back to article To Hull with the crap town naysayers: UK Culture City's got some amazing... telecoms

Most people are aware of Hull's status as the UK City of Culture this year - along with it being serial holder of the Crappiest Town in Britain. But few also know about the city's unique telecoms history. Although the award was met much bafflement and a good deal of snobbery, there are a number of things that makes the city …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they still cutting off pirates? -

    1. Phil W

      Probably, where's the problem? As per the link you yourself supplied, they operate a three strikes policy now before cutting anyone off (actually appears to be four strikes in the classic sense, since the wording implies 3 warnings then cut off on the fourth offence), and they explicitly say they don't bill people for the period they're cut off.

      If you get 3 warnings that you're doing something illegal and/or against the terms of service and persist in doing it, and are also not bright enough to sort yourself out a VPN service to mask your activity (ISPs don't actually care if you're pirating, just as long as the lawyers can't get them for it) then you deserve to be cut off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Probably, where's the problem?

        Good job patents aren't as long as copyright, just imagine death plus 70 on scientific discoveries (or rounded corners) that cost billeeeeeooons to bring to fruition getting the same protection from competition and innovation copying as an old Cliff Richard recording* from decades ago.

        * on second thoughts perhaps copying and playing a Cliff Richard record should be punishable by a term of not less than ten years hard labour.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No they don't cut off pirates nor do they operate a three or fours strikes policy. I've been happily downloading torrents for years and never got a letter or cut off

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs more than culture

    My wife used to work a day per week in Hull. She's an optician.

    Had never had to use children's picture chart on adults before - that's how high the rate of illiteracy is.

    She gave up asking whether patients smoked - it seemed to be close to 100%

    Many patients had given up driving because it was easier than giving up smoking.

    Drugs openly dealt in the street

    Widely know which houses to go to for somewhere to shoot up.

    Majority of patients had to be referred to hospital for underlying health problems.

    Politicians won't admit there's a problem - Conservatives will never be elected in Hull, so they don't do anything. Labour will always be elected, so they've no incentive to do anything more than say what a wonderful place it is.

    I don't know what the solution is (look intractable), but it certainly isn't vanity projects like the city of culture.

    1. The_H

      Re: Needs more than culture

      Oh, grow up. As if every major city doesn't have drugs. I've lived just outside Hull for 40 years and wouldn't have a clue where to "shoot up" - and have never seen anything being dealt in the streets (apart from dodgy Christmas jumpers, but that's another matter).

      It's not as bad as people make out. Calling "City of Culture" a "Vanity Project" is missing the point that it's all about inward investment and tourist £££ - and already there's been rather a lot of that. And as for internet, yep - I'll go home tonight to my rather tasty 250MB/s non-throttled Lightstream service, which I doubt a lot of non-Kcom customers will do.

    2. POKE 649,0

      Re: Needs more than culture

      I live in Hull, born and bred. I'll probably die here too.

      I was reading from age 3 and went to school on the big council estates like Bransholme and Longhill. Specifically how high is the rate of illiteracy? Do you have data to back this up? Or are these just observations from an Optician who obviously met everyone in Hull. Your wife sounds like she is very sympathetic to those who are maybe not as well off as she and you are.

      I've stopped smoking in the past 6 months and drive my car daily thanks.

      Sure, I've seen drugs, but I'm sure it is comparable with many other towns and cities in the UK, but I certainly wouldn't know where to go and "Shoot up".

      I'd like to see some change within our council, there are some rotten eggs in there I know. I voted Conservative last election BTW.

      Hull City of Culture? Hull has been getting the shitty end of the stick for years now... I think we deserve a bit of the limelight for a change ya know. Hull is a great city, the people of Hull are lovely, I count myself as one of those people. I do a lot of travel to London and The South and meet and work with many people from all walks of life. After a week or so down there I can't wait to get back home.

      You Sir sound like an Asshat. A person from Hull is worth 10 of the judgemental and ill informed people of this country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Needs more than culture

        Until people admit there's a problem, nothing will happen....

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Needs more than culture

          "It's easy to find data using my FTTH BT internet. What I did was type hull illiteracy rate into a search engine."

          Still, the claims were hyperbole. The stats show way less than 100% are smokers. The links provided on "lteracy" merely say 2/3rd leave school with less than A*-C in maths and English. Says. nowt about actual reading or number skills since "illiterate" is not defined and clearly is not being used in an absolute "can't read or write at all" way.

          it's all rather like the ever moving "poverty line". If every village has one illiterate idiot, does that make the village with two of them the cesspit of the world in which no one would ever want to live?

