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Plusnet unlimited fibre broadband review

Wednesday, November 4th 2015

Plusnet’s website may be plastered with pastoral landscapes, but with a download speed of up to 38Mbps, an unlimited usage limit and some of the fastest upload speeds in the UK, its unlimited fibre broadband package is as far removed from the sleepy idyll of Yorkshire as you can get.

So, should you switch to this Plusnet fibre broadband package, or should you steer clear? Here is everything you need to know to decide if Plusnet's package is right for you.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.8

The unlimited fibre broadband package is Plusnet's second-fastest broadband service, offering up to 38Mbps downloads. Negatives include the lack of extra features and the unusual pricing structure, which means that those in rural areas may have to pay more for broadband.

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Speed & usage

Rating

4

High download and upload speeds are the main reasons for choosing fibre broadband. Plusnet unlimited fibre broadband has an advertised download speed of up to 38Mbps – easily on a par with other providers using the BT Openreach infrastructure. As fast as this might be, it’s rare that you’ll ever get the advertised download speed at home.

Ofcom rates the average Plusnet broadband speeds you can expect to reach. Customers with this package found that their download speeds were, on average, between 32.3Mbps and 34.2Mbps – just short of the advertised optimum of up to 38Mbps. Peak speeds were somewhat slower.

Upload speed dictates the rate at which you can transfer files from your home computer or mobile device onto the web. Sharing videos and photographs on Facebook relies on your upload speed, for instance. This Plusnet broadband package has an advertised upload speed of up to 19.5Mbps. While far lower than the rate for downloads, it’s still one of the fastest upload speeds on the market.

Usage caps can put a dampener on your downloading, especially if the limits are strict. Broadband products without a usage cap are known as ‘unlimited’, and Plusnet’s unlimited fibre broadband package falls neatly into this category.

There is a small caveat to bear in mind. Traffic management applies to all Plusnet broadband packages. Traffic management slows the performance of certain activities across the broadband network in order to sustain a particular level of performance for all users. This often means that your download speeds will be slower during peak times.

Advertised download speed Up to 38Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) 32.3Mbps – 34.2Mbps
Average downloads (peak) 32.1Mbps – 34Mbps
Advertised upload speed Up to 1.9Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management Yes
Static IP Optional (only one allowed)
Minimum contract 18 months
Router Plusnet Hub One
Public wi-fi No
Prices from £24.99 per month
Info

Scroll horizontally for more information.

What you can do with it

Advertised

Actual

The ‘Actual’ speeds are those reported by Ofcom.

Call plan

Rating

2

Plusnet unlimited fibre broadband no longer features a call plan, but the advertised price does now include line rental. For an additional monthly cost you can add on various call plans. You can choose from Evenings and Weekends, Anytime or Anytime International 300.

If you don’t add a call plan, you’ll pay Plusnet’s standard call rates, which are 10p per minute to UK landlines starting 01, 02 and 03, and 13p per minute to UK mobiles. Call charges vary to all other numbers, including premium rate and international numbers. A call set up fee of 16p is applied to chargeable calls. Calls to other Plusnet phones numbers and customer services are always free.

Plusnet unlimited fibre is also available as ‘broadband-only.’ However, this is somewhat of a misnomer since the other service removed the previously inclusive phone plan, and line-rental is still included on both services anyway.

Extras

Rating

2

Extras may not be fundamental to the quality of your broadband connection, but they can often sweeten the deal if you’re undecided about choosing your broadband provider. Unfortunately, Plusnet’s broadband deals are light on additional features, with only two notable extras.

The first is that all of Plusnet’s award-winning customer service departments are located within the UK, and are on hand to help seven days a week from 7.30am to 10pm. This support can be a significant draw if Plusnet unlimited Fibre will be your first broadband package, as any set-up and maintenance troubles you have can be dealt with quickly over a phone call. If you have a Plusnet phone plan, all calls to customer support are free of charge.

Secondly, Plusnet provides anti-virus software with this broadband package. McAfee security – advertised as Plusnet Protect – comes free for three months and will defend your home computer against viruses, malware and spyware. After this introductory period ends, you'll be charged £2 per month for it.

The Plusnet unlimited fibre broadband package is cheaper when taken with a phone plan than it is when taken as broadband-only.

Plusnet operates an unusual pricing structure for its broadband products that is slightly at odds with its rural, countryside-friendly image. The provider separates areas into ‘low cost zones’ or ‘outside low cost zones’, determined by the amount of competition in that area. An area with high competition in the broadband sector, such as an urban conurbation, will be classed as a ‘low cost zone’. Areas with low competition, such as rural villages, are classed as ‘outside low cost zones’ and customers within these areas are expected to pay more for their broadband.

As a result of Plusnet’s pricing scheme, rural residents will often pay more per month for broadband than urban residents. This runs counter to the rural-friendly persona put forward in the provider's advertisements.

Line rental is included in the pricing of this package, and is inescapable, whether you take it with a phone plan or as broadband-only.

  • Broadband
    Max download speed17Mb
    Max upload speed1Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls12.50ppm
    Evening calls12.50ppm
    Weekend calls12.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£10
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £249.88

    £19.99
    per month
    includes line rental

  • Broadband
    Max download speed38Mb
    Max upload speed9.5Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls12.50ppm
    Evening calls12.50ppm
    Weekend calls12.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£25
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £324.88

    £24.99
    per month
    includes line rental

  • Broadband
    Max download speed38Mb
    Max upload speed9.5Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime callsInclusive
    Evening callsInclusive
    Weekend callsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£25
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £420.88

    £32.99
    per month
    includes line rental

The router supplied with Plusnet’s fibre packages is the Plusnet Hub One router. It's designed to ensure you get the best download and upload speed.

In addition, the router uses dual-band technology. This allows you to connect several devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops to the router – all at the same time. It also comes with four Ethernet ports for wired connections.

Installation is free if you take fibre broadband with a call plan. If you go for the broadband-only option, you may have to pay a £50 installation fee. Router delivery costs £4.99.

Plusnet Hub One Router

Overall Rating

2.8

If you’re looking for an entry-level fibre broadband package, then Plusnet’s unlimited fibre broadband service may be right for you. The decent download and upload speeds coupled with a reasonable monthly cost make this a home broadband package worth considering.

That’s not to say there aren’t any problems. The unusual pricing structure, along with the traffic management policy may dissuade you from joining. If you’re looking for alternatives, have a browse of our fibre optic broadband comparison page for ideas.

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