After a few months of trials, the full product launch for the fibre products by Karoo has taken place, though roll-out across the Hull and East Yorkshire area continues, so if you live in the area do check availability before getting too excited.
Karoo is launching a mixture of fibre to the premises (FTTP) and fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) under the collective name of Lightstream. The FTTP products will run at 100 Mbps initially, but are easily upgradeable to support 1 Gbps in the future, the FTTC product will connect at a maximum of 80 Mbps with the exact speed varying according to the distance from the home to the street cabinet.
Lightstream Lighstream Home Xtra is the premium product that offers 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upload for £48 per month, current offer gives free connection and the first month free on an 18 month contract. Usage allowance is 600GB a month and includes free calls to UK telephones and 180 minutes of calls to mobile phones as part of the bundle. KC Lightstream Home is their basic bundle, and offers 45 Mbps download speed with a 2 Mbps upload speed, the usage allowance is smaller at 50GB. The basic package is £35 a month, and the same free connection, first free month and 18 month contract.
The product comparisons with BT Infinity are interesting, as is the claim 'no slow down no matter how many of you are online'. The comparisons are a little selective as it only compares Lightstream with BT Infinity 40 Mbps services, when they have a similar 100 Mbps available in some areas too. There is no explanation for the no slow down comments, many will read that line and take it to mean that they will get line speed for downloads always while within their usage allowance. A tough challenge, a tough challenge for any provider to make at this sort of price point.
Compared to the pricing that BT Retail is using for its Infinity products, Karoo Lightstream is more expensive, but their ADSL2+ products are not as cheap as the rest of the UK. ADSL2+ with 50GB allowance is £25.54 per month. The premium for switching to a fibre solution is around £10 a month, the same as TalkTalk charges for its fibre boost.
One thing we are sure of is that while the products are clearly using light via fibre optic cable as a transmission medium, it is that light does not travel down a fibre optic cable at 186,000 miles per second, the refractive index of the medium needs to be taken into account, only in a vacuum does light hit the stated speed.