          (May contain errors for literally aware!)

          1. quxinot Silver badge

            Re: Needs more than culture

            >If every village has one illiterate idiot, does that make the village with two of them the cesspit of the world in which no one would ever want to live?

            Depends on how many of them won the election, doesn't it?

        2. Shaun Blagdon

          Re: Needs more than culture

          Sysmon: Literacy also includes the ability to read dates, the article you quoted is from 2011.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Phil W

          Re: Needs more than culture

          If you're citing the Grauniad and a paper which, while not being THE Daily Mail aspires to awfulness by copying it's name, you're not really supporting your argument very well and while you've backed up your very dated nearly 15 year old citation with a more recent one even that is now 3 years old.

          Also rather confusingly the Hull Daily Mail article quotes figures showing reduced drug and alcohol related hospital admissions but follows up by referencing a council report which they do not date, name or link to saying that use of heroine and crack cocaine is up. Hardly an illustrative or dazzling piece of journalism to be citing there.

          P.S. Not from Hull, never been to Hull.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Needs more than culture

      Many patients had given up driving because it was easier than giving up smoking.

      Just curious... is there a correlation between driving and smoking? Like is it a law or something.. do one or the other but not both?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Needs more than culture

          Oops - meant to say drinking, not smoking

    4. Oh Homer

      Re: "somewhere to shoot up"

      Damn, you mean Hull wasn't actually the most boring hole in Britain after all, as I believed for years?

    5. Shaun Blagdon

      Re: Needs more than culture

      Highest rate of illiteracy? Complete bollocks, Hull came above average in the last education league table

      1. Graham 25

        Re: Needs more than culture

        Got any evidence for that claim ?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Needs more than culture

      I'm an Essex boy, I lived in Hull for a couple of years in the 90s.

      I found the locals to be a friendly and reasonable lot, and certainly not "thick". (well not the ones I met)

      Being back done south in Essex (again), and commuting into London, seems to me there are a whole lot worse issues in London than I ever saw in Hull.

  3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    You are kidding right?

    Last time I heard from Kcom on a job advert they were advertising "laptop" as a BENEFIT for an engineer. You see, only management critters are entitled to a laptop, a mere smelly network design engineer does not deserve that. This was ~ 2006-2007-ish. AFAIK things have not changed and the recent debacle with them providing CPE botnet fodder on par with TalkTalk is a clear indicator of that.

    City of Telecoms? With this mentality? You are kidding, right?

  4. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Whilst the article mentions the really slow rollout of FTTH, whilch follows the really slow rollout of ADSL, it neglects to mention pricing.

    Cheapest package is £41/month, for which you get a whole 1mbit/sec upload and a usage cap of 350GB.

    So they're about double the price of elsewhere for about a third of the capacity.

    Monopoly provider, monopoly service and monopoly pricing. And an ineffectual regulator.

    1. Chloe Cresswell


      But raise that as a comment with them, and you'll get back the stock "we're not a monopoly" answer...

    2. Adair Silver badge

      Fake news

      @Adam52 - always helps to fix the 'fake news' problem with a dose of truth, even if it does stick in your craw:


      35GB - Usage allowance

      50Mbps - Download speed

      5Mbps - Upload speed

      And what I'm on:


      700GB - Usage allowance

      75Mbps - Download speed

      5Mbps - Upload speed

      And yes, the quoted speeds, etc. are what you get, sometimes a bit better -- my download speeds are often closer to 90Mbps.

      The monopoly thing is an issue. Other suppliers are legally free to come in, but as it stands, none of them seem to feel it's worth the bother.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Fake news

        You can accuse me of fake news if you like, but the details given come from this page:

        Cheapest deal on there is Home Xtra, at the rates I gave.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Fake news

          You know, if you're going to a provide a link to back up your claim it might be a good idea to click around the page you're linking to a bit first?

          "Cheapest deal on there is Home Xtra"

          If you choose Light instead of Medium there are no less than 6 deals which are cheaper than Home Xtra, some of which are vastly better value than similar speed/usage cap offerings from BT by the way.

          At the top end of the scale under Heavy, some of their deals offer equivalent speeds (or even slightly better) to Virgin Media cable for the same or less.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just read that again......

    "We have startups delivering global projects to Siemens and Durex"

    What sort of culture are we talking about here?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Just read that again......

