star Gold star Gold star Gold star

KCOM are the incumbent provider in Hull, which means for many they'll be the only broadband option.

Despite this lack of competition, KCOM offer a reliable full fibre to the home service with competitive pricing for new customers.

The provider is also actively expanding outside of Hull, with connections available in surrounding Yorkshire and Lincolnshire towns and villages.

kcom broadband
KCOM

At a glance

Price From £19.99
Setup cost £24.99
Minimum term 24 months
Out of contract price From £41.99
Annual price increase CPI + 3.9% in March
Broadband connection Full fibre
Download speeds 100Mb, 300Mb, 500Mb, 900Mb
Upload speeds 30Mb, 75Mb, 100Mb, 180Mb
Router Lighthub-A WiFi 6
WiFi guarantee Smart WiFi: £5/mth
Parental controls Router-level
Home phone Included
Anytime calls £10/mth (inc. UK mobiles)

Latest offers

Offer Terms

Up to 3 month free on selected KCOM full fibre broadband packages from just £19.99/mth.

Hurry! Offer ends 3 June 2024

24 month minimum term. £24.99 set up fee. New fibre broadband customers only. Selected areas only. Prices subject to CPI plus 3.9% increase every March from 2025.


KCOM broadband customer reviews

Our independent survey of broadband customers found KCOM was rated 4 out of 5 overall, with an above average rating for Speed, Reliability, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, and likelihood for customers to recommend the provider to a friend.

KCOM was also rated average (3 out of 5) for Value for Money.

Very few of our survey respondents voted KCOM Poor or Bad in any category, with the majority of KCOM's customers rating them Good or Excellent.

Here are the results of our survey of KCOM's performance:

5 out of 5 4 out of 5 3 out of 5 2 out of 5 1 out of 5
Value for money 15% 23% 32% 18% 12%
Speed 33% 41% 20% 5% 2%
Reliability 33% 42% 9% 8% 8%
Satisfaction 21% 42% 21% 9% 6%
Customer Service 23% 38% 24% 12% 3%
Likelihood to Recommend 17% 30% 27% 9% 17%

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Our review of KCOM broadband

Pros Cons
Reliable full fibre broadband connections Customers may have few alternative options in Hull
Includes WiFi 6 router Pricing and offers in Hull area can be more expensive than in newer more competitive areas
Home phone line included, with low cost for anytime calls
Expanding to areas outside of Hull

Verdict: Is KCOM broadband any good?

For most of KCOM's customer base, the provider may be the only option as they still maintain a relative monopoly in Hull.

However, for those living in areas where KCOM is expanding to outside of Hull, special offers on pricing for new customers have made their deals incredibly competitive.

Customers in surrounding Yorkshire and Lincolnshire towns and villages including Driffield, Market Weighton, Nafferton, Pocklington, Howden, Goole, Withernsea, Hornsea, and Bridlington, can currently access their Full Fibre 100 plan for as little as £19.99 per month for 24 months, making it one of the cheapest 100Mb+ plans available in the market.

KCOM also offer all customers a WiFi 6 enabled router and a free home phone line with pay as you go calls, which gives them an edge over more budget providers like Plusnet and TalkTalk who no longer offer a home phone option at all.

Overall, while their expansion is fairly limited, for those who now have KCOM as an option, they offer a tempting proposition, with low prices and an up to date, yet straightforward, array of services.


KCOM broadband packages

Summary: KCOM offer four full fibre broadband packages for customer to choose from, with optional call plans and WiFi boosters.

KCOM offer a fairly straightforward broadband proposition, with four simple packages to choose from and the option to customise calls and WiFi router add-ons.

The provider calls their broadband packages Lightstream, and customers can choose from 100Mb, 300Mb, 500Mb or 900Mb average download speeds.

