Dan Howdle | November 7th, 2023
Lit Fibre is an altnet (alternative network) broadband provider operating in a number of locations in and around Birmingham, the South West and the South East north of London. As is fairly typical of the many altnets springing up around the country Lit Fibre offers symmetrical gigabit speeds on a full-fibre network to a small footprint of towns. So is it any good?
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to find in a Lit Fibre broadband deal:
|100Mbps, 500Mbps, 900Mbps
|100Mbps, 500Mbps, 900Mbps
|The Lit Hub (GigaSpire BLAST u4)
|£20 per month
As far as the altnets we've been looking at and continue to look at here at Cable.co.uk go, Lit Fibre's offering does come across as a little bog-standard. Now, we're not saying it's bad – far from it – so allow us to clarify. All altnets offer symmetrical (upload and download speeds the same) 'gigabit' connections (in this case the top speed actually averages 900Mbps, making it slower than Virgin Media at 1130Mbps). Almost all of them also guarantee no mid-contract price rises, and a decent enough mesh router solution.
But, some others we've looked at also offer a home phone, optional TV subscription, true gigabit speeds (1,000Mbps+), and some offer speeds of 2Gbps or even an utterly mad 3Gbps. Some also offer multiple contract length options with varying prices dependent on how long you want to tie yourself in. And we guess the 'problem' we have with what Lit Fibre is offering here then is that it offers none of those things.
As we said before, it's a bit run of the mill in the world of altnets, which in no way means it's bad. It's priced well, and as you can see, we've given Lit Fibre 4 stars, which puts it in the 'very good' bracket. We're just a little disappointed to not find anything that helps Lit Fibre stand out from other altnets such as Zzoomm, BeFibre, Lightspeed and more.
Lit Fibre broadband is available to properties in:
|Welwyn Garden City
Note that some of the locations here are marked as 'in progress'. Lit Fibre is refreshingly transparent about where it's available, and indeed how far along they are with deployment. It should be commended for that. Often uncovering exactly where you can get an altnet's broadband service can be a bit like reading tealeaves. If you don't live in one of these locations, you can't get it, simple as that.
It's also worth noting that just because you do live in one of these locations, it doesn't necessarily follow you can get it either, since it's highly unlikely Lit Fibre covers the entire region. The only way to really know is to visit Lit Fibre's website and use its postcode availability checker.
Lit Fibre offers four different speeds, from a capable 100Mbps all the way up to a speedy 900Mbps. They are:
Lit 100: The buy-in on this package is currently half-priced for the first six months at the time of writing (may have changed by the time you're reading this). 100Mbps may not sound very fast, but it's actually faster than the vast majority of households in the UK currently get, and plenty for heavy-duty applications like 4K streaming.
Lit 500: Want something more spicy? Well, at five times the speed of the entry-level package, there's nothing that Lit 500 can't do, including downloading hefty videogames and other large-file download applications in good time.
Lit 1000: Despite the name, this isn't technically 'gigabit' broadband, since the speed supplied actually averages 900Mbps. We're not fond of misleading package names and this is absolutely one. If you don't look at the small print you're getting 100Mbps less than you might be led to believe. Anyway, it's very fast and probably more than any household really needs.
Not sure which package to pick? Our guide to deciding what broadband speed you need has all the answers.
All of Lit Fibre'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.
While it's true that most people rely more on their landlines than on their mobiles, we don't think that's a reason that should be stated for not providing one. After all, if anyone takes the time to ask if a provider offers a landline, they either want one or need one and when they find the answer 'We don't provide one because most people don't need one', you're really not saying that to the right audience. We agree, incidentally – landlines are on their way out. But there are technical and cost reasons for not offering one, more so than just 'most people don't need one'.
Lit Fibre doesn't stand out among altnet providers for not offering a phone line, however. Most don't, and we're not therefore holding it against them as a negative.
Lit Fibre calls their router the Lit Hub. However, as with all altnet providers, it's actually a rebranded version of a router you can go out and buy, in this case the Gigaspire Blast u4. It's a very good router, and Lit Fibre offers the option to add mesh devices (wifi extenders) for spots in your home where wifi reception is poor. Here's an at-a-glance look at the Lit Hub.
|4x4 Wi-Fi 6 antenna array, with 2x2 @ 5 GHz and 2x2 @ 2.4 GHz
|2 x GigE LAN ports
|1 x GigE WAN port
|1 x USB 3.0 (Type A)
|Enhanced PuF security
When you sign up for Lit Fibre you'll agree an installation day and yes, you will need to be home that day because as well as the work that needs to be carried out outside your home, in your street, the engineer will also have to bring the necessary cables into your home. A typical installation from Lit Fibre takes 2-4 hours, which is worth noting because it's a lot longer than you may be used to from a mainstream broadband provider, while being absolutely typical of altnet providers.
The actual work that needs to be done in getting the cables to your home can either be underground (through existing ducts), or overground (via telegraph polls). The exact installation method will depend where you live.
Having said all of that, the actual experience from the customer's point of view is going to feel exactly the same. Sign up, book a day, get up and running. The big difference is just that it'll take about twice as long as you might expect on installation day.
Broadband providers with less than 1.5% market share aren't included in Ofcom's annual customer service reporting. However, you can see how it's doing on Trustpilot.
Lit Fibre's record here is practically spotless, with an incredible score of 4.9 out of five stars from over a thousand customer reviews. Customers are at pains to shower praise on Lit Fibre's customer service team, the quality of the broadband service offered and indeed its installation team. 94% of it's customers give Lit Fibre five stars out of five, making it the single best-performing altnet we've looked at to date.
It's hard to score Lit Fibre. Because in some ways it's a three-star broadband provider and a five-star broadband provider stapled together. It offers a great router, fast symmetrical service and aggressive (good) pricing. And its customer service record is enviable even by its altnet contemporaries.
However, it doesn't offer flexible contracts, any means to have a phone line, or speeds above 900Mbps, where many other altnets offer some or all of those options. We're also not fond of the naming convention of its 900Mbps service – the Lit 1000. We feel that's a little misleading.
On balance then Lit Fibre is clearly a very good provider – one, importantly, loved by its customers. Because although we are picking nits – that's our job – its sins are no worse than what practically any provider out there might be criticised for. We wholeheartedly recommend Lit Fibre to those who can get it.