Plusnet broadband review 2015
Plusnet offers both fibre and standard broadband packages – many of which are unlimited – and boasts some of the fastest upload speeds of any mainstream provider. The company plays on its Yorkshire roots as a friendly internet provider, with free 24-hour customer service, as well as free installation of all its broadband and phone bundles.
But it’s not all positive. The unusual pricing structure means people in rural areas will generally pay more for broadband than those in urban locations – not a great move for a company that prides itself on its rural Yorkshire persona...
In this guide...
Our review of Plusnet broadband
Is Plusnet broadband any good?
Plusnet's home broadband packages are unlimited, activation won’t cost you a penny (unless you choose broadband-only), and its customer service helpline is open all day, every day.
On the downside, Plusnet's broadband-only packages require line rental, there’s a strict traffic management system, and the price you pay will often be higher in rural areas of the UK.
- Home broadband plans are unlimited
- Fastest UK upload speeds
- Free activation for broadband and phone
- Customer service is 24/7
- A line rental saver is available
- Price depends on location
- Traffic management applies
- Broadband-only plans need line rental
- Broadband-only plans need activation fee
- Charges apply for house moves
What we like
All home broadband plans are unlimited
Plusnet home broadband is unlimited. This means there are no restrictions to how often you can browse the internet. If you want to spend all day in bed, streaming videos and films, you can – Plusnet won’t impose any charges for heavy internet use. Unfortunately, while it won’t cost you extra, it’s not ’truly’ unlimited, and a traffic management policy does apply.
Fastest UK upload speeds
Your upload speed determines how quickly you can send photos, videos and other files from your computer to the web. For some users, such as film and music creators, getting a good upload speed is vital. Thankfully, Plusnet offers one of the fastest average upload speeds of any mainstream UK broadband provider (as determined by Ofcom). You have to choose fibre optic broadband to get these high upload speeds.
Free activation with broadband and phone
Your internet is activated for free when you take a phone plan with Plusnet broadband. The standard price for activation is £25 with standard broadband, and £50 with fibre. You also receive a free broadband router, making the whole installation process a low-price affair.
Customer service is 24/7
Plusnet’s customer service helpline is based in the UK and is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Knowing you can call someone at any time of the day or night for help can be a great relief. It’s free too, and it’s included with all Plusnet broadband plans.
A line rental saver is available
Plusnet offers the option of a line rental saver to help save you money. This scheme lets you pay for 12 months' line rental upfront, at a reduced cost. It’s available to both new and existing customers. Once the 12 months are up, Plusnet will send you a gentle reminder that you can renew your line rental saver for a further 12 months, if you wish.
What we don't like
Price depends on location
Plusnet has a bit of an identity problem. It purports a strong rural image, but implements a low-cost/high-cost system that means many people in less-urbanised areas will have to pay more for broadband. It determines these areas by competition. People in areas with high competition (essentially towns and cities) will pay the advertised price for broadband. People in areas with low competition (villages and rural areas) have to pay more.
Traffic management applies
While Plusnet broadband is unlimited, it isn’t ‘truly’ unlimited due to its traffic management system. Unlike many traffic management policies, Plusnet doesn’t slow your broadband down at busy times of the day; instead, it slows down certain online activities. Activities given high priority include gaming, film streaming, and video chats. Low priority activities include peer-to-peer sharing and anything classed as ‘unidentified’ traffic. For no restrictions on your broadband, see truly unlimited broadband.
Broadband-only plans require line rental
If you don't use your landline, Plusnet’s broadband-only plans might seem like a good idea. However, these plans won’t save you any money – in fact, they're liable to cost you more. This is because you still have to pay line rental, and the monthly cost for the broadband itself is raised.
Activation fee required on broadband-only plans
Not only is broadband-only a more expensive option, you have to pay activation fees too. For standard broadband without a phone plan, you have to pay £25 activation. For fibre broadband without a phone plan, this doubles to £50. All in all, broadband-only from Plusnet isn’t a great choice, and is only worth considering if you currently have an exceptional call plan from another provider.
Charges apply for house moves
Moving home can be stressful, and Plusnet doesn’t make things any easier by charging you £65 to move your broadband from your old house to your new. This applies to all Plusnet's packages.
