Without going into Kingston Communications' proud history in too great detail, you can't really get much of an idea why the fastest broadband in the UK is to be found in Kingston upon Hull.
Rather than make "profits" on which it would pay tax, the Kingston upon Hull City Council owned Kingston Communications would plough money into research and buying up other telecomms companies as well as expanding its fibre optic network (some comments on here are so far from the truth I wonder if they were written by KC's competitors who don't even try and get a foothold in the Kingston upon Hull market).
Kingston upon Hull had the first digital telephone exchange in the UK but it was, for years, connected to the post office's (now BT) analogue network. KC have extended the Kingston upon Hull network way outside of the city's boundaries and now, you can have a fibre optic connection installed into your house direct to the fibre optic cable KC laid in your street years ago. How many people get THAT from BT?
Comments on here such as "everyone in Hull is forced to get broadband from karoo" are patent rubbish. You can get broadband by satellite or through the air on 3G. The fact IS that the number of residents of Kingston upon Hull likely to use a competitor is SO small there is no point anyone setting up an operation in Hull going head to head to KC or Karoo.
Competitors are entitled to access to BT's network on fair terms as part of competition regulations but Karoo use KC's own network, nothing to do with BT, built by KC from the proceeds of selling very fairly priced telephone services to the people of Hull.
It's fascinating to see people with access to fibre optic broadband into their own homes complaining they don't have access to BT or Virgin etc.. All I hear on consumer programmes is people complaining about the "service" they get from BT etc.
I'm using Karoo to send this. It's not even the top of the range package but it's fast enough for me. I'm not an online gamer (though karoo have their own minecraft server) and lots of other gismos.
As an Hullensian, I'm proud of KC and I've traveled enough to see what other broadband providers are like. getting back to Hull and karoo is always a relief. I would go so far as to say that anyone needing a really serious connection to the internet should think about basing themselves in Hull. Plenty of available staff, cheap rates and rents, great countryside nearby, everything you could need, great people ... KC, years ago bought a share of a satellite so a company could base themselves in Hull and get access to superb comms direct through the local council. Try doing THAT through BT!
Karoo is the worst isp in the world, it used to be great hense the fact BBC chose to place there buildings in Hull. Karoo services need updating, they don't even have fiberoptic. They don't offer a unlimited package, they used to ages ago, although that changed quite quickly. To imporve Karoo they need to invest money into there network instead of nights out at the pub, and consider purchasing fiberoptic lines, and possibly allow other ISP's into the Hull area so people are not forced to purchase a Karoo line, although I will say they fix issues very quickly.
I have a house within Hull and like all other people in the city, I am FORCED to use the karoo service for my broadband connection, which is extremely poor value. When will the guys there sort this service out? The packages from Karoo are so far behind the rest of the country. For example Sky is launching its broadband service soon, 2meg speed for free if your already a subscriber! (which i am) 8 meg for a fiver a month or 16 meg for a tenner! now compare that to karoo's service half a meg speed for a 10 pounds, 20 pounds for 2meg and a whopping 30 pounds for 3meg (which is their fastest!) I am on the 20 pounds a month package and I appreciate there are no download limits, but sky's £5 a month offer gives you 40 gigabytes which is plenty for all but the hardcore users.
Sky is not the only service to leave karoo in the shadows. I know loads of people on many different ISP's and they are generally paying between 15 and 20 pounds a month for 8 meg broadband. Damn frustrating.
So as you can tell Im well Pi**ed off with Karoo and I havn't even mentioned there technical support. (in a word useless).
Incidentally sky (like all other isp's can't supply their service down a king comm line.)
Karoo SORT IT OUT!!!!!
Today is 18th september 2004, and we have been with karoo rapid time broadband for a few days.Everyone should be with this fantastic company.
Kingston communications are an independant company,based in kingston-upon-hull.
It is thanks to this company that you have interactive television atall,since the BBCi and SKY use their system,as well as around the world.