Here are the current prices of KCOM's broadband packages:.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 175 175Mb average Free
for 1 mths,
then £19.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 1 month free (Ends 03/06/2024)
Full Fibre 300 300Mb average Free
for 2 mths,
then £29.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 2 months free (Ends 03/06/2024)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average Free
for 2 mths,
then £34.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 2 months free (Ends 03/06/2024)
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average Free
for 3 mths,
then £44.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 3 months free (Ends 03/06/2024)

Pricing is reasonably competitive with only small increases between deals to help customers more easily take a faster connection.

However, monthly pricing on new customer offers can vary between location, with the cheapest deals available in newer rollout areas outside of Hull, undoubtedly where competition is greater.

While that does make KCOM more attractive outside of Hull, it may also seem a bit unfair to those in Hull who have little other option available to them, due to the provider's incumbency in the city.

All KCOM deals come with 24-month minimum term contracts, which is on the longer side but also equivalent to providers such as BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, and Vodafone, so not that unusual either.

Broadband plans come with a digital home phone line as standard and customers can make calls on a pay as you go basis. It's possible to add inclusive call plans from UK landlines for £5 per month, or UK landlines and UK mobiles for £10.

KCOM do implement annual price rises and they use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 3.9% rate of inflation, with prices going up from March of each year. Because the price rises are specified in advance, it's not possible to avoid them, even for customers still within their minimum term period.

KCOM Flex

KCOM offer a social broadband tariff called Flex for customers in receipt of certain means-tested benefits.

It's a similar package to BT's Home Essentials, and customers can choose between taking a broadband and phone plan, or just a home phone service.

KCOM Lightstream Flex costs £14.99 per month and includes:

  • 30Mbps full fibre broadband with unlimited usage
  • A home phone service
  • 750 minutes of calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles
  • £10 spend cap for calls outside of the inclusive allowance
  • No annual price rises
  • No out of contract price and no early termination fee

While the Flex broadband deal includes a home phone service, for the few customers who may only want a home phone line, they can take this for just £5.10 per month but it comes with a 12-month minimum term instead of the 30-day rolling contract for Flex broadband.

Eligibility for KCOM Flex includes one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Universal Credit, with zero earnings
  • Care Leavers
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income related)
  • Care Home residents and Lifeline customers referred via social services

Read more about social broadband tariffs and how they work.


Home phone plans

Summary: All KCOM broadband packages come with a home phone line, and customers can add anytime calls from just £5 per month.

KCOM broadband deals all come with a home phone service as standard with line rental included in the monthly subscription price.

Customers can make calls on a pay as you go basis, and there are two main optional inclusive call plans that can be added:

Calls included Monthly price
UK landlines Anytime calls to UK landlines £5
UK landlines and mobile Anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles £10

It's likely most people will want the call plan with mobiles included, but it's nice to have the option of a cheaper deal if that fits requirements.

Overall, KCOM home phone is a useful service to have and inclusive call plans are competitively priced.


How does KCOM broadband compare?

Summary: KCOM isn't the cheapest broadband option out there, but for most customers it may be their only option.

The majority of KCOM's network coverage is focused in Hull where there are few other broadband providers due to the fact Openreach has never had a presence here.

However, as KCOM expand outside of Hull they're bringing broadband to towns and villages in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire previously served by BT's Openreach who may have other options available to them.

Here's how their entry-level Full Fibre 100 compares with equivalent speed plans from rival providers:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 175 175Mb average Free
for 1 mths,
then £19.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 1 month free (Ends 03/06/2024)
Full Fibre 150 150Mb average £29 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 145 145Mb average £27.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £12/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £28 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

KCOM's current special offers bring the price of their full fibre broadband down considerably, although the lowest prices are only available in new rollout areas, such as Driffield, Nafferton, Market Weighton, Pocklington, Howden, Goole, Withernsea, and Hornsea, while prices in Hull itself are slightly higher with Full Fibre 100 costing £29.99 per month.

It's also worth noting that while KCOM include a home phone service in the monthly price, providers including Plusnet and TalkTalk no longer offer this as an option, and BT charges £5 more.

