Ofcom has confirmed that it will allow KC, the communications provider in Hull, to bundle broadband, landline and other services, “potentially leading to better value packages for consumers”. Ofcom said the decision would allow KC to offer its customers similar service bundles to those offered by other communications providers throughout the rest of the UK.
Ofcom expects KC to start offering bundles to consumers by the end of the year.
However, the regulator has confirmed that the current restrictions on bundling will only be removed provided that:
* Bundles are made available to all residents and businesses in the Hull area
* Prices for bundles are published on KC’s website
* Prices are set in a way that will not discourage other communications providers from offering their services to consumers in Hull, should they wish to do so.
Ofcom removed regulations applying to BT in the retail landline market back in September 2009, allowing BT to bundle communications products such as broadband and telephone services. At the same time, Ofcom concluded that KCOM (parent company of KC) still had “significant market power” in providing landlines and broadband in Hull.
However, Ofcom was concerned that the regulation of KCOM prevented Hull residents from benefiting from “the innovation and choice in the communications market” that has been seen elsewhere in the UK.
Throughout the rest of the UK, many communications providers offer discounts to consumers when they buy two or more services.
According to Ofcom’s latest figures, in Q1 2010 half of UK consumers bought a bundle of communications services of two or more services, up from 29 per cent in 2005.