The UK?s sole remaining municipally-owned telephone operator, Kingston Communications, has axed 20 per cent of its staff in a bid to compete with new operators entering its area of Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire.
The company provides services to 170,000 customers across a 120-square mile all-digital network. 300 of its 1,530 staff are expected to seek voluntary redundancy over the next three months.
Kingston, which became a PLC in 1987, faces competition from Ionica, a fixed radio operator based in Cambridge, plus other suppliers that choose to operate in the Kingston area when the market is fully deregulated next year.
The company would not reveal where the job cuts will be made but said negotiations with staff unions are already underway.
However, Adrian May, telecomms analyst at Ovum, does not believe this is the start of a trend that will affect all the new suppliers that entered the newly liberalised UK market after 1984. But he said: ?The job cuts mirror those of BT when it had to trim fat to compete better. Kingston is recognising the commerical realities.?
Kingston Communications was created in 1904 as a department of the Hull Corporation. It now provides telecomms services internationally through offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong and north America. Recently it agreed to buy out Yorkshire Electricity?s share in its joint venture with Kingston called Torch Telecom. This offers advanced communications services to businesses in the Yorkshire region.
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