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Plusnet fibre broadband review 2017

Hannah Ricci
Tuesday, November 14th 2017

A reputation of good customer service sets Plusnet apart from the competition but how does its fibre optic service fare on all important speed and price?

Plusnet fibre broadband has both good and bad elements, including its controversial traffic management policy, so it's important to take a hard look at what you get for your money with the Yorkshire-based provider.

Cable.co.uk rating

Broadband Cable.co.uk
  • Overall
    3/5

Pros and cons

  • Low, flexible prices
  • 24/7 Customer service
  • Actual speeds close to advertised rates
  • Location-dependent price
  • Comprehensive traffic management
  • 18-month contracts

What we like

Reasonably priced packages

Plusnet has two fibre optic broadband plans, Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra, which can be upgraded with weekend and evening calls, Anytime or Anytime International calls. Prices are comparable with or cheaper than rival services.

You’ll also get free McAfee security software with Unlimited Fibre Extra plans, or free for three months then £2 per month with Unlimited Fibre.

Customer service available seven days a week

Plusnet offers free customer service to all its broadband customers seven days a week from 7.30am to 10pm. Its customer service helpline is based in the UK too.

Plusnet also does well in a number of consumer surveys including Which?. It has won several awards in different categories including best broadband provider and best customer service.

Actual speeds close to advertised rates

Fast advertised speeds look good on paper but what we really want to know is how the services fare in reality. Plusnet performed well in Ofcom’s latest round of speed tests, averaging between 30.1Mbps to 34.2Mbps on its up to 38Mbps service and 57.7Mbps to 60.5Mbps on the up to 76Mbps service.

Plusnet also outperformed all other providers on upload speed, averaging between 16.5Mbps and 17Mbps on the 76Mbps package. However, Plusnet is not the fastest provider around and is trumped by Virgin Media’s 200Mbps service.

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What we don’t like

Location-dependent price

Plusnet’s packages are priced ‘from’ because the UK is divided into different Ofcom market areas, and some customers end up having to pay more for their fibre broadband than others because of where they live. The 20% of customers who live outside the ‘low cost’ areas may have to pay up to double for their broadband service.

Therefore, if you can’t get the attractive advertised rates from Plusnet, it’s worth comparing fibre services from other providers for a more pocket-friendly alternative.

Traffic management

Traffic management is a controversial subject in the broadband industry and Plusnet sits firmly in the ‘pro’ camp, operating a comprehensive policy that it is very proud of. The goal of the policy is to ensure that customers’ activities on a single connection get enough bandwidth to work correctly.

While Plusnet’s traffic management seems to have had a thumbs-up from the online community – even its more tech-savvy customers – the fact remains that unlimited doesn’t really mean unlimited when some activities may slow down at peak times.

18-month contracts

If you don’t want to commit for more than a year, Plusnet’s 18-month contracts for fibre services might feel too restrictive. Plusnet is certainly not alone in this, but rivals Sky offer fibre broadband on 12-month contracts, while some providers even offers a shorter nine-month contract aimed at students.

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Conclusion

It’s easy to see why Plusnet is a popular broadband provider, with customers reporting excellent, friendly service and a positive experience of the service overall.

But while the actual speeds are pretty impressive, Plusnet is not the fastest widely available provider in the UK – an accolade that currently goes to Virgin Media and its 200Mbps service.

And then there’s traffic management and your personal view on this will determine whether you embrace Plusnet and its policy, or look elsewhere for a provider that doesn’t run any traffic controls at peak times.

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