Can I get Plusnet broadband?
Whether you can get Plusnet depends on where you live. Standard broadband is more widely available than fibre. Most people will be able to get it. Fibre broadband is a different matter, as it’s only available to two-thirds of the UK. Find out if you can get Plusnet by entering your postcode below.
How fast is Plusnet broadband?
Plusnet’s top speed is 76Mbps. This matches Sky, TalkTalk, BT and several others. While its download speeds are standard, its upload speeds are, on average, faster than the competition.
Advertised broadband speeds are rarely the actual speeds you’ll receive at home – in general, you will get a slower service than the advertised "up to" speed. Here’s what you can expect:
Speeds of up to 76Mbps
|Download speeds||17Mbps – 76Mbps|
|Upload speeds||1Mbps – 19Mbps|
|Fair usage policy||No|
|Prices from||£2.50 per month|
|Optional line rental||£15.95 per month|
|Contract lengths||12-month to 18-month|
17Mbps – 76Mbps
1Mbps – 19Mbps
Fair usage policy
Optional line rental
£2.50 per month
£15.95 per month
12-month to 18-month
Download speed affects almost everything you do online. It determines how quickly you can take a file, like a music track or photo, from the internet and put it into your computer. It’s measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Plusnet’s top download speed is 76Mbps. However, Ofcom found that on average, Plusnet's 78Mb fibre reached 60.1Mbps.
Upload speed is the opposite of download speed. It determines how quickly you can put things onto the internet from your computer. This includes posting photos to Facebook, as well as streaming video and holding online voice chats. Like download speeds, it’s measured in Mbps. Plusnet’s top upload speed is 19Mbps. Ofcom found that it reaches 18Mbps on average.
Plusnet standard broadband
Plusnet’s standard broadband packages come in two types: broadband and phone, and broadband-only. Whichever option you go for, you’ll find that usage is unlimited. Availability is widespread too, so if you can’t get fibre broadband, you can probably get Plusnet’s standard options.
There are some downsides. Broadband-only packages require line rental and activation fees, and extras are thin on the ground for both options. Here’s everything you need to know about Plusnet standard broadband deals…
Standard broadband and phone deals
Free installation if you include a phone package
When you take Plusnet broadband with phone, the installation and activation are included for free. This will save you £25 on standard broadband, and you also get a free broadband router, although you have to pay for delivery.
There are several phone plans to choose from
Plusnet’s broadband and phone packages come with a basic call plan. For standard broadband, this is a weekend call plan, which gives you free calls on Saturday and Sunday. You can upgrade to a weekend and evenings call plan, which provides free calls on the weekend and between 7pm and 7am on weekdays, or to an anytime or international call plan.
Standard broadband-only deals
Broadband-only is the costlier option
Plusnet’s broadband-only plans cost more than its broadband and phone packages. On top of that you still have to pay line rental. This makes broadband-only a bit of a self-defeating choice, as you won’t be saving any money by choosing to avoid a phone plan.
All Plusnet broadband plans are unlimited
You’ll get unlimited usage no matter which broadband-only plan you choose. This means you won’t have to worry about being charged for going over a limit. While usage is unlimited in this respect, traffic management still applies. This means Plusnet will reduce the speeds available for some online activities to prioritise others, especially at busy times. The result is that you may find your broadband running slower than usual.
Plusnet fibre broadband
You can either take Plusnet’s fibre broadband with a phone plan, or by itself as a broadband-only deal. Download speeds are much faster than with standard broadband, and Plusnet’s fibre upload speeds are some of the fastest around.
But fibre isn’t cheap. In general, you’ll pay more for fibre than for standard broadband. Some areas still can’t get fibre optic broadband, so be sure to check before you buy. Here are Plusnet’s fibre broadband deals…
Fibre broadband and phone deals
Fibre broadband and phone comes on an 18-month contract
An 18-month contract is a fairly long commitment, so you need to be absolutely happy with your plan before settling. If you want to cancel early you’ll have to pay cancellation charges. These are will cost more if you’re early into your contract. Standard broadband from Plusnet comes on a shorter contract – 12 months – and may be a better option if you don’t fancy the idea of being tied in for a year and a half.