Looking at faster speeds, this is how KCOM's Full Fibre 900 gigabit-capable package compares:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average Free
for 3 mths,
then £44.99
£24.99 24 months
offer Offer: 3 months free (Ends 03/06/2024)
Full Fibre 910 910Mb average £39 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers + Up to £100 of your leaving fees covered when switching to Vodafone Broadband
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average £44.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Save over £17/mth + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers (Ends 29/05/2024)
Gigafast Broadband 900Mb average £41 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

In this instance, there are cheaper gigabit-capable deals available from Vodafone, Plusnet, Sky, and even Virgin Media with their current offer available at the time of writing.

However, KCOM's deal is still competitive, and customers living within Hull postcodes HU1 to HU17 get the same monthly price as those living outside of Hull.

Overall, KCOM pricing can be a good deal depending on the package chosen and the special offers available at the time. But customers should take care to compare deals in their area if price is an important factor.


How fast is KCOM broadband?

Summary: KCOM primarily offer full fibre to the home broadband connections which are faster and more reliable than older technologies.

KCOM was the first broadband provider to roll out full fibre technology in Hull in 2019, and has more recently announced plans to upgrade their network to 10Gbps speeds.

For now though, the top speed available with KCOM is 900Mbps, with upload speeds of 180Mbps.

Average download speed Average upload speed
Full Fibre 100 100Mb 30Mb
Full Fibre 300 300Mb 75Mb
Full Fibre 500 500Mb 100Mb
Full Fibre 900 900Mb 180Mb

These advertised average speeds must be received by at least 50% of KCOM's customers between the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm when the network is busiest as most people go online and use their connections.

Current full fibre technology on the KCOM network offers asymmetrical upload speeds, which means they're slower than downloads, which is comparable to Openreach FTTP resold by BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media's cable network.

Despite being a Universal Service Provider, KCOM aren't signatories to Ofcom's code of conduct on broadband speeds, which, while it is voluntary, helps provide customers with estimated speed ranges and a minimum guaranteed speed when they sign up.

However, full fibre to the home connections will make KCOM broadband reliable as well as fast, with the majority of customers seeing the headline speeds or faster.


Router

Summary: All KCOM broadband packages come with a WIFI 6 enabled router, which also supports mesh for easy extension.

KCOM offer what they called the Lighthub-A router, however this is currently a Zyxel EX 5401 router, which supports dual-band wireless channels up to the WiFi 6 protocol.

kcom lighthub-a zyxel ex5401 router

The Zyxel EX 5401 was released in 2022, and KCOM adopted the device in April 2023, replacing the previous Zyxel XMG3927 and Technicolor DGA4231 which only supported WiFi 5 and had less internal antennae.

This means devices in the home which also support WiFi 6 will now be able to received 40% faster speeds over the previous WiFi 5 protocol. Not all broadband providers have yet to move to WiFi 6 devices, so this helps put KCOM in the front of the pack in this respect.

The new Lighthub-A supports up to 40 devices connected at once, which means it'll be suitable for larger homes where lots of people want to go online at the same time, and where homes have smart devices communicating over the WiFi.

Here are the specifications of the new Lighthub-A router:

Zyxel EX 5401
Release date 2022, KCOM: April 2023
WiFi band Dual-band
WiFi protocol WiFi 6 (802.11b/g/a/n/ac/ax)
Antennae 8
2.4Ghz 4x4 up to 1,148Mbps (wired)
5Ghz 4x4 up to 4,804Mbps (wired)
Security WPA3
Mesh Yes
Ethernet LAN 4 x 1Gbps

Overall, the new router from KCOM is a clear upgrade over the previous versions, and performs well when compared with other routers, with BT and Plusnet only offering customers WiFi 5 routers for example.

Smart WiFi

KCOM broadband customers can improve the wireless signal in their home by opting in for the Smart WiFi add-on, which offers an additional WiFi 6 mesh device to boost coverage.

Each access point costs £5 per month and customers can add up to three, however most homes will find they only need one extra device.

The WiFi 6 access point works seamlessly with the Lighthub-A router to extend coverage around a home without any breaks in the wireless network.