      You had to re-read it to get the joke? Hull is a port city! :-)

      Oh, not *those* seamen?

      So many levels, so little time.

    2. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: Just read that again......


      I thought Durex's whole job was to keep the Siemens out?

      Yep, that's my coat. Don't check the pockets too closely.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    According to 2 PSN friends

    The internet is rubbish

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: According to 2 PSN friends

      Access to the internet via KCOM's fibre service is in my expereince very good and to be honest I never had any issues with broadband either. Those who moan about KCOM's service have often never experienced telephone/internet provision outside of KCOM and would be up for a rude awakening if they did. At least here we can ring up and speak to someone local or even god forbid go into the city centre and visit their customer services at their head office.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: According to 2 PSN friends

        I think they both wanted to move to fibre, they knew I was on Infinity so was working better than the old BTBB days.

      2. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: According to 2 PSN friends

        "KCOM's fibre service"

        Having moved to Hull after getting a job here, I've been thoroughly disappointed with the speeds I get from the non fibre service which often dip below 2Mbps during peak times. Compared to the Zen package my parents were on before I went to Uni and got a Sky package in Bangor, they are the most useless areswipes that I've ever had the mispleasure to deal with.

        This is why the house I'm buying is south of the river where there is at least the option of changing providers to someone else.

  7. Chris Miller

    Kcom's customers are largely living in a single urban area. That makes it a lot easier (though still far from trivial) to provide FTTP.

  8. toxicdragon

    Not actually related to telecoms

    I will admit, lived in hull for all but the first three months of my life, I had no idea the chip spice was only a hull thing, shows how much I get out and about I guess. If you are in the area I recommend buying some, its nice, although it does clog very easily.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Not actually related to telecoms

      "... its nice, although it does clog very easily."

      Is that the reason for your username?

    2. Rabbit80

      Re: Not actually related to telecoms

      Most of the chippies around here have chip spice available and have had for a couple of years now.. (North Yorkshire between Leeds and Middlesbrough as a rough idea of location)

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, you can polish a turd and get a polished turd. But what happens when you try and polish Hull? Yep, it's still Hull !!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like you are an experienced turd polisher

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Graduate of CS @ Hull Uni Here

    OK, it was 25 years ago...

    Cheap beer

    Cheap accommodation

    (Some) friendly locals

    Princess Quay

    The Piper Club (Sunday morning)

    The Tower (for an hour)

    For pure class, L.A.s

    And the Uni had a 100Mb ATM network (I remember the systems manager being VERY proud of that).

    Tales of Sarah Green on the pool table in The Lawns.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Graduate of CS @ Hull Uni Here

      Still cheap beer

      Still cheap accomodation

      Lots of friendly locals

      St. Stephens now although Princes Quay is making a comeback.

      L.A's has been demolished (boooooo) and a new hotel is being built.

      Still the Tower, the piper (recently refurbished), the welly, spiders, and now fruit... and lots more besides.

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: Graduate of CS @ Hull Uni Here

        You missed The Adelphi now that's a good night out.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Graduate of CS @ Hull Uni Here

        Oooh, I forgot Spiders! Happy nights drinking snakebite. Wish I were young again.

        1. A K Stiles Silver badge

          Re: Graduate of CS @ Hull Uni Here

          'Happy' nights drinking snakebite? Maybe the night, but certainly not the next day!

          I say this as someone who studied at Loughborough where the famed local beverage was 'Purple Nasty' - snakebite and black(currant).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phone boxes

    I'm not sure if they've been modernised recently, but I remember the phone boxes in Hull being the same as the traditional red GPO ones, but painted cream.

    Back in the days of film photography, got some photos back from the lab with advisory stickers to the effect of "there's something wrong with this film, but we're not sure what. No matter what we do, we can't correct the processing to get the reds across the whole photograph"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phone boxes

      Indeed the boxes are cream and have no crown on them which were a reserved to GPO ones which was a crown service, Hull Corporation Telephones was not.

      More modern ones were introduced many years ago but quite a lot remain and a number are being returned as part of the 2017 works in the city centre. We also have a gold one on in recognition of Luke Campbell's achievements and a black and yellow one in recognition of Jean Bishop's fund raising achievements. I believe there is also a pink one to raise awareness of Breast Cancer.

