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British Industrial History

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KCOM Group

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KCOM Group formerly known as Kingston Communications, is a UK communications and IT services provider. Its headquarters is in Kingston upon Hull

On 22 August 1902, Hull Corporation (which later became Hull City Council) was granted a licence under the Telegraph Act 1899 to operate a municipal telephone system in the Kingston upon Hull area, opening its first telephone exchange in 1904 at the former Trippett Street Baths.

At the time, there were a number of such municipal telephone companies around the UK, all of which – with the exception of the one in Hull – were gradually absorbed into the Post Office Telephone department, which was subsequently to become British Telecom (BT).

Hull's bid to renew its licence in 1914 was made conditional on the £192,000 purchase of National Telephone networks infrastructure. The council gave its approval, securing the future of the country's only remaining municipally owned telephone corporation.

Hull has therefore remained an exception within the UK telephone network, being the only place in the UK not served by BT and is noted for its distinctive cream coloured telephone boxes and innovative services, for example becoming the UK's first fully digital network in 1989 using Marconi System X telephone switches (Central Offices or Class 5 switches).

The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1999.

In the early part of the new millennium, the company started to pioneer services such as ADSL, Video on Demand and Digital TV.

In February 2006, it announced that it would be ceasing its Video on Demand and Digital TV services (called Kingston Interactive TV – KIT) on 1 April 2006.

In 2007, Kingston Communications changed its name to KCOM Group.

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