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Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra review

Thursday, November 5th 2015

This Plusnet fibre optic broadband service offers award-winning customer support, fast speeds and moderate pricing. However, don’t be fooled by the countryside-friendly image of the company’s adverts, as those in rural areas could actually end up paying more for its service than those in towns and cities.

Owned by BT, Plusnet uses an unusual pricing system and is low on extras. However, the fast fibre speed and reasonably priced phone package make it worth further investigation.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
3.2

This is a fast and cheap fibre optic package with great customer service and few limitations, but it’s let down by the lack of features and an unbalanced pricing structure. However, if you are looking for simplicity and ease of use then it still merits consideration.

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Speed & usage

Rating

4

This is the fastest speed on offer from Plusnet, as it is with most services that run on BT’s Openreach network. With a speed of 76Mbps you should be able to achieve everything you want online, such as support multiple wi-fi-enabled devices, stream HD content and download large files.

As with all broadband packages, the advertised speed and the speed you actually receive via your router can be two very different things. According to Ofcom’s broadband speed report, the average peak and off-peak speeds for this package are slightly slower than those advertised, but ultimately it will depend on where your property is located with regards to the exchange.

There is no usage limit on this package, which is great for those with an appetite for HD streaming, but there is a traffic management system, which will throttle your speed during peak times. During these periods, Plusnet will prioritise certain activities, such as gaming and VoIP services, over others, such as peer-to-peer sharing and download sites.

Advertised download speed 76Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) 54.8Mbps – 58.1Mbps
Average downloads (peak) 53.8Mbps – 57.1Mbps
Advertised upload speed 19.5Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management Yes
Static IP Optional
Minimum contract 18 months
Router Plusnet Hub One
Public wi-fi No
Prices from £29.99 per month + line rental
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

4

This package is available with or without a call plan but you have to pay £19.99 line rental either way. Curiously, choosing the package without the call plan works out more expensive than with it, which forces your hand somewhat.

Plusnet no longer offers inclusive calls with its broadband and phone packages, you'll have to pay for calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. However, you can upgrade to Evening and Weekend calls, which includes free calls to UK landlines in the evening and at weekends or the Anytime plan, which gives you anytime calls to UK landlines. You can also go for the Anytime International plan, which gives you anytime calls to UK landlines and 300 anytime minutes to 35 top international destinations.

There is also a selection of call features you can add to your plan that can either be bought individually or in a bundle. These include caller display, reminder call, call waiting, call divert, ring back, call minder and anonymous call reject. You do receive a free voicemail service (1571) with every call plan, but it needs to be activated via the telephone control panel on the Plusnet homepage.

Extras

Rating

2

Plusnet isn’t exactly a budget provider, but you’d be forgiven if you thought it was when you look at the extras on offer. You get a free wireless router (with a £6.99 delivery charge), which isn’t exactly the finest example of connectivity technology we’ve ever come across, but should get you up and running. You also get initial access to Plusnet Protect, a McAfee-powered anti-virus program designed to keep your computer, personal details and kids safe online. The free access lasts for three months and then you’ll be charged £2 a month after that if you want to keep it.

One of the major draws of Plusnet is its UK-based customer support service, which is available between 7.30am to 10pm, 365 days a year. One interesting feature of the customer support service is the Customer Support Stats page on Plusnet’s website. This gives you live data about how busy the call centre is, how soon it will answer your call, and how long it will take to resolve your issue. This is a simple addition that brings transparency to what can be a frustrating experience.

Plusnet does offer a few extras, with the customer support service being the star, but it doesn’t compare well to other broadband choices from the top-end providers.

This package looks quite moderately priced at first glance, but there are some caveats that need to be taken into consideration. First, if you choose a broadband-only package you may be charged for installation and activation. There's also a £6.99 router delivery charge (which we have already mentioned) and the monthly £19.99 line rental fee. There is the option to pay line rental up front, which costs £185.88 initially, and is the equivalent of paying £15.49 a month.

Plusnet also prices its products depending on where you live, which means that despite its cheery Yorkshire persona, those in more rural areas will be charged more than those in more built-up areas. Essentially, Plusnet is enticing customers who have a larger choice of providers but offering them a lower price than those who have no other option, and who get charged more for the same product. If you are in a rural area and were attracted by Plusnet’s rural-friendly image, make sure you can check which ‘market’ you’re in before you sign up.

  • 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£0
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £239.88

    £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 length18 months
    First year cost £324.88

    £24.99
    per month
    includes line rental

  • Broadband
    Max download speed76Mb
    Max upload speed19Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls12.50ppm
    Evening calls12.50ppm
    Weekend calls12.50ppm
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£25
    Contract length18 months
    First year cost £384.88

    £29.99
    per month
    includes line rental

The Plusnet Hub One wireless router is provided for free (subject to a £6.99 delivery charge) with every Plusnet broadband package, which should get you and your wireless devices online.

It uses dual band technology which means the router will deliver wi-fi fast enough to reach this package’s full potential. It also comes with four Ethernet ports for wired connections.

Installation is free if you opt for the cheaper phone and broadband package and you’ll have the option of a morning or afternoon appointment slot. It takes between three to four hours to install and you’ll need to be present at your property when the engineer arrives.

Plusnet Hub One router

Overall Rating

3.2

Plusnet offers a reasonable, well-priced service, but it lacks sheen. A fundamental issue arises with the dated router provided, which might slow down your service. If you want a good value, fibre broadband deal with great customer service, and you’re not too bothered by a lack of extras, then this is worth looking into – just make sure you go for the package with a phone plan.

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