Installation and a router are included free
Installation and activation. which normally cost £50, are free when you purchase Plusnet fibre broadband with a phone plan. You also get a free broadband router (the box that gets you online). The box itself is free but delivery costs £5.99.
Fibre broadband-only deals
Line rental is required with broadband-only
Broadband-only is a bit of a contradiction in terms with Plusnet, as you have to pay for line rental, even if you don’t want to make calls. Plusnet’s broadband-only deals also cost significantly more than those with a phone plan. If you have an exceptional call plan from another provider, Plusnet’s broadband-only packages may be attractive.
You have to pay for installation
The obvious downside to Plusnet’s broadband-only packages is the £50 installation and activation payment. You have to pay this before you even start using the service
Fibre and standard broadband package reviews
Don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth Plusnet broadband reviews, so check them out if you need more information.
You need a broadband router to get online. The Plusnet Hub Zero wireless router is free with standard broadband and fibre. It has four ports for connecting your computer with cables, along with wi-fi for your smartphones, tablets, and consoles.
You’ll have to pay for delivery. And while the router works with fibre, it requires an attached modem to function. Here’s what you need to know…
Is it any good?
The wireless router is basic
It’s inferior to more modern routers, such as those from BT and Virgin Media. The wi-fi is single band only, which means more interference, and lower speeds. It has four ports for cabled connections. With fibre broadband, one of these will be taken up by the attached modem. On the positive, the Plusnet Hub Zero uses less energy than many competing routers.
The same router is supplied for both fibre and standard broadband
The same Technicolor TG582n wireless router comes with both standard and fibre optic broadband packages. Unfortunately, the Technicolor router isn’t made for fibre, and requires an external modem to work. This plugs into one of your router’s ports (the yellow ones on the back). As a result, it takes up one of your router’s connections, limiting the number of computers you can physically connect to three. If you need more you’ll have to purchase a third party router.
You get it free – with a small delivery charge
This costs £5.99, and is payable upfront along with the standard installation costs. It also comes with a free Microfilter. These attach to your home’s phone sockets to reduce interference and increase your broadband speed.
- Model: Sagemcom 2704N ADSL 2/2+
- Ethernet ports: 4 x 10/100 ports
- Power consumption (standard broadband): 3.8W
- Power consumption (fibre broadband): 3.4W
Plusnet business broadband
Plusnet has a range of broadband offers for small-sized and medium-sized businesses. Packages can be taken on one-month, 12-month, or 24-month contracts, and come with either with a phone plan or as broadband-only.
A static IP address can be added to any business package, as can a web domain. Some Plusnet business broadband packages have strict usage caps, and if you exceed them you could be charged extra. Here’s what’s available…
Business broadband and phone deals
Broadband and phone plans are flexible
Plusnet’s cheapest business broadband deals come with 24-month contracts. But that’s not your only choice. You can choose a 12-month contract or a rolling monthly plan. Just bear in mind that you’ll pay more for line rental on the shorter contracts. Line rental cost ranges from £10.50 on a 24-month to £14.50 on a rolling 30-day contract. The monthly broadband price is also higher on shorter contracts.
Several call plans are available
A pay-as-you-go landline call plan comes with your Plusnet business broadband package as standard. This is fine if you’re not all that interested in making calls. Business users who use the phone frequently can add the UK Anytime call plan, which gives free calls to UK landlines any day, any time. There are also international plans for those who will be making calls to destinations outside the UK.
A static IP address can be added to your plan
A static IP address is essential for some businesses and can be added for £5 per month. A static IP means your computer’s address remains constant, and if people or other computers want to connect they’ll know exactly where you are. One common reason for choosing a static IP is website hosting. Another is if you want to host a server.
Business broadband-only deals
Broadband-only contracts range from one month to 24 months
The standard broadband-only contract length is 24 months. This offers the cheapest line rental and the cheapest monthly cost. However, Plusnet also offers 12-month and 30-day alternatives if you don't want to be tied in for so long. This is gives you flexibility, but you will be charged more. Line rental jumps from £10.50 on the 24-month contract to £14.50 on the 30-day option. The monthly cost is also higher.
