Is Plusnet broadband any good?

plusnet logo

Plusnet sell themselves as customer service superheroes with super low prices.

Do those claims stack up? We've taken an in-depth look at the BT-owned provider to find out.

Click through or read on for more on:

Plusnet prices

Let's start with those low prices. Here are the main Plusnet deals:

Package Speed Usage Price
plusnet Essentials + Talk Weekends Up to 16Mb 10GB £14.50 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Unlimited + Talk Weekends Up to 16Mb Unlimited £14.50 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Essentials Fibre + Talk Weekends Up to 38Mb 40GB £14.50 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Unlimited Fibre + Talk Weekends Up to 76Mb Unlimited £14.50 Visit Plusnet

The deals above include Plusnet's line rental but they're also available, for a little more, with any other line rental provider, some of which are cheaper.

Package Speed Usage Price
plusnet Essentials Up to 16Mb 10GB £8.49 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Unlimited Up to 16Mb Unlimited £12.49 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Essentials Fibre Up to 38Mb 40GB £18.49 Visit Plusnet
plusnet Unlimited Fibre Up to 76Mb Unlimited £22.49 Visit Plusnet

For more details and pricing of options including Anytime call plans, search Plusnet's deals here.

special offer

It's also worth noting that Plusnet are currently offering the following limited time special offers:

12 months Essentials broadband from £1.99 a month
ends 6 May 2014
Sign up for Plusnet Essentials broadband and phone here for this offer.
12 months Unlimited broadband from £3.25 a month
ends 6 May 2014
Sign up for Plusnet Unlimited broadband and phone here for this offer.

The UK's cheapest broadband?

Plusnet used to proudly wear the 'UK's cheapest broadband' crown, largely because of the Essentials package's 10GB download limit.

Now, at least one provider undercuts Plusnet, though only by pennies. Here are the UK's current top three cheapest deals:

Package Broadband Price Line Rental Total Cost Initial Cost
primus Saver 20GB usage £1.20 £13.99 £15.19 Free Visit Primus
plusnet Essentials + Talk Weekends Up to 16Mb
10GB usage
£1.99
for 12 mths,
then £5.99
£14.50 £14.50
for 12 mths,
then £20.49
Free Visit Plusnet
ee Unlimited Broadband + Weekend calls (mobile customer) Up to 17Mb
Unlimited
£2
for 12 mths,
then £6
£15.40 £15.40
for 12 mths,
then £21.40
Free Visit EE

Plusnet fibre deals are also pretty competitive on price.

Essentials fibre is currently cheaper than BT Infinity, despite the fact that both are providing more or less the same service:

Speed Usage Price Line rental Total
virgin media Up to 50Mb Unlimited £7.50
for 6 mths,
then £15.50
£15.99 £23.49
for 6 mths,
then £31.49
Visit Virgin Media
plusnet Up to 38Mb 40GB £15.99 £14.50 £30.49 Visit Plusnet
bt Up to 38Mb 20GB £10
for 6 mths,
then £15
£15.99 £25.99
for 6 mths,
then £30.99
Visit BT

When it comes to unlimited downloads with fibre service, however, Virgin Media actually just beats Plusnet to the post, but they're still cheaper than the same deal from BT:

Speed Usage Price Line rental Total
virgin media Up to 100Mb Unlimited £12.50
for 6 mths,
then £20.50
£15.99 £28.49
for 6 mths,
then £36.49
Visit Virgin Media
plusnet Up to 76Mb Unlimited £19.99 £14.50 £34.49 Visit Plusnet
bt Up to 76Mb Unlimited £20
for 3 mths,
then £26
£15.99 £35.99
for 3 mths,
then £41.99
Visit BT

Check our packages by cost table for more options.

All in all, Plusnet are still one of the cheapest ISPs out there, though no longer always the cheapest.

Geographical pricing

Note that, historically, Plusnet kept prices low by only passing the biggest discounts on to those in market 3 exchanges, the most competitive areas and the cheapest to supply.

However, as of July 2012, Plusnet's cheapest deals are now available in both market 2 and 3 exchanges which means that their cheap prices are just as widely available as other providers'.

No phone? Expect fees

As you can see above, in the main Plusnet's cheap prices tend to depend on taking their line rental.

