LightSpeed broadband review 2024: Is it any good?

Dan Howdle | October 16th, 2023

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Lightspeed Broadband is one of the increasing number of so-called 'altnets' cropping up around the UK – broadband providers who offer gigabit/ultrafast speeds on their own network, usually focused on a specific region of the country. In Lightspeed Broadband's case, that covers 32 market towns in South Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Rutland. If you're not in that part of the country, you're out of luck. But, we're guessing you're here because you've heard it is available where you are and you're curious to discover what Lightspeed is all about. Well, here goes.

Key features

Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to find in a Lightspeed Broadband deal:

Download speeds 110Mbps, 1100Mbps
Upload speeds 110Mbps, 1100Mbps
Broadband FTTP
Home Phone No
Packages available Broadband
Router Nokia Wi-Fi 6 Lightspeed Hub
Contract lengths 12 or 24 months
Prices from £22.46 per month

Our review of Lightspeed Broadband

Reasons to buy

  • Very fast broadband
  • Symmetrical (up/download same speed)
  • No mid-contract price hikes

Reasons to avoid

  • Very limited availability
  • No home phone packages

Lightspeed Broadband is a very young company, incorporated in 2020 and serving its first customers some time after that. With no track record to look back on it's easy to eye Lightspeed with an air of unease. But you needn't. Lightspeed is actually proving itself one of the best of all the current crop of altnets in the UK, with many happy customers thanks to its extremely fast, symmetrical (identical upload and download speeds) connections, and easy installation and setup.

Of course, there is one elephant in the room however – that being you'll need to live somewhere in South Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Rutland to be in with a chance of getting it, and even if you do, it's still going to be somewhat of a long shot. We'll take a look at precise locations in the next section.

Availability

Lightspeed Broadband is available to properties in:

  • Boston
  • Bourne
  • Braintree
  • Clacton-on-Sea
  • Dereham
  • Downham Market
  • Fakenham
  • Hilbeach
  • Hunstanton
  • King's Lynn
  • Long Sutton
  • Market Deeping
  • Skegness
  • Sleaford
  • Spalding
  • Stamford
  • Stowmarket
  • Thetford

Sadly, if you don't live in one of these locations, you can't currently get Lightspeed Broadband. This list is of the so-called 'Live Towns' at the time of writing. However, Lightspeed is continuing its rollout to more locations all the time. You can use Lightspeed's network rollout map to see both where Lightspeed currently is, and indeed the places it's coming to soon.

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Broadband speeds

Lightspeed Broadband's offering is almost as simple as it gets, separating just two package tiers into Ultrafast (1100Mbps up and down) and regular old Superfast (110Mbps up and down). The price difference is actually not all that much. At the time of writing, you're paying an extra £10 per month or so for broadband that's ten times as quick. Not quite a no-brainer since there is money to be saved, and customers should therefore take a moment to consider what they actually need.

1 Gigabit: No confusing names on either of Lightspeed's broadband packages, though the broadband is a bit faster than the name directly suggests, which is quite refreshing. 1,100Mbps up and down speeds with this one, delivered via a Nokia Wi-Fi 6 Lightspeed Hub. You don't need us to tell you what 1,100Mbps can do because the answer is everything, with a lot of band width to spare

100 Mbps: 110Mbps up and down. Same router. 110Mbps is enough for most households, but if there are any gamers in the house who regularly juggle their game library on their local hard drive on console or PC, the extra £10 or so per month is probably worth spending. Even huge games and updates are downloaded in minutes. Outside of that, though, 110Mbps will probably do just fine

Not sure which package to pick? Our guide to deciding what broadband speed you need has all the answers.

Upload speeds

Both of Lightspeed Broadband's packages offer symmetrical speeds – that is, your upload speed is going to be exactly the same as your download speeds.

Typically, that's not the case, with most providers offering upload speeds within around 10-30% of their download speeds. This is because a typical home internet connection tends to pull a lot of information into the home, while sending out very little. Of course, some people use upload as much as download, but that's rare, and will tend to require a specific type of job such as videographer or draughts-person, where uploading large files and documents is the norm.

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Landline calling packages

The broadband and phone landscape is changing rapidly, with landlines becoming a rarity. Major providers like Virgin Media, BT, and Sky are making it more challenging to get a traditional landline. Instead of including it as standard, they often ask customers to add one during the sign-up process if necessary. Plusnet, for example, offers broadband connections without the option to add a landline, opting for SoGEA connections. Lightspeed Broadband, a newer altnet provider, doesn't offer landlines or even digital lines, reflecting a broader industry trend away from traditional phone services. It's clear that landlines are falling out of favor.