Unlimited overnight usage on capped plans
Some of Plusnet’s business broadband deals have capped usage, which means you can only use a certain amount of data within a month before you get charged extra. This is fine for many businesses, but for some it can pose difficulties. All Plusnet’s business broadband packages have unlimited overnight usage. This means you can queue up downloads to take place overnight (between midnight and 8am) to avoid eating into your monthly limit.
A free web domain is included
You need a web domain to start a website. Plusnet offers a free web domain (e.g.: www.yourcompany.co.uk) with its broadband to get you started. It also gives you unlimited email and 250MB of web space, both of which can be great assets for a burgeoning business.
Business broadband package reviews
Don't forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth Plusnet business broadband reviews, so you can check them out if you need more information.
Frequently asked questions
How do I switch to Plusnet?
Sign up online
Switching to Plusnet is a relatively straightforward process. Your first step is to work out what kind of Plusnet package you’d like. Plusnet has options for fibre broadband and standard broadband, and as they all come with unlimited usage, your main consideration will be price. You can sign up online with our comparison service. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be given your activation date and Plusnet will send you a free broadband router.
Cancel your current broadband service
Once your activation date approaches, it's time to cancel your old broadband package. It’s best to wait until this point to cancel, as if you leave your old provider as soon as you sign up with Plusnet you could be left without internet for several days. Call your previous provider to cancel. If Plusnet has asked for your MAC code, you can request this from your previous provider during the cancellation phone call.
Provide your MAC code and await installation
Once you’ve given Plusnet your MAC code, there’s nothing left to do but await installation. Eventually, your broadband router will be delivered. You can set this up yourself quite easily by plugging it into your master phone socket. If you receive microfilters (small white boxes with a short cable sticking out of one end), make sure you plug them into all your home’s phone sockets. As soon as your activation date arrives, your broadband connection should be live and you can start browsing the internet.
Need help choosing the right deal?
Speak to one of our experts on 0800 840 5395Call 0203 305 5292
We're here to help Monday to Sunday 8am-9pm
Does Plusnet offer fibre optic broadband?
It offers several fibre broadband packages
Plusnet has several fibre optic broadband packages. These are available to both home and business customers, though the details of the individual packages vary between the two. While Plusnet’s fibre broadband options provide much faster download and upload speeds than its standard broadband packages, it’s not as widely available, and some areas of the UK won’t be able to get fibre.
Plusnet doesn’t run its own fibre network. Instead, it relies on the network run by BT Openreach. This isn’t a bad thing – the Openreach fibre network is the biggest in the UK – but it does mean that it’s shared with other companies (including BT), and has to use the same fibre-to-the-cabinet technology. Fibre-to-the-cabinet (or FTTC) means that the fibre network runs to your nearest telecoms cabinet (a small green box that sits in your street) and then uses the existing copper telephone wires to enter your property. On the one hand, this is good. Your garden won’t be dug up for new cables. On the other, it’s bad, as you won’t reach the high speeds that some fibre broadband providers can offer through a pure fibre network.
What if I can't get fibre broadband?
If you can’t get fibre broadband from Plusnet, you can either choose standard broadband or switch to a different provider. For many, standard broadband will be sufficient. You can browse, download, stream films, and all the other things you could do with fibre. The only difference is the speed. Standard broadband is slower, and fewer people can be online at once.
Does Plusnet offer broadband without line rental?
Broadband-only packages require line rental
When you consider that you need to pay line rental, the ‘only’ in Plusnet’s broadband-only packages begins to look a little suspect. Line rental costs £15.95 per month and must be paid in addition to the standard monthly price of all Plusnet broadband-only packages. To reduce this cost, you can take Plusnet’s line rental saver option. This lets you pay for 12 months line rental upfront at a reduced cost.
Are there any hidden charges with Plusnet?
The monthly price differs by location
Plusnet operates an unusual pricing strategy. Plusnet categorises areas of the UK into two different zones: high cost, and low cost. Low cost heading have high competition. High cost zones have only one provider: BT. If you live in one of these areas, Plusnet will charge you more for your broadband.
