The ability to access a decent, affordable broadband connection

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) ensures people across the UK have access to a baseline level of communication services. As well as ensuring access to public payphones, the USO means everyone can request access to basic phone and broadband services; and that people on low incomes can request these as part of an affordable social access package.

The broadband USO

The broadband USO means that KCOM residential and business customers in the Hull area have the right to ask us for access to a broadband connection that:

  • Provides a minimum download speed of 10Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps [1]; and
  • Is available at a price of no more than £54.00 per month [2].

In practice this means that if either we, or another provider, can’t provide a qualifying broadband USO connection within 30 days of a customer placing an order then it is our responsibility to deploy resources to ensure that connection is provisioned.

What services can I get?

To get started just enter your postcode on our website and we’ll tell you what your options are

Business customers can find details of our services

KCOM is fully committed to ensuring that everyone in the Hull area has access to a decent broadband connection within our standard lead times (20 days) [3], and at affordable prices. Indeed, the vast majority of homes and businesses in the Hull area are already able to access one of our Full Fibre Lightstream packages. 

In those limited locations where customers are currently unable to obtain our Lightstream service due to an ‘exception’ [4] we ensure access to our Standard ADSL packages which offer our customers access to decent baseline broadband services.

We also offer our Flex broadband packages that ensure affordable access to our fibre services for people on low incomes.  You’ll find details of our Flex packages and the eligibility criteria on our website

If for any reason you don’t think you’re able to obtain a broadband service from us that meets the broadband USO please contact us on 01482 602555. Our dedicated team of advisers will be happy to help you and support your request.


Customers will only be eligible to receive a USO connection in those instances where they currently cannot receive a qualifying broadband USO service from any existing networks, if they are not due to receive such a service from a publicly-funded scheme in the year following their request, and the cost of connection is not more than £3,400 [5]. If the cost of a connection exceeds a threshold of £3,400 customers can pay the excess costs we incur or do some of the work themselves to help bring costs down.

Communicating USO eligibility

Once a customer requests a connection, we will first check whether we or an alternative provider can provide you with a technically qualifying USO service. Once we’ve established that it’s not possible to do so we will have up to 30 days to confirm if the request meets the eligibility criteria, including whether the estimated cost of that connection falls under the £3,400 cost threshold. If it meets the eligibility criteria and is estimated to cost less than £3,400, the connection can start to be delivered straight away. If the cost is estimated to be over the threshold, and the customer would still like to proceed, we will carry out a full survey and provide a detailed quotation to the customer within 60 days.

Not happy?

We want to make sure that you are happy with the services we provide but sometimes we know things can go wrong.  If you are not happy with the service we are providing, including how we have dealt with a request for service then we want to know about it.  You can find out about how to make a complaint on our website  We will handle all complaints in accordance with our Complaints Code of Practice


[1] The full technical specification of the USO includes a download (rather than throughput) sync speed of at least 10Mbps; an upload sync speed of at least 1Mbps; a contention ratio of no higher than 50:1; latency which is capable of allowing the end-user to make and receive voice calls over the connection effectively; and the capability to allow data usage of at least 100 gigabytes per month.  

[2] This affordability threshold represents the total charge for the broadband service (i.e. rental and connection charges and inclusive of VAT) over the fixed commitment period for the contract. It is subject to future adjustments for CPI inflation.

[3] In some limited instances, where the provision of service presents a technical challenge our standard lead times may be extended to a period of 30 days. Customers will always be informed if this is the case.  

[4] There are a number of Multi Dwelling Units (MDUs) that are buildings comprising two or more flats, offices, or mixed use facilities in the Hull area where restrictions limit our ability to install Lightstream broadband services. For this reason, we need to obtain a legal access right from the building owner (i.e. a wayleave) to allow us to provide fibre services to these MDUs within the 30 day lead time. We are in the process of requesting these rights, which will allow us access to the MDUs and we will always prioritise those MDUs where a customer requests service.

[5] To help achieve as many USO connections as possible below the £3,400 threshold, we will aggregate the level of local demand. This potentially brings more connections under the reasonable cost threshold by sharing the costs.