This transition is indicative of a broader shift within the industry, where landlines are losing popularity. Lightspeed Broadband is not alone in avoiding landlines, and other providers are likely to follow suit. The focus is increasingly on broadband and digital connectivity – mobile phones, WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom and so on.

Routers and installation

There are two packages available as previously highlighted, and keeping things simple still, Lightspeed Broadband offers just one router: The Nokia Wi-Fi 6 Lightspeed Hub.

As the name suggests, the router offers the latest Wi-Fi 6 protocols, which enable blistering speeds to devices that are able to use it. Older devices will default to older protocols, so the router is universally compatible – it's just that if you have a new/modern device such as a recent phone, tablet or laptop, you'll be able to use that faster wifi connection.

As has become the norm, Lightspeed also offers smaller devices to create a so-called 'mesh' network – a way of repeating and extending the signal to cover every room in your home. Unlike other providers, though, the repeaters are actually full-blown routers: The Wi-Fi 6 Nokia Beacon. Functionally, these will do the same job as mesh extenders, but it also opens up the possibility to put disreet networks in different parts of the house, if for any reason that's something you wanted to do.

The Wi-Fi 6 Nokia Beacons are an additional £80 per unit – reflecting that they are very capable devices. Alternatively, you can pay £20 per month for the first four months per unit to cover the cost. You can order up to four when you sign up, and at the time of writing you get the first one free.

Here are the specs both for the Nokia Wi-Fi 6 Lightspeed Hub and the Wi-Fi 6 Nokia Beacon:

Nokia Wi-Fi 6 Lightspeed Hub specs:

  • WiFi Bands: Dual band AX1800 (up to Wi-Fi 6)
  • WiFi Speed: Up to 1800Mbps
  • Coverage: 140 m2 or 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: Four 1-gigabit ethernet ports
  • Dimensions: H 195mm, W 245mm, D 37mm, weight: 650g

Wi-Fi 6 Nokia Beacon:

  • WiFi Bands: Dual band AX1800 (up to Wi-Fi 6)
  • WiFi Speed: Up to 1800Mbps
  • Coverage: 140 m2 or 1500 sq ft
  • Number of Ports: 1xLAN port, 1xWAN port
  • Dimensions: H 168mm, W 96mm, D 96mm, weight: 450g

Installation

As with many other altnets, installation requires bringing new cabling to your home. On the one hand, this makes installation times more variable than from a typical mainstream broadband provider, since the amount of work involved will vary, and you won't have an existing line from the network into your home. Lightspeed Broadband will inform you during the sign-up process whether the line will be brought to your home via telegraph poles (easier) or in the ground (harder).

Nevertheless, from your perspective, actually getting your broadband installed isn't going to feel any different to the way it does from any other provider. You'll sign up, wait, and be up and running on the given day.

Customer service

The official measure of customer service is provided by Ofcom, who quizzes the customers of the companies in question to find out what they think of their provider. With altnets that's not the case, since Ofcom draws the line at any provider which has less than 1.5% market share and does not include them. So you won't find Lightspeed Broadband in any Ofcom report.

However, of all of the altnet providers we've been looking into of late, Lightspeed Broadband has the highest Trustpilot score of the lot at a commendable 4.8 out of five. Their customers love them.

Our verdict: Outstanding

We don't have a bad word to say about Lightspeed Broadband. Obviously, most people won't be able to get it, but those who can are in for a treat with blisteringly fast broadband, high quality customer service, excellent equipment and very, very resonable pricing. 1100Mbps from Lightspeed Broadband is significantly cheaper than a similar speed from Virgin Media, and other national providers don't currently even reach those speeds, topping out at about 900Mbps.

There's no landline, but that's not going to stop you from having one if you really need it. You can get a landline on its own from BT if you have to. Or, you can move with the times and fall back on your mobile. It's not the hindrance it would have been ten years ago and it really is the shape of things to come.

You can even choose between a 12 or 24 month contract length with Lightspeed Broadband's top speed, with the shorter contract being slightly more expensive, but both contracts promising no mid-contract price-hikes. We're very impressed with Lightspeed Broadband, and we believe you will be too.

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