There's no whole home WiFi guarantee as offered by some other providers, but the low price point for the first booster is welcome especially for most average sized homes.


Where is KCOM available?

Summary: KCOM are mainly present in the city of Hull, but are also expanding to surrounding towns and villages in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

As well as their Hull heartlands, KCOM are expanding into other parts of East Yorkshire and into Lincolnshire too.

This includes places like Driffield, Market Weighton, Nafferton, Pocklington, Howden, Goole, Withernsea, Hornsea, Bishop Burton and parts of Bridlington.

In addition, they have also expanded to Barton, Brigg, Barrow upon Humber, Hibaldstow, Messingham, Epworth, Crowle and Haxey.

KCOM say they will expand to nearby locations if there is demand, citing the rollouts in Broughton, Goxhill and Scawby that were a direct result of residents asking for the service.

This map gives an overview of where their services have spread to so far:

kcom coverage january 2024

Coverage within Hull itself is still most comprehensive as you can see from this coverage map:

kcom coverage in hull january 2024

Customers can check KCOM availability on our KCOM deals page.

For those who can't yet get KCOM broadband, the provider offers potential customers the chance to register their interest, and say they'll come to an area when enough demand has been shown.


Customer service

Summary: KCOM have the fastest fault resolution time in the market amongst major providers with total loss of service restore on the same day on average.

As a small broadband provider, KCOM only have around 150,000 subscribers which isn't enough for them to be featured in any of Ofcom's research on customer service or complaints.

What we do know is that in Ofcom's most recent comparing service quality report, published in May 2023, KCOM reported an average call wait time of 4 minutes and 13 seconds.

This was longer than the industry average of 2 minutes and 37 seconds to answer a customer call, so suggests KCOM is fairly slow to answer. Only 10% of callers abandoned their call before KCOM answered, and the provider has improved this metric since 2021.

We also know they have a UK-based call centre based in Hull, which isn't surprising considering their local nature, but should appease customers to know they'll be speaking to someone from the same home town.

Ofcom also report on fault data for KCOM, which shows the average time to complete an order was just 9 days, quicker than the industry average of 11 days. Faults per 1000 customers per month was also one of the lowest in the market, at just 28 compared to an average of 41, and average time to repair a total loss of service was the same day - the fastest response time of all major providers.

KCOM Industry average
Call wait time 4 minutes 13 seconds 2 minutes 37 seconds
Abandoned calls 10% 7%
Days to complete an order 9 days 11 days
Faults per 1000 customers per month in 2022 28 41
Average time to repair a total loss of service 0 days 2 days
Customers who had to contact again for same fault 1% 4%
Proportion of appointments missed 1% 3%

KCOM have been noted by Ofcom in their customer service reports that they have the quickest response time to restoring a customer's service, with the provider able to resolve most faults where customers had completely lost their service in the same day.


Summary: Is KCOM broadband any good?

For broadband customers beyond KCOM's traditional home in Hull, the full fibre provider is becoming a real option for households searching for fast broadband speeds.

It's testament to how well the regional expansion is going that the rollout was named Telecoms Project of the Year at the National Technology Awards in September 2021.

While KCOM's slower packages are more expensive than similar deals from other providers, it's important to remember KCOM offers full fibre all the way to the property instead of just to the cabinet. This delivers more reliable download speeds as well as improved upload speeds too.

What we like about KCOM:

  • Special offer pricing in new expansion areas is extremely competitive
  • Their full fibre network offers fast and reliable speeds
  • All customers now receive a WiFi 6 enabled router
  • Broadband customers get a home phone line included for free, with affordable call plans

We do have a few reservations, however:

  • Pricing for new customers can be more expensive in Hull compared to newer areas, which seems a tad unfair considering their monopoly in the city
  • There is limited independent customer service data due to their small size

KCOM's full fibre broadband packages are a great draw, and special offers on plans such as Full Fibre 100 for just £19.99 in newer expansion areas makes them extremely competitive on price.

Compare KCOM's latest deals in your area using our free tool.

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