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Fuel vs Plusnet broadband

Thursday, July 27th 2017

Fuel Broadband is closing and migrating all its customers to Post Office Broadband by 1st August 2017

Both providers offer competitive prices, unlimited downloads and similar extras. Only Plusnet has access to the fibre optic network, but does that mean it shines brighter in practice? We pit them against one another on every aspect of their service.

At a glance

Download speed 17Mb
up to
76Mbps
up to
Upload speed 1Mbps
up to
19Mbps
up to
Usage options Unlimited Unlimited
Fair usage policy
Traffic management
Static IP Optional
Minimum contract 12 months 12 months
Public wi-fi
Prices from £17.60 per month £19.99 per month
  Compare deals → Compare deals →
Fuel Broadband
Download speed
Up to 17Mb
Upload speed
Up to 1Mbps
Usage options
20GB, unlimited
Fair usage policy
Yes
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
12 months
Public wi-fi
No
Prices from
£17.60 per month
Plusnet
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Usage options
Unlimited
Fair usage policy
No
Traffic management
Yes
Static IP
Optional
Minimum contract
12 months
Public wi-fi
No
Prices from
£19.99 per month

Fuel and Plusnet are both pitched at the lower end of the broadband market, offering packages that cost from as little as a few pounds. Even so, it’s worth having a look at them in a bit more detail if you’re trying to choose one over the other.

Speed

Fuel

Fuel’s basic unlimited broadband package has an advertised download speed of up to 17Mb. This is fairly average for standard broadband, but as with all broadband, the actual speed may well be different once it reaches your property – you can check by running a speed test.

Fuel does not offer a fibre optic package, so if speed is your thing, you might want to look elsewhere.

Plusnet

Plusnet’s basic unlimited broadband package has an advertised download speed of up to 17Mb. Step up to the premium package – Unlimited Fibre Extra broadband – and that advertised speed increases to up to 76Mb. In Ofcom’s recent research into download speeds, Plusnet’s 76Mb package achieved an average speed of 56Mbps.

Package comparison

Fuel

Fuel currently has only one broadband package, and that consists of 17Mb broadband with pay-as-you-go calls. This can be upgraded to include anytime calls for an additional £3 per month. Fuel does not offer broadband-only deals.

Plusnet

Plusnet may be the more expensive of the two, but it still has a bunch of affordable packages. Plusnet’s cheapest package is its Unlimited Broadband up to 17Mb deal. Best of all, Plusnet’s broadband and fibre packages are all unlimited, so you’ll never be charged for excess use, nor is there any traffic management.

Customer service

Fuel

Fuel is a relative newcomer but even in its previous guise as Primus Saver it didn't pick up any customer service awards. In fact, a look at online customer reviews suggests its service may be slipping but it does have UK-based call centres, which many consumers consider a major advantage.

Plusnet

Top speeds and unlimited downloads mean little if you can’t get help when you need it, so customer service is always a key consideration. Industry awards are a good indication and Plusnet has bagged many over the years, including Best Broadband Provider from Which?. Like Fuel, its customer service is UK-based.

Technology and equipment

Fuel

Fuel supplies its customers with the Technicolor 582n for free (though you have to pay for delivery). The router has four 10/100 Ethernet ports on the reverse, capable of supporting internet connections of up to 100Mbps, which seems slightly superfluous as its broadband is only up to 17Mb, but at least there’s some room for development.

Plusnet

Plusnet’s standard broadband packages come with the Plusnet Hub Zero, which uses single band technology. Again, you have to pay a small charge for delivery.

You get a different router with Plusnet’s fibre services, the Plusnet Hub One, which can comfortably support several devices (laptops, smartphones and tablets) connected to it. It's a dual band router (2.4GHz and 5GHz) offering faster speed and less interference.

Extra features

Fuel

Fuel customers get free technical support but, other than that, Fuel offers nothing in the way of extras - it's very much a barebones affair.

Plusnet

Plusnet offers free McAfee security to its Unlimited broadband and Unlimited Fibre Extra package customers, while Unlimited Fibre customers get it free for three months and just £2 per month thereafter. All Plusnet customers also get free technical support from UK-based customer service teams.

Conclusion

Fuel

Fuel has only one package available at the moment and we expect more to become available in the future. It offers a standard service at a budget price, with very few extras. If you are looking for one of the cheapest broadband deals on the market, then this is a good place to start.

Compare Fuel Broadband deals →

Plusnet

Plusnet strides ahead of Fuel Broadband when it comes to speed, coverage and customer service, so it does take the honours when compared directly with Fuel.

Compare Plusnet deals →

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