After the success of broadband television through the local phone lines called KIT,it can be no suprise that KINGSTON COMMUNICATIONS,are now set to be the world leader in all telecommunication worldwide.
Karoo is the worst ISP I have ever come across!!! I had my account hacked a couple days back, and as a result the intruder gained access to one of Karoo's systems, so I was told. My account got disabled and I had to send in a letter promising this would not happen again even though I did not do this. There service poor, costly, and they tech guys/gals don't know anything. One of the senior technicains had never heard of Netstat, can u belive that. I had a mixture of upper and lowercase characters to gain access to both the internet and email wich I had been using for a number of months. Today I tried to get access to my email and it would not accept my password, so I rang the technical helpdesk. They told be it's impossible to use both uper and lowercase characters, but I said I have been using the same password for months why should it fail now. No one has any ideas. So I was told I would have to change my password to lowercase. I said this would make it less secure and they told me "no it wont" are they thick or somthing. The problem is there is only 1 ISP in this area and that is Karoo they have the monopoly so I cannot even change ISP'S. IF YOU CAN HELP IT DO NOT GO WITH KAROO THEY ARE CRAP!!!!!!
Hi I went away to my mate house for the weekend coming back to know that i have been disconnected from my ADSL why u mite ask, Karoo say that i have sent them an abusive email i don't know what containing cos i didn't send it at the time the email there said it was sent i was on the way to work. There will not activate my account until we send them a letter saying that we are sorry basicly admit to guilt, but i am not guilty i have not sent an email of abusive langwich. It also looks like i have been hacked but there are not having it, i have remote dial in inabled also i have eval isa server and rooter and vpn and someone while i was on way to work must have hacked in n sent this email... or spothed my ip and email address. I talked to karoo on the phone and there wouldn't let us do out with out sending a letter so we sent a letter and there rang us up saying this isn't what we are looking for... as i didn't admit to guilt in the letter as i'm not guilty as i havn't sent any email of any kind to karoo. I would much like to be on BT line to go with some one else, we was going to get rid of karoo but there is no one else, i'm stumped. tomorrow i'm off in town to telephone house, with evidence of cleared logs etc of what the hacker has done. All karoo need to do is untick a box saying "account is disabled" but there wont do it over the phone, i would rate karoo about 1/10 the 1 been better then dial up, atm i am using dial up to a private network to write this message. I carn't wait till i get rid of karoo, and get a decent dsl connection, All i can do at the moment is wait till tomorrow, i will post up and tell you what happened.
As part of my job I install and configure networks in and around the Hull area. I have setup a good number of ADSL connections for businesses and residential users over the past year and always find Karoo's ADSL service problematic. While the quality of the basic ADSL and ISP services are average, when working, and even the bandwidth made available by the service is excellent, Karoo manage to completely destroy any viability as a quality service. To begin with I'll start with the prices charged by Karoo. For residential users the prices are as follows (at the time of writing this review) (Prices include VAT): Installation £85.00 Connection £65.00 Modem £85.00 Monthly fee £28.99 Administration fee for changing services with Karoo £23.50 Initially when the service was established you were required to purchase installation, connection and the modem to be eligible for the ADSL service, amounting to a connection cost of £235, a monthly fee somewhere in the region of £45 was also charged. The reason given for this at the time was service quality assurance and protection of their network from unapproved ADSL devices. This has now being changed as users need only pay for the connection and can avoid using the Fujitsu USB ADSL modems that users were forced to buy. While the above prices may not be grossly out of proportion with the rest of the UK they are still expensive and as people living within the area controlled by Kingston Communications have no alternative, except Hull24 for basic POTS and ISDN services, in unmetered internet access it is not possible for users to make use of alternative broadband services or packages better suited to their budget and/or requirements. Karoo also apply a 1Gb daily quota on the basic ADSL service (Named RapidTime) and offer an additional package (Known as RapidTime Pro) for an extra £10 per month that will remove thi
