After 96 years of independence, Kingston Communications, the UK's only local authority-owned telephone company, will next month float on the London Stock Exchange.
The move follows the decision by Hull City Council in January to float part of the company to raise capital for expansion (see PC Week, 2 February).
This could pave the way for the firm to extend its ADSL and other services around the country. BT is piloting ADSL in London, with no rollout date.
The exact proportion of the company to be floated will be revealed in a prospectus, to be published in a few weeks.
Hull was for many years the only place in the UK where BT did not operate, making Kingston the monopoly operator, but last year telecoms watchdog Oftel opened up the Hull market to competition, forcing Kingston to defend its market share.
Now in addition to its local network in the north east, Kingston offers satellite, broadband, telecoms services, telecom equipment and network services across the UK. Kingston hopes the flotation will enable it to become a major national telco.
"The flotation will give Kingston access to additional capital to allow the company to pursue its strategic objective of becoming a major national provider of advanced telecoms services," said Kingston's CEO Steve Maine in a statement accompanying the company's financial results.
For the financial year ending 31 March, Kingston reported turnover up 15% to £148.3 million.
Hull Council wants as many local people as possible to buy the shares, but Kingston's forward-thinking attitude to technology is likely to be attractive to all comers.
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