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Author Topic: Diary of My Experiences with Lightning Fibre (FTTP local ISP) - Updated 26/05/21  (Read 317 times)

Ixel

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EDIT: Linked to PDF file of the scan of the generic letter hand delivered recently by Lightning Fibre. I would've attached it but it's too large to attach :D.

PDF Link: http://fr89.uk/files/lightningfibre.pdf

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This thread will serve as a diary for my experience in hopefully signing up to Lightning Fibre soon. I will update it every so often when I have something significant to mention. Some people on here might be curious about Lightning Fibre or just generally my overall experience. I already have FTTP, albeit via Openreach and I paid for this to be installed around 2-3 years ago I believe. I know I'm out of contract again, on native FTTP, so I know I'm definitely over two years of having the service. I got a reasonably low-end quote at the time, certainly compared to the average quotes I've seen people mention on some forums more recently.

Briefly, Lightning Fibre are a local altnet ISP which are rolling out gigabit symmetrical FTTP across where I live and a few nearby cities/towns. The ONT's they install are capable of 10Gbps, but for now they are rolling out up to 1Gbps with a future aspiration of offering more than that. They tend to dig their own trenches and build their own cabinets. They don't appear to share much of Openreach's infrastructure from what I understand, although I believe they will use Openreach's pole across the road to deliver FTTP to me.

Another nice thing about their service is that, according to their website, the first month is free (for home users only). This is to allow time to cease the previous connection, effectively avoiding paying for two ISP's in the same month.

More information can be found on their website at https://www.lightningfibre.co.uk/

I intend to go for the home 1,000 megabit package on the longest contract term offered (free installation).

On another note, Cityfibre are also busy rolling out their FTTP network here too. Plenty of roadworks going on thanks to all this :P.



25/05/2021 - 1pm:
Approximately 1-2 weeks ago I received a hand delivered letter from Lightning Fibre that stated they were about to do some necessary roadworks/streetworks to lay the fibre. The whole process is usually finished in a month or two and if I have any questions to phone or email them.

Well, I emailed them some months before I had this recent letter and they took approximately one working day to reply to my question regarding availibility of an IPv4 /29 block. Unfortunately they "done" (yes, that was a typo in their email I guess) offer this yet but the network director is currently looking into it. They also stated they would get back to me with a further update before the original ETA of me being able to signup. Originally the ETA for my street to be live was between December 2020 and June 2021, clearly it's going to likely be much sooner than that.

I've since emailed them again, twice, but sadly nearly two weeks have passed by without any response at all. This doesn't inspire me with much confidence on what my experience with customer service might be like if I was to become their customer. I could phone them but it's not an urgent matter, especially as I'm looking at possibly around two months before I can consider signing up.

I know I initially had a problem emailing them. The mailshot email that I had from their community engagement person said to reply with some information like my current ISP and/or questions. I did reply, but I later found out that they apparently never received my reply. I'm hoping this is just another situation where, for some reason, their email system is silently not allowing my messages to be received. If that's the case then I don't know why, my server isn't blacklisted, has a valid RDNS/PTR, a valid SPF and has DKIM configured. No other email address I've sent to so far has had such a problem.

In the meantime I've managed to workaround the additional IPv4 addresses problem by using AAISP's L2TP business service, which provides me with the number of additional IPv4 addresses that I need (a /29). Unfortunately the service is capped to 100Mbps but it's better than potentially having no additional IPv4 addresses at all. I don't generally use it for my NAT traffic, especially due to the speed cap considering that my current FTTP connection is on something like 1000/115.

AAISP have been super helpful (Andrew on their IRC), as usual, with assisting me to configure my Firebrick to accommodate the additional IPv4 addresses without my NAT traffic also going through the L2TP. The only time the NAT traffic will go through the L2TP is if my PPPoE connection to Cerberus Networks (my current ISP) is down, in which case it will go through the USB mobile dongle that's connected to the Voxi network.

I'll also scan in the letter I received, the one I mentioned earlier in this post, later today and attach it for those curious.



26/05/2021 10am:
I've had a reply on my other email, after trying to email them from my gmail instead. Long story short, they say they won't know for at least a few more months as to whether they can offer additional IPv4 addresses to customers. They will update me as soon as they have more details. On another note, it appears as if the reply was written in a little bit of a hurry. Some shorthand usage and typos were present, e.g. 'tho' instead of 'though', but as long as the service itself is good and if and when a repair needs doing it'll get done then that's what I'm mainly interested in! :)

I probably won't be able to provide any further updates for the next few weeks now (or perhaps 2-3 months), as I need to wait until the necessary works are done so that I can begin to signup. They also mentioned in the reply that it could easily be until August before I can signup.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 10:04:04 AM by Ixel »
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meritez

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Quote
Lightning Fibre is a brand new broadband network for East Sussex
We are a cutting edge, community minded full fibre network operator and ISP based in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Unlike a ‘fibre’ network, which may include old copper wire, we’re undertaking a major infrastructure upgrade in Eastbourne, Hastings, Hailsham and Heathfield to lay a brand new ‘full fibre’ broadband network that will eventually reach almost every home and business in these towns.

I'm curious, but I doubt they'll build to Junction 15 of the M1
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kjw

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Who would have thought Hastings/Eastbourne would eventually have access to 3 fibre networks! Crazy :)

What makes you want to leave your OR FTTP behind?
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Ixel

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Who would have thought Hastings/Eastbourne would eventually have access to 3 fibre networks! Crazy :)

What makes you want to leave your OR FTTP behind?

Indeed.

Higher monthly cost and a lack of symmetrical speed, those are mainly the reasons for considering moving. While I don't have the exact price to hand, I'm paying Cerberus somewhere near £150 per month for Cerberus FTTP Ultra2 with a block of IPv4 /29. Even with just AAISP's L2TP service providing the /29 and Lightning Fibre's top home plan on a long contract, it's considerably less cost per month and for a symmetrical gigabit speed too. Even allowing for upkeep of a 4G backup connection, it's still cheaper than sticking with Openreach's FTTP.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2021, 04:07:37 PM by Ixel »
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kjw

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Ouch! Is that an FTTPoD line or are they really that expensive?!

Obviously the symmetrical part has OR beat, but someone like Zen could probably supply a block of IPS on the 1000/110 package for a lot less.

I wonder how many of these ALT's will still be around when the dust settles, new ones are popping up every day and at some point all that investment will need paying back :)
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ZEN 900/100 via pfSense | Unifi AC-HD WiFi
Speedtest | BQM Graph

Ixel

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Ouch! Is that an FTTPoD line or are they really that expensive?!

Obviously the symmetrical part has OR beat, but someone like Zen could probably supply a block of IPS on the 1000/110 package for a lot less.

I wonder how many of these ALT's will still be around when the dust settles, new ones are popping up every day and at some point all that investment will need paying back :)

It was an FTTPoD line, this is native FTTP now and yes going through Cerberus (they go via BT Wholesale, which as I understand it isn't cheap) and paying a small fee per month for the extra IPv4 addresses does work out to near that per month. I used to be with Zen a long time ago but due to some bad experiences (around single threaded download speed issues) I now avoid them. I had to leave them a negative Trustpilot review at the time, which got someone's attention and they released me from my contract early as well as refunding me, after which I updated the review to mention this. So while I didn't leave Zen on a bad note, I'm hesitant to consider them again.

Regarding the alts, indeed, who knows how many will survive in the long term.
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