s quota and reduce the connection ratio from 50/1 to 30/1 (Additionally there is a webspace traffic limit of 20Mb per day applied to the users webspace). In addition you are required not to operate a network (I assume they mean not operate proxy or routing services), SMTP or HTTP services, connect to another LAN or operate a builtin board service or other network applications of that style for usage on external hosts / sites. It should also be noted that none of the above restrictions on the service are enforced by Karoo’s software / hardware and many users will be unaware that they are in breach of their contract and cannot typically enforce these restrictions on their own computers. The basic business package is fundamentally the same service offered to residential customers and has the same restrictions (regarding usage and quota’s) except this service costs £175.00 for installation (inc. modem, no opt out) and £45.53 per month. Kingston also point out that you must not use the residential ADSL service as a substitute for the business service and that only one PC must be used for the ADSL connection. As this service is pretty much the same as the residential service, except the cost of course, and that to remove the quota you must pay £81.08 per month I will move on to the typical service purchased by Businesses within Kingston’s area. If you wish to do anything you are not supposed to do with your internet connection, aside from remove your quota, you must apply for a business ADSL connection (Which may be denied to residential users). This will permit you to use the connection as you see fit without many of the constraints mentioned above. Since most Businesses have networks and want to operate email services and provide internet access to systems on their network they must purchase the following package: RapidBiz NetLite Downgrade from ISDN £116.33 Connection £880.08 ADSL Router £763.75
(Required) Monthly Fee £116.33 Total typical setup cost £1760.16 and an annual fee of £1395.96 per year for the service (Of course businesses can claim VAT back so these figures are reduced to £1498 for setup and £1188 per year). The equivalent service provided by Demon, a pricey but quality provider, is £250.00 setup fee and £75.00 per month charge (£900 per year). And they still provide better connection ratios, features and services than Kingston’s equivalent service. While the above package resolves some problems it creates new problems. Your new Cisco router doesn’t support NAT (NAT for people who don’t know is the service that allows many computers to use one internet address and helps protect computers in certain circumstances) and unless you purchase a more expensive router and software packages from Karoo you’ll have to purchase IP addresses for all computers on your network and fully expose them to the internet (which could leave them venerable to attack without the appropriate software being installed and make your internet access almost uncontrollable). Or alternatively you may install an NAT router behind the Cisco router to provide internet access to all your computers without fully exposing them to the internet and ensuring that you do not have to purchase additional addresses every time you add a computer to the network. Normally I would say that under windows 2000 computers or on a normal setup that this would not be such a problem, other than security, as addresses could only be purchased for computers that required internet access. But since Kingston will not permit you to change the routers configuration (remember that it is yours and you paid for it!!) it is typically the case that an additional NAT router needs to be installed behind the Cisco router, effectively rendering the Cisco router into a very expensive LAN modem. Anyway enough of the gripe of cost and conditions of use, even thoug
h the above only just touches on the vast array of problems that Karoo will create for you. And I must point out that at present it is common for ISP’s to charge extra for internet access for multiple computers (Although I do not think that many regard the use of the internet connection sharing features in Windows 98/2000/XP or a small proxy service as a violation of their terms and conditions) and that Karoo is not the only ISP placing quota’s on users network bandwidth, NTL operate a similar policy (but from the look of things their users and a few court cases will change that) at least Karoo don’t block ports and force their users to circumvent the ISP’s restrictions for certain applications and types of usage. On to service quality and customer service: Karoo have a poor history with connectivity and support, little has changed but the ADSL service is still the best performing service that Karoo have offered yet. From my experience I estimate that their total uptime is round 95% for ADSL and around 98% between 8am and 10pm. But while ADSL itself resolved issues with dialing into the network other connectivity issues remain. It is not uncommon for their authorization servers to experience problems and deny people access to the internet, typically these problems are intermittent and if persistent they are resolved within the hour. While this is just an inconvenience to residential users or resolved by your computer automatically by attempting to connect several times for a business using autodial features it can lock out your internet connection until an administrator or network engineer can remark the connection as usable, typically costing the business a callout charge. Routing problems have always existed on Karoo’s network and the problem’s frequency is doubled by the fact that most of the access to the rest of the internet is provided via another ISP Planet Online. (Personally I still find it