In addition, connection is only completely free when customers take home phone. Without Plusnet home phone there's a £25 setup fee.

Like most other ISPs, then, it pays to take home phone.

There's a choice of three Plusnet call plans: inclusive Weekends, free with line rental, inclusive Anytime for £5 extra a month, and inclusive Anytime with international minutes for £7 extra.

All offer a basic voicemail package and free anytime calls to other Plusnet phone customers.

At the time of writing, calls outside of inclusive time were comparable to BT charges, though 0845 and 0870 numbers count as UK landlines within inclusive periods, which is a nice extra.

Extra features - like caller ID and a more advanced voicemail service - cost from 99p to £4 (most are around £2.50).

Customer service superheroes?

Finally, Plusnet's reputation for customer service has, for a long time, beaten that of most of the larger providers.

They've made it their focus by providing:

The provider's own polls and independent surveys show high levels of customer satisfaction when compared with the big providers and they rank in our top 5 for customer service.

However, as the provider has grown larger and particularly in 2013 we've started, perhaps inevitably, to hear more complaints regarding the quality of the support on offer.

In early 2014, we reported that Plusnet customers had been experiencing long wait times to get through to customer services, a problem Plusnet tell us they have now resolved by opening a second call centre.

For the time being, however, while Plusnet's reputation for service is still pretty good we think heroes might be pushing it.

Although Plusnet prices and their broadband, see below, make them a good provider in many ways, there are now better providers out there for service.

The nitty gritty: broadband

Finally, let's get into the details: broadband speeds, usage limits and contracts.

Plusnet speeds

Plusnet's standard deals are advertised as up to 16Mb. According to Ofcom's most recent research released in April 2014 actual averages are:

24-hour average Peak (8-10pm weekdays)
Up to 16Mb 8.3Mb to 10.5Mb 8.2Mb to 10.4Mb

The last Ofcom report, in March 2013, revealed that Plusnet had become the UK's fastest provider for up to 16Mb.

Plusnet fibre broadband is counted with BT in the Ofcom figures, those averages are:

24-hour average Peak (8-10pm weekdays)
Up to 38Mb 31.4Mb to 34.2Mb 31Mb to 33.9Mb
Up to 76Mb 61.6Mb to 68Mb 60.8Mb to 67.2Mb

Plusnet are one of our top four for fibre broadband in the UK.

More on traffic management

Plusnet are unusual in that they take considerable effort to explain their traffic management system so it's worth mentioning here.

All traffic management aims to keep speeds up by prioritising the activities, such as browsing web pages, that you need to keep running fast as you go about your day-to-day online business and slowing others, like downloading files.

There's also a limiting system which restricts certain activities - such as P2P file sharing and streaming - at peak times.

All in all, these restrictions are likely to result in generally more consistent speeds. Traffic is managed as follows:

This is worth knowing about especially if you're looking at fibre: often when we say we want fast broadband, actually we want something more like broadband that doesn't stall.

And that's what Plusnet are going out of their way to try to offer here.

Usage allowances

Plusnet users pay based on monthly usage allowances as follows:

See our usage limit checklist for more on what 10GB and 40GB actually mean in terms of day to day internet use.

As an added bonus for customers on limited usage with Essentials, Plusnet's service is completely unlimited between the hours of midnight and 8am. During this time, internet use won't count towards the monthly total which is good to fall back on.

Plusnet have only recently moved to offering an 'unlimited' package, read more on this in our news coverage of the update here.

Flexible contracts

Plusnet offer a no contract option with a minimum term of 30 days on their standard broadband (e.g. not fibre) for a £25 setup charge.

That means take broadband and home phone without a contract and setup is £25, broadband without home phone and without a contract will cost £50 to setup.

While contracts at least a year long are standard practice in the broadband world, Plusnet's opt out does mean that you can leave at any time with 30 days notice and no penalties.

This might be useful, for example, for student house shares. We've looked at these savings, as well as other short term packages, in our student broadband guide here.

All in all: the best Plusnet deal

All in all, Plusnet broadband deals have a number of unique features - from unlimited off-peak downloads, to a unique traffic management policy - which have seen them slowly garner customers over the years and keep them, even in spite of some rough months in terms of service.

