Plusnet broadband vs TalkTalk broadband
By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, May 30th 2023
Choosing between London-based TalkTalk and BT-owned, South Yorkshire-based Plusnet is no easy task. Both providers offer competitively priced broadband packages, and a very similar range of speeds.
Plusnet has always had a strong reputation when it comes to customer service, but TalkTalk has improved in this area in recent years too. We’ve taken a detailed look at the latest broadband offerings from both providers to help you decide which is the right fit for you.
In terms of download speeds, because both Plusnet and TalkTalk use the Openreach network, they offer near-identical speeds, from standard broadband (for customers who cannot get fibre), to superfast fibre, and ultrafast, full fibre speeds up to 900Mbps for customers who live in a full fibre area.
Plusnet’s superfast fibre speeds are advertised as up to 36Mbps and up to 66Mbps. It also offers a choice of four pure fibre speeds – only available in areas where Openreach has rolled out its pure fibre cables. These are 74Mbps, 145Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps.
Due to an Ofcom ruling on advertising broadband speeds, all providers must now only advertise speeds that are available to over 50 per cent of customers for each of its packages, giving a more accurate impression of what is actually being offered. However, with full fibre packages, the technology is so much more reliable that you are likely to not just get the speed advertised, but often something even faster.
TalkTalk offers two superfast fibre speeds averaging 38Mbps and 67Mbps – fractionally faster than the comparable speeds of Plusnet – as well as four full fibre speeds of 65Mbps, 150Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps. TalkTalk predicts that all its full fibre speeds are actually likely to be even faster than advertised. As with Plusnet, and most other providers, TalkTalk now only offers its slowest speed of 11Mbps (standard broadband) to customers that are unable to get any kind of fibre connection at all.
Unsurprisingly, seeing as they operate over the same network of cables, there is nothing to choose between Plusnet and TalkTalk’s speeds, although TalkTalk’s superfast fibre speeds are advertised as being fractionally faster than those of Plusnet. To find out exactly what speeds you are likely to get from either Plusnet or TalkTalk, simply click on the links below and enter your postcode.
Deals and packages
Plusnet’s standard broadband package – for those who cannot get a fibre service – averages 11Mbps, comes with a pay-as-you-go phone line and does not have any upfront fees. The Unlimited Fibre packages come with two speed options of 36Mbps and 66Mbps and a pay-as-you-go phone line to which you can choose to bolt on calls packages such as evenings and weekends or anytime, if you wish.
Its four full fibre packages of 74Mbps, 145Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps are broadband-only and come without a phone line. There is no option to bolt on an internet calling plan, although you are free to purchase your own VoIP phone and use it to make calls via your internet connection. None of Plusnet’s packages carry a set-up fee.
TalkTalk offers its basic Fast Broadband service only to customers that cannot get fibre. It averages 11Mbps and and pay-as-you-go calls, and is the only one of TalkTalk’s packages to come with a small upfront fee. TalkTalk’s two superfast packages of 38Mbps and 67Mbps come on an 18-month contract and with pay-as-you-go calls as standard. Customers wanting to bolt on a calls package can choose from evenings and weekends or anytime calls, and an international calling plan is also available.
TalkTalk’s full fibre packages of 65Mbps, 150Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps are all broadband-only with no option for a phone line. They are also on an 18-month minimum term contract and have no upfront costs attached.
As with speed, there really is little to choose between the packages here, apart from the fact that TalkTalk’s contracts are all for 18 months against Plusnet’s 24-month requirement. The pricing is also generally on a par, with Plusnet and TalkTalk competing closely when it comes to value for money.
£95 Bill CreditM125 Fibre Broadband
- 132Mb average speed +
- Unlimited usage +
- No phone line
£29.00 per month(prices may change during contract)£95 Bill Credit£0 one-off cost18 month contractGet dealthis deal is anOnline exclusive
- £95 Bill Credit
- No 2024 Price Rise
£60 Gift CardSuperfast
- 61Mb average speed +
- Unlimited usage +
- PAYG calls
£28.00 per month(prices may change during contract)£60 Gift Card£5 one-off cost18 month contract
- £60 Gift Card
£100 Bill CreditM250 Fibre Broadband
- 264Mb average speed +
- Unlimited usage +
- No phone line
£33.00 per month(prices may change during contract)£100 Bill Credit£0 one-off cost18 month contractGet dealthis deal is anOnline exclusive
- £100 Bill Credit
- No 2024 Price Rise
Plusnet’s customer service is available seven days a week. The customer helpline call centre is UK-based, as is the responsive Live Chat service. Customers can also get in touch via social media on Facebook and @Plusnet on Twitter.