amusing to watch internet packets go round and round in circles within Karoo’s network). (Recently this problem has not arisen as frequently as in the past, but as this problem has existed for such a long time I don’t hold out any hope the current solution being permanent). While Karoo appear to suffer from more than their fair share of problems on the whole mail, website, news and (now) proxy services are fairly reliable and the average user will not notice the problem too often. When things do go wrong, more often than not disastrously wrong, you are still pretty much on your own and in the dark. Technical support will become unavailable within a few minutes of a problem and eventually, if the problem is big enough, technical support lines will be closed. Typically their network support line (An alternative to tech support so you can supposedly find out if they have a problem) will not be updated until after the issue is resolved, if at all, and no information will be submitted on their internet site to inform people of the current issues on the network. (I know that sound’s pointless to submit information to an internet site when your users can’t access the internet, but it allows technical support teams to connect to the site using another ISP and find out exactly what problems, if any, Karoo are presently suffering from. Basically it stops people like me wasting my time and my clients money on problems that have nothing to do with the systems we look after). If you do call technical support during a time of relative piece you will be provided with a level of support I still find to be substandard for an ISP. The support team do not seam to be able to cross the knowledge gap with typical users and with more technical users you will normally have to put up quite a fight to get anywhere. In the past it was common for Karoo to explain away their connectivity problems by blaming the issue on the users hardware, comm
only the phrase “(We do not) / (Our systems do not) support Rockwell modem’s” would be quoted, even though they worked perfectly fine given the modem had the correct driver installed, the dialup settings are correct and the lines were not clogged at Karoo’s end. The problems with Karoo’s service even extend to account mangment. If your account becomes disabled, either due to failure to meet their payments or from one many gremlins within Karoo’s system, you will not be able to get back your original account. Meaning your email address, email and webspace (and its contents) are gone, well inaccessible anyway, and it doesn’t seam to matter to Karoo how important your files and mail were or just how inconvenient it is to have your email address changed. I recommend that anyone using Karoo not to use their webspace of mail services for anything important to you as it doesn’t matter how much money you wave at them or how many tears you shed, you will not get back your data. Karoo also recommends that you keep backups of your data, which is always a good idea, and I do not believe they give any guarantees of mail delivery as their mail servers have simply lost mail in the past (This most noticeably happened when Karoo decided to change the DNS names, the name the computer(s) is known by on the internet, of their mail servers and inform everyone via email. For thoughts who did receive the mail in enough time and figure out how to change the setting they probably lost their uncollected mail as Karoo had problems copying it across. And many users had to setup two accounts in their mail clients for a number of weeks until the problems with a selection of accounts were eventually resolved. And for thoughts who had no idea of what was coming? Well, I didn’t do to badly out of it). In all Karoo would be fairly average to below-average ISP offering some good bandwidth rates on ADSL and a very basic inter
net service, additional services typically provided are unavailable regardless of how much money you spend or how convincing your argument, if it were not for how the services is provided to their customers and the manner in which the operate their business. Most of my wittering above goes into much more detail than when I first decided to write this review but only covers perhaps one tenth of the issues with Karoo. Would I voluntary recommend them as an ISP? Absolutely not. But since you only have the option of Karoo for broadband, at present, and Karoo & Hull24 for un-metered internet access within the Kingston communication’s network you have no choice. Hull24 for typical internet users and light business users, Karoo for gamers and people who need an internet connection that is not disconnected after 2 hours (but 7 hours) and Karoo, unfortunately, for broadband and typical business use. If you go with Karoo, expect difficulties if you’re a heavy user and irritation for light users. Keep up with you payments, because if you miss one you’ll loose your data and have to change your email address (as well as pay Karoo the full setup charge again) and pray all goes well between collecting your mail and that things are as you left them the last time you checked. Make sure you write down your password and keep it safe that Karoo give you and not just let your computer save it, because you’ll never remember it. If you’re not an ADSL user, don’t expect to get onto the internet between 6 and 10pm in less than 30 connection attempts, and try to be civil to tech support. We all know they get frustrated but they’ve got a lot on their hands. I’d recommend that any business wanting to implement a shared internet connection on their existing network should seek professional advice from engineers with experience in dealing with Kingston Communications before contacting Kingston Communications. I hope y
ou find this review informative and would hope that it would help some users make a more informed choice between the three options you have (Karoo, Hull24 or none). The service quality might not be up to scratch and expensive but it is the only choice you have so, with regret, I have to say you’ll just have to make the most of it.