They're also one of the UK's cheapest ISPs.

However, it's well worth taking the time to choose the best deal based on usage, find more help here, and don't forget to keep an eye out for Plusnet's special offers, which are frequently changed.

Comments

1
11 October 2013
J1 Phantom

I'm moving out soon and thinking of going for their Fibre Unlimited. What with all the gaming and streaming that I do it seems like the best option for me.

2
24 September 2013
Mark

I made the dreadful mistake of choosing Plusnet to supply us - they have been absolutely useless beyond belief. Our phone and broadband was booked in for 1st August and we currently have neither working and don't even have an engineer coming for another 4 days... that's over 8 weeks since the installation date!! Can you imagine 8 weeks without phone or internet?! Every time you phone them (because they never phone you) it's excuses and never so much as an apology for the massive inconvenience caused. They really have perfected the "couldn't care less" attitude. The last attempt to book an engineer resulted in me wasting 5 hours of my weekend sat waiting for an engineer who didn't turn up - it turned out Plusnet hadn't actually booked the appointment properly despite 2 phone calls and an email to confirm it was booked. They then emailed to say they would "be in touch as soon as they can" - I heard nothing again for 3 days and have had to phone to chase them again. Their service is non-existent and I can honestly say they are the worst company I have ever EVER had to deal with. I cannot recommend strongly enough they you do not touch these people with a barge pole. Not even someone else's barge pole.

3
21 September 2013
Alan Thorburn

BT gives me BT Sport 1 & 2, FREE !

4
16 June 2013
Andy Swain

I've been with Force9, which is now Plusnet, since the modem age of 240bps, which is nearly 14 years now. To date I've not had a problem, well if I had would I still be here after this length of time? There was a small hiccup when they moved to the BT backbone but every problem that has ever arisen has always been sorted. I must admit the support does seem to have lost its personal touch from the days of Force9. I can remember the middle of the night I had a problem and the guy stopped on the phone for well over 30 minutes until we got it sorted. So all I can give them is praise. I admit I'm still on a very old package, I bet its possibly 4-5 years old as the off peak runs from 12midnight to 4pm the following afternoon, which is the only reason I have not switched to fibre optic as yet. And the fact that I've been with them so long I get a fair discount on my broadband package. So yes Plusnet has been kind and has a great history as far as I am concerned, and would recommend them to anyone. Andy.

5
5 April 2013
paul

The wireless is terrible and I only get 0.245Mb pathetic. I have had 2 routers, was told by one of the engineers that the person that sent these should have known that was not the problem. Wonder if they actually read the history and look at what I have already done half a dozen times. Unplug, fit new filter, try ethernet cable, changing channels etc. give it a break and do your job. Have now had an Openreach engineer apparently fix a fault on the line. The support team also say, it could take up to 10 days for the broadband to stabilise. Pity they did not have the manners to contact me. Amazing how the money keeps coming out the bank, but no service in return. Please do not be fooled by their cheap prices.

6
3 March 2013
Ben

Still waiting, considering cancelling. I started trying to buy broadband from Plusnet in December 2012 it is now March 2013 and I'm considering whether I ought to bother booking another half day from work for a second attempt at line fitting or cancel.

To be fair the line connection errors have been Openreach so Plusnet haven't had a chance to mess up their provision yet but having read what others have to say I am now apprehensive.

Also after signing up they cancelled and remade my order when I rang to investigate/complain I became aware that even though I'd called the same number as before I was being presented with a different menu and much longer wait time. I hung up, went in to settings on my phone and withheld my number and called back... I got the original menu also answered in less than a minute. That's right, once they have your money they save your number and divert you to a lower priority service that regularly interrupts the music (usually Reverend & The Makers - Heavyweight Champion Of The World) to tell you in a friendly northern accent how much they "value your custom" and how "sorry they are to keep you waiting"... freeing up more of their staff to sign up more people and create a bigger backlog of unhappy customers for their poor complaints staff to deal with.

I have found all staff to be very friendly and helpful but they seem to be the interface for a woefully lacking system. They have offered me a 50% refund on line installation but they are simply passing that on from Openreach.