  12. Florida1920

    Down by the riverside

    The FSM, seen climbing out of the river in the photo, has blessed Hull. Pasta be unto them! (And beer.)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    York has already been fully dug up^W^W wired by CityFibre - which is in addition to the existing Virgin cabling. So we have a choice of 1GBit with TalkTalk or 200MBit with Virgin - decisions, decisions...

    Hull is an ok place, although I miss the football ground with the train platform at the back of the stand and I still remember some really bad pints from the local brewery.

    1. Caltharian

      York has not been fully dug up yet, atm it is only the Clifton area that has access to "UFO" with Acomb due shortly the majority of york only has access to Virgin 200mb or FTTC

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ah, that will be because they had to dig it up twice cos the first time they made the wrong kind of holes (well, trenches).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Ah, that will be because they had to dig it up twice "

          Most contractors are either terrified or overjoyed at the prospect of jobs involving digging holes in York. It depends on the way the contract is worded. Odds are, if you dig a hole in York it needs to be supervised by an archaeologist and could take *years* before the job is complete.

  14. CheeseTriangles
    Thumb Down

    Hull Daily Mail...

    The Hull Daily Mail is probably one of the worst newspapers in the UK. Visit their website, and have a look at what they list as "news". Many of the articles are just click-bait, which have already run on other Trinity Mirror publications.

    The number of factual errors the HDM staff make is quite incredible. It is regarded as a joke by the local population. The sub-editors even miss blatant spelling errors in headlines and straplines.

    The source of many of their local news stories are Twitter and Facebook. A single tweet is usually padded out to make a full news story. It's hardly journalism to sit in the office and trawl social media for dross.

    Any remarks critical of the newspaper made by the readers on the website are swiftly removed, and it's not unknown for the offending commentard to be banned for making the critical post. (Not I, as I wouldn't waste my time posting on HDM, as I know the comments would be zapped).

    I am still astounded at the number of quotes the Hull Daily Mail hacks use from unnamed witnesses. A cynic might offer the opinion that many of the quotes are invented by the HDM staff. Read a few HDM news stories, and you'll soon see what I mean.

    If you do venture onto the Hull Daily Mail website make sure you have an adblocker running!!

    1. Ol'Peculier

      Re: Hull Daily Mail...

      Ah... the 'Ull 'Delly 'Mell.

      To be honest, every regional newspaper's website needs an ad-blocker. Johnson Press is unusable on a mobile for example.

  15. Ol'Peculier

    When I was working in 'Ull on a regeneration project about 15 years ago, trying to get connectivity out of KCOM was atrocious Sound like it's got better, but that won't have been difficult...

  16. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
  17. Kernel

    Over enginneered? Yeah, right!

    "He says Hull is served by about 15 exchanges, as opposed to around four found in places of comparable size."

    Based on 43 years of experience in the telco industry during which time I have built and maintained manual, step x step, crossbar and digital exchanges (along with a whole heap of interesting and clever optical kit), this statement suggests to me that Hull is most likely equipped with comparatively ancient and primitive exchanges.

    A city of around 260K people should be more than adequately served by 3 exchanges built any time in the last 30 years or so - most of their exchanges should have been replaced by remote line units parented off a much smaller number of exchanges long ago.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hull Pascal

    In college I had a couple programming classes that were taught in Pascal (missed the Java hype by a few years) and we ran "Hull Pascal" on a Pr1me computer. I assume it came from there?

  19. ukgnome

    Hull is a den of stinking evil, then again I am from Grimsby and just the word Hull is a trigger. As such I couldn't watch that chap with an emu in the 80's

    Having said that, Spiders is still one of the best places I have been - for various reasons.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Hull is a den of stinking evil, then again I am from Grimsby"

      And the stench is 'cos the wind blows it from Findus and friends over the water!

      Eee, by eck it's grim in Grimsby but at least I don't 'ave to go t'Hull an'back to get there.

  20. Stevie Silver badge


    How can Hull win "Crappiest UK Town" when Harlow New Town still blights the map? This was the first place I ever saw yoofs huffing glue - at five o' clock at night.

    That's right, the town was so huffing naff the kids would rather breath glue fumes from a brown paper bag than look at it.

  21. Winkypop Silver badge

    Relatives on mine lived in Hull in the 1700 and 1800s

    One was born at "swine lane"

    The mind boggles.

  22. AJPizzle

    Doing business there

    Well try adding a site in Hull to your MPLS network. We use converged comms, and hull was the only site still on PSDN. We moved the site in the end out of the KCOM area.

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