Welcome to the information superhighway! One month on broadband is enough to make you feel ill at the thought of using an analogue connection ever again, my only real gripe until recently was the price. Being a prisoner of KC (Kingston Communications) meant I could not take advantage of Cable or BT services but KC's ADSL weighed in at £150 intall and £40 per month, now they offer a self install which knocks the startup price down to £85 quid (including your necessary hardware) and £28 a month! BARGAIN But still I wonder, how can the major COMMS companies enthuse so loudly about broadband and yet make it prohibitively expensive to startup, the way I understand it most telephone exchanges nationwide have been uprated to handle broadband and are sat ticking over with a small number of users simply because ITS STILL TOO EXPENSIVE! Lets get off the Information Snail trail and onto the so called superhighway, c'mon Comms companies drop the price! if you charge £30 a month you'll get a 10th of the uptake that you would at sayyy £20 a month? I would have had ADSL a year ago if it had been a fair price.
At one time by living in Hull you could feel quite smug as all local phone calls cost just 5p for unlimited time - using our local phone company Kingston Communications.... And then came the internet!! We signed up for their Karoo Extra Package at a cost of £15 per month - this gives you internet connection using a local number and therefore costing just 5p per connection any time of day. They have now announced a new range of packages to "keep in line with other ISP's" and Kingston Extra has gone up by £10... OUTRAGEOUS!! The alternatives on offer include Karoo Freetime with a monthly charge of £9.99 and free evening and weekend calls and Karoo Anytime at £29.99 per month for free anytime calls. Compare these to similar packages offered by Freeserve for example - their evening/weekend package is just £4.99 and their anytime £10. A bit of a difference eh? So why not move - well simply because we can't. At present there are no BT lines into Hull (and you need a BT line for most of these offers). So in this world of "Freedom of Choice" - where is ours ??????
I have been with Karoo for 2 years and it has to be said the service can best be described as patchy. There have been months where the transfer speeds were awful and connection, authorisation, problems persisted. Technical support has been as still is non existant. Even if you do get someone to answer all they seem to know is "check your setting, have you the latest modem drivers". Beyond that you must sort it yourself or get help from a newsgroup. When Lineone/Quip and Redhotant etc began making their offers it seemed Karoo got better. This could be the fact that lots of users defected to these other ISPs Now these other offers have been mostly withdrawn Karoo has decided to make a massive increase in their price. The Karoo extra service I subscribe to is from the 1st October increaseing to £25 per month from £15. This gives access at Kingston Communications local rates 5.5p for up to 7 hours. I realise that to people suffering BT local call rates this must seem like heaven. However, at a time when ADSL is beginning to be offered at £40 per month for 512kb connections 24/7 £25 per month for a patchy modem connection is not good when tied to a 60% increse in price. In fact whist typing this I cannot connect to send it. I and other users (gudging from the newsgroups) are to put it mildly annoyed. Kingston Communications who now operate Karoo have a monopoly in the Hull area which means any offer made by other ISPs that rely on a BT line cannot be accessed in our area. All in all not a good exercise in public/customer relations. I seems that the whole internet industry in Britain is behind the times and treats it's customers like dirt. This can only have a detrimental effest on our economy as E commerce takes off in other parts of the world. This will once again leave Britain as a third rate nation in yet another arena..