You'll be charged for early cancellation
When you sign up for Plusnet home broadband you will have a contract of a set length. If you want to cancel while still within that contract, you’ll have to pay early cancellation and service cessation fees. The earlier you cancel, the more expensive these will be. The cessation fee remains constant however, at £30.
You'll be charged to stay with Plusnet when you move house
If you’re planning to take Plusnet broadband with you when you move home, you’ll have to pay. Plusnet charges a single fee of £65 for house moves. But that’s not all. If your new property needs a phone line, you’ll have to pay to get one installed. And if fibre broadband isn’t available in your new area, you’ll be bumped down to Plusnet’s standard broadband – without the option to cancel for free.
How good is Plusnet customer service?
Unfortunately, Ofcom doesn’t have any information regarding Plusnet’s customer service. Plusnet has won multiple awards for its customer service, but these have generally always been from within the telecoms industry, so they do not provide a clear picture of the quality of Plusnet’s customer service. See the comments below for the opinions of our readers.
What is Plusnet's customer service number?
Plusnet’s customer service number is 0800 432 0200. This is for customers on residential broadband. Business broadband customers should call 0800 028 0282. When you call, make sure you have your Plusnet username and password ready to speed up your enquiry.
What is the Plusnet traffic management policy?
Traffic management applies to all Plusnet broadband services. Unlike many traffic management systems, which slow you down at certain times of the day (such as at peak times, in the evening), Plusnet’s traffic management system slows down certain types of activity instead. As a result, most users won’t see a difference. This includes users who enjoy online gaming, film streaming, or simple browsing. All three are rated as high priority.
Some services are prioritised over others
|Browsing and email||High|
|Film and video streaming||High|
|Peer to peer/Usenet||Low|
Browsing and email
Film and video streaming
Peer to peer/Usenet
Peer to peer/Usenet
How can I save money with Plusnet?
Take out the line rental saver
This means you pay 12 months line rental upfront, at a reduced cost. While the initial payment is high it means your monthly bill will be less. This lump-sum payment costs £155.88. This equates to £12.99 per month, which is cheaper than the standard line rental cost (£15.95 per month). This initial payment is non-refundable.
Don’t choose broadband-only
Plusnet has two types of broadband bundle: one with a phone plan, and one without. The latter, broadband-only, costs more. There’s a fee for activation and the monthly cost is higher. Furthermore, you still have to pay line rental. This makes choosing broadband with a phone plan a far cheaper option.
Choose standard broadband over fibre
You can do everything online with standard broadband that you can do with fibre. This includes browsing, streaming video, and playing online games. Fibre broadband’s main benefit is the capacity for more users to be online at once. If there are only one or two regular internet users in your household, standard broadband will be both sufficient, and cheaper.
Pretend that you’re planning to cancel
You need to be out of contract to do this, but calling Plusnet to haggle can save you money. Rather than simply asking for a better deal, suggest that you’re planning to cancel. It’s likely (though not guaranteed) that you’ll be offered money-saving incentives to stay with Plusnet. To make the gamble more believable, have a list of comparative deals from other providers to which you can refer. You can find such deals here.
If you’re in a high-cost area, switch provider
Plusnet operates a high-cost/low-cost pricing strategy. It’s likely that you’re in a high-cost zone if you’re paying more than advertised. In this case, switching provider may reduce what you pay for broadband.
What kind of bundles can I get with Plusnet?
You can combine broadband with a call plan
When you buy broadband from Plusnet, you get a free call plan as standard. This is the basic bundle. You can upgrade by adding a more advanced call plan, such as an international option, or an anytime plan – but this will cost you more. There are no options for bundling with TV or mobile.
Plusnet bundles come with a handful of extras
All Plusnet broadband and phone bundles come with extra features. These little bonuses aren’t earth-shaking, but they can make a difference. Plusnet Protect is the first one. Powered by McAfee, it keeps your computer safe from viruses and spyware while you’re browsing online. Second is the Plusnet connection fixing tool, which helps you locate and correct any broadband connection issues. Finally, the Plusnet broadband router is included for free, apart from the postage and packaging.
Why do we need your postcode?
Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.
This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.
Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. Guaranteed.