TalkTalk also offers a Live Chat service and has a customer phone line available from Monday to Saturday. In addition, it has a thriving online community forum available 24/7 where you can seek advice from other TalkTalk customers.
Plusnet has a reputation for excellent customer service, evident in the numerous awards and accolades it has received over the years. Most recently it won Uswitch Large Provider of the Year 2023 – an award chosen by the public. It also picked up Most Reliable Broadband Provider at the Choose Broadband awards, and Best Provider 2023 in the Broadband Genie annual awards.
However, in the latest report into customer service satisfaction by Ofcom, Plusnet didn’t fare as well as you might expect, with 79 per cent of customers satisfied with their service overall, against a sector average of 83 per cent. TalkTalk fared slightly worse with 78 per cent. The overall winner was BT with 88 per cent. Overall satisfaction with how complaints are handled sat at 43 per cent for both TalkTalk and Plusnet, with a sector average of 50 per cent, and BT also being the winner in this section with 55 percent.
When it came to complaints per 100,000 customers, TalkTalk fared worst, with 75 compared to Plusnet’s 56. Although both these figures represent a drop on the previous year’s numbers, both were also unfortunately above the sector average of 49.
Plusnet definitely wins in this area but it is far from top of the pile when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to Ofcom at least. You can read more about Plusnet in our Plusnet broadband review.
Router and equipment
Not a huge amount to differentiate between each provider here either. Both have made significant strides with their equipment recently and both now have routers that are up there with the best on offer.
All Plusnet packages, (bar the basic Unlimited Broadband which comes with the slightly older Hub One) come with the latest Hub Two router. This is essentially identical to BT’s dual band Smart Hub and comes with Smart Scan technology which, along with the seven antennas, ensures all your devices always receive the best wifi signal. It also has four gigabit ports for you to connect devices by cable to get the best speed possible.
TalkTalk provides two different routers, depending on the package you choose. For customers on a superfast fibre package, it supplies its Wi-Fi Hub, a very capable dual-band router, much like the Plusnet Hub Two, with seven antennas, smart channel selection and four gigabit Ethernet ports.
For customers taking a full fibre package, TalkTalk provides the Amazon eero router. This powerful, premium router is enabled with the latest WiFi 6 technology, meaning it can easily provide all your devices with the ultrafast speeds available. In addition, customers will be supplied with a second eero to create a mesh network, meaning no corner of your home should be a wifi blackspot.
Both Plusnet’s Hub Two and TalkTalk’s Wi-Fi Hub are solid and reliable pieces of tech that will get you and keep you online. However, TalkTalk clearly wins this section by offering the much-lauded Amazon eero to complement its full fibre packages.
With Plusnet, you’ll receive a security package called Plusnet Protect, powered by McAfee. Simply install the package on your computer and you’ll have all the anti-virus, anti-spam protection you’ll need from any rogue sites and junk email. It is compatible with Windows, Apple and Android devices and is free with all packages apart from, bizarrely, Unlimited Fibre 36Mbps. It only costs just an extra £2 per month however, so isn’t going to break the bank.
All Plusnet customers also get Plusnet Safeguard, Plusnet’s parental controls software that blocks all gambling, social media, adult and violent content to keep youngsters safe online. It also allows you to control browsing time too.
TalkTalk offers its own security package called HomeSafe Security. Included with all TalkTalk’s broadband plans at no extra cost, filtering your internet connection and protecting all your devices from suspicious and inappropriate content. It also has a neat time limit filter so you don’t have to haul the kids away from YouTube or Snapchat when there’s homework or chores to be done. In addition, TalkTalk offers Supersafe for an extra fiver a month; additional software developed by online security experts F-Secure that can be downloaded onto individual devices to provide a further layer of protection.
For customers looking to add a TV service to their broadband, TalkTalk offers its TV Hub. This neat little box comes with all the regular Freeview channels, along with access to both free and subscription apps (such as Netflix, NOW and Prime Video). It is wifi-enabled so there is no need for any cabling, and has Chromecast built-in, so you can cast your favourite shows straight from your phone to your TV should you wish.
Both providers offer solid security packages that will keep your home safe from online attacks and your children protected from seeing anything unsavoury online. Plusnet’s odd decision to not make the software free for all lets it down in this category however. Plus, the option to take a TV package with TalkTalk too puts it in the lead when it comes to extras.
There really is very little to choose between these providers. Both offer attractive, competitive packages across the board, with near identical pricing. Plusnet boasts about its numerous industry awards, but when you look at the results from Ofcom’s research, neither provider is outstanding when it comes to customer service. TalkTalk offers shorter contracts than Plusnet and offers the superior Amazon eero router with its full fibre packages. Plus, the option to bolt on a TV service for as little as a fiver a month for those who want it is the cherry on the cake for TalkTalk.