A year ago I moved to Kingston-upon-Hull and back then Karoo Extra was the best service in the country. This is because we don't have BT but Kingston Communications, previously council owned but now part privitized. While they do not compete directly with BT, it's one or the other depending on where you live, KC have always provided better value. Local calls are 5.5p flat rate. By paying £15pm you get to join Karoo Extra which unlike the cheaper Karoo service uses a local (01482) phone number allowing you to take advantage of the lower call rates. Any time of the day, any length for 5.5p. I've read the comments about a 7 hour limit but nobody seriously spends that long online, it would be worrying if they do. And one of the conditions is that if you stay online doing nothing then they will change to the Karoo package which has the usual charges per minute. Pricing aside the service always used to be excellent but recently it has been difficult getting connected, especially in evenings. This is quite disconcerting considering the price we pay. The Karoo web portal is not that great, but this is of no concern to me. Likewise I have not had much experience of technical support as I solve my own problems. I did call them once, to ask for my password and this is because you get assigned a nice long alphanumeric sequence which you can't change. It might stop people having guessable passwords but it increases the chance of them being written down. This is another negative point about Karoo. Apparently the service is being taken over by Kingston Communications, it is currently run by Kingston Internet. In reality these are the same company, in practice being run by the phone division should allow them to offer a BT SurfTime or NTL world style deal. I'm waiting, but only because I can't go to ntl now.
I was forced into getting Karoo extra when the phone bill was rocketing to scary amounts. I have had to change from Karoo Extra which was £10 a month and all internet calls were 7p untimed but cut off after 7 hours. Now I am on Karoo Anytime which is £30 a month with free calls. I find it appalling that there has been such a raise in cost. Living in Hull there are no other suitable alternatives. Don't think just because the cost has gone up the quality has too. Just now at 7:45 in the morning it has taken about 8 times to connect. Technical support is not very good either. When I was first signed up I had to get a new account because for some reason the password they had given mne wouldn't work. Then after a few months I had to get yet another new account because after weeks of constantly ringing thme up about not being able to access my webspace they said this was the only answer to the problem and they didn't know what else to do. If you are a reader of newsgroups Karoo's news is very poor and a lot of groups aren't listed. When I called to ask if they could add one or two they said no you will just have to wait and see and if others phone up they might add them. There is one benifit to Karoo though and that is the fast connection. I regularly connect at 52000 and I think that is good.
I have been with karoo for a year now and have had no problems whatsoever. I subscribe to karoo extra, which costs £15 a month (paid monthly by credit card) It then costs 5p to log on (local rate)then thats it, you can stay on line as long as you want, no restrictions, hours at a time if you wish. The helpline is free, any problems they talk you through it. The techie stuff, web pages etc I cannot comment on as this part does not interest me. This is mainly in the Hull area at the moment, but expanding all he time, I think the West Riding of Yorks is on the cards. Well worth giving it some thought if you like to surf for hours without having to download anything, log on & off all the time. Most people in the Hull area use it, so it is worth looking into if it arrives in your area.
For once, those of us who live in Hull can feel smug. While the free-call internet revolution slowly stutters its way across the rest of the UK (after six only), Karoo have a well established unmetered service - but only in Hull. For £15/month, you get access to a Hull local phone number and unlimited internet access - I'm averaging eight hours per day at the moment, and have had very few problems. The key to this? Hull has it's own phone company - Kingston Communication, and local calls in Hull only cost 5p, regardless of time. There are no petty restrictions on this ISP - not two hours at a time, no minutes silence gets you cut off. If you are in the Hull area, and you use the internet, this is the ideal service.