Hull Telephone Box-21 July 2012
Hull is the only city in the UK with its own independent telephone network company, KC, formerly Kingston Communications, a subsidiary of KCOM Group. Its distinctive cream telephone boxes can be seen across the city. KC produces its own 'White Pages' telephone directory for Hull and the wider KC area. Colour Pages is KC's business directory, the counterpart to Yellow Pages. The company was formed in 1902 as a municipal department by the City Council and is an early example of municipal enterprise. It remains the only locally operated telephone company in the UK, although it is now privatised. KCOM's Internet brands are Karoo Broadband (ISP serving Hull) and Eclipse (national ISP) Initially Hull City Council retained a 44.9 per cent interest in the company and used the proceeds from the sale of shares to fund the city's sports venue, the KC Stadium, among other things. On 24 May 2007 it sold its remaining stake in the company for over £107 million.
KC (Kingston Communications) was one of the first telecoms operators in Europe to offer ADSL to business users, and the first in the world to run an interactive television service using ADSL, known as Kingston Interactive TV (KiT), which has since been discontinued due to financial problems. In the last decade, the KCOM Group has expanded beyond Hull and diversified its service portfolio to become a nationwide provider of telephone, television, and Internet access services, having close to 180,000 customers projected for 2007. After its ambitious programme of expansion, KCOM has struggled in recent years and now has partnerships with other telecommunications firms such as BT who are contracted to manage its national infrastructure. Telephone House, on Carr Lane, the firm's 1960s-built HQ, in stark modernist style, is a local landmark.