7
1 February 2012
Matt

I've been with Plusnet for around 6 months on DSL, and have recently decided to upgrade to fibre with them. So far the line, service and support from them has been excellent. Reading some of the other comments here it's obvious that they aren't providing a perfect service for everyone. But just from personal experience I'd highly recommend them.

8
23 January 2012
tony

I've been with Plusnet for nine months now, they charge you for calls you don't make and the speed varies throughout the evenings. Uploading is a joke!

BT all the way, I shouldn't of ever changed, can't wait till my twelve months are over.

9
28 November 2011
Barrie Nott

I gave Plusnet 2 weeks notice regarding moving house, requesting they transfer their service to my new house. The phone worked on the right day, but no broadband as they had not put the order in to their supplier. There would be a delay of 7-10 days. The supplier's website was down so there was another delay over a weekend. The order has now been put in - another delay of 7-10 days. An hour ago the telephone went dead. Draw your own conclusions.

10
24 November 2011
Richard

I had Plusnet for 2 years before moving in Dec 2010 due to the end of a tenancy. Plusnet agreed to move the service to my new property for free but said they would charge if I moved again.

I had no option but to agree as I was moving to a property for 6 months to do up and sell. When I sold the property and moved again Plusnet charged me the £65 moving fee and cessation. With these costs included they are not cheap.

11
2 November 2011
Mike

I joined Plusnet (Metronet) in 2005. For six and a half years, I have been mostly happy with the Yorkshire guys on service and friendly/efficient support.

But two problems - VoIP (Skype) up to 2 seconds transmission delay a few years ago - I blamed this on their BT ownership and told Skype this many times. Eventually Skype sorted this problem with Plusnet and my Skype calls are now mostly OK.

My current problem is still not sorted out though. After Plusnet 'reminded' me about their Pro service for £5 per month extra, news videos (eg. smh.com.au) and websites with high image content (eg johnlewis.com) suddenly became impossible to enjoy. Videos keep pausing because the streaming is too slow and website pages with several images can take a couple of minutes to refresh. I am finally looking for a new ISP that will provide me with acceptable bandwidth, even if the monthly charge is higher than Plusnet's £6.49p.

12
19 October 2011
sinead

I'm with Plusnet and my home landline has a credit limit of £55 (don't know why, I didn't ask for this) but when I reach this my outgoing calls are cut off and I am forced to pay a minimum of £9 to be reconnected only to then be asked to put credit on for the rest of the month in order to use my phone (like a mobile). This would be ok but this money does not come off my existing bill so, in essence, I am paying for those calls twice and all because they have imposed a credit limit on my calls monthly.

13
29 July 2011
Jason Clark

Plusnet's service started out alright but then on evenings it got slower and slower to the point of freezing, then dropping our connection all the time. They blame BT's local exchange and keep giving us updates but nothing has changed. The Isle of Dogs area hasn't sprung up overnight and stretched their capacity but they just don't care and there's no compensation.

14
14 July 2011
Lorna Clark

I can honestly say their service is pretty good but please do not get trapped into a business contract with them. They keep on changing the dates you can leave and every time you get to the date they said you can cancel your contract, they move the goalpost. I am seriously thinking of just paying the £126 I owe them to make sure that they can't do it again. I really want out but can never seem to do it.

15
4 July 2011
Kayley

If you read on their T&C page, there is a £30 'cessation fee'. A bit naughty if like me, you are interested in NOT having a 12 month contract to tie you down (especially in case the service is not good).

4 July 2011
Choose team

The £30 'cessation charge' (£25 if you signed up before 15th April 2010) is levied only if customers require a full line stop. In the vast majority of cases when you leave you'll request a MAC code to sign up with another provider in which case there's no cessation charge.

Like most broadband providers, Plusnet charge you for the remainder of your 12 months contract if you leave before those 12 months are up. After the first 12 months, Plusnet customers are put on a rolling 30-day contract.

Unlike most broadband providers, new Plusnet customers can choose the 30-day contract option on sign up but that means there'll be a £25 activation charge and no free router.

Hope this helps.

16
21 June 2011
Laura

I've had a really good experience with Plusnet so far. I've been with them for a year and have never had any problems, their customer service advisors are really friendly and efficient and I have absolutely no reason to complain! (The price really helps, too!)

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