Plusnet broadband review
PLUSNET sell themselves as customer service superheroes with super low prices. But do those claims stack up? We've taken a look to find out.
Plusnet became known for offering "the UK's cheapest broadband" due to their old Essentials package, but they still offer some of the lowest cost broadband and phone deals around.
Today Plusnet offer three different packages; a highly competitive unlimited deal and two fibre broadband deals boasting speeds of up to 38Mb and 76Mb.
Find out more about Plusnet's services, prices and the latest offers by reading on, or use the menu on the right to jump to a specific part.
Plusnet often have introductory broadband deals, discounts and incentives for new customers. Read on to find out more about the latest special offers and sign up below.
Plusnet broadband packages
Plusnet is one of the cheapest providers of broadband around, even compared to other budget broadband providers.
Compare full prices and prices by postcode using our Plusnet broadband search.
Plusnet line rental is currently £18.99 per month, following an increase in prices implemented in June 2017.
The monthly price column above includes the cost of line rental as well as the broadband package - taking £18.99 off the total cost shows just how cheap Plusnet broadband can be.
Find out more about Plusnet's home phone service below.
However, unlike many other providers, Plusnet also allow customers to use their broadband and fibre services without also taking their line rental service.
|Package||Broadband||Contract terms||Upfront price||Monthly price|
|Unlimited||Up to 17Mb
|Unlimited Fibre||Up to 38Mb
|Unlimited Fibre Extra||Up to 76Mb
So is Plusnet the cheapest broadband provider in the UK?
Here's how they stack up compared to their biggest standard broadband competitors:
The main reason that Plusnet are well known in this regard is their special offers, which can drive down overall costs significantly, but even without promotional deals they are still one of the cheapest broadband providers available.
Plusnet fibre broadband
Plusnet also provide some of the cheapest fibre broadband services too. Frequently TalkTalk and Plusnet compete most fiercely on offering the very cheapest broadband deals.
Despite that Virgin Media isn't that much more expensive than TalkTalk or Plusnet, find out more about Virgin Media packages here.
Plusnet home phone (optional)
While it's easy to be enticed by cheap standalone broadband deals, it is worth considering that line rental is still a requirement in order to use broadband, whoever the provider is.
When opting for a combined line rental and broadband service from Plusnet new customers receive a reduction on the activation fee, sometimes wiping it altogether.
And Plusnet's home phone service offers fairly good value compared to the competition.
Phone packages and extras
Gone are the days of inclusive weekend calls. Just like Sky and TalkTalk, Plusnet have removed the weekend calls inclusive element of their basic phone packages.
Even fibre broadband packages incur additional fees for any kind of inclusive calls.
There are two main packages on offer; 'Evening & Weekend UK & Mobile Calls' which costs £4 a month and 'Unlimited UK & Mobile' which costs £8 extra a month.
Both offer unlimited anytime calls of up to an hour to UK landlines beginning with 01, 02, 03, 0845 and 0870. A fair usage limited is in place limited users to 150 calls or 1000 minutes or calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers per month (whichever one is reached first).
With the Evening & Weekend UK & Mobile Calls package inclusive calls are only available between 7pm and 7am Monday to Friday, or any time on Saturday and Sunday. Calls must start and finish between those times in order to not incur additional charges.
Inclusive calls to UK mobiles must also be made between 7pm and 7am Monday to Friday, or at any time on Saturday and Sunday. Calls should start and end within those hours to be included. A fair usage limit of 1,000 minutes applies and inclusive calls must be less than 60 minutes long. The Unlimited plan has a 2,000 minute per month limit on free mobile calls.
Please note that some 07 numbers are not considered mobile numbers and may not be included.
There is also a package for international calls. The Anytime International package offers 300 minutes to landlines in Plusnet's top 35 international destinations, including France, Spain, Germany, the US, Australia, India, Pakistan and China, as well as some international mobiles.
Just like the other packages it also includes landline calls and calls to 0870 and 0845 numbers, but does not include any free calls to mobiles.
A mobile bolt-on can be added to the Anytime International plan for £3, offering 100 minutes of calls to UK mobiles included.
|Package||Included calls||Price monthly|
|Evening & Weekend UK & Mobile
(7pm to 7am Mon-Fri, all Sat & Sun)
|Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
1,000 minutes to UK mobiles
|Unlimited UK & Mobile||Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
2,000 minutes to UK mobiles
|Anytime International||Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
300 minutes to landlines in 35 international destinations + mobiles in US and Canada
|Mobile bolt on||100 anytime minutes to UK mobiles||£3.00|
Compare the costs of Plusnet line rental, call plans and broadband on our Plusnet deals page.
Calls made outside of the inclusive times to UK landlines and mobiles are charged at the same rate as BT; 12.54p per minute with a 21p connection fee.
All Plusnet packages come with free basic voicemail and free calls to other Plusnet customers and the support number.
Additional features such as caller ID and more advanced voicemail features can be added for just a few pounds.
|Voicemail Extra||Caller Display||Anonymous call reject||Reminder Call, Call waiting, Call divert, Ringback|
Plusnet also offer the ability for customers to bundle some these additional call features as follows:
- 2 for £3.00
- 3 for £4.50
- 4 for £6.00
- 5 for £7.50
Bundles exclude Voicemail Extra and Anonymous call reject.
Customers can also use the Ringback and Reminder call service on a pay-as-you-go basis at 20p per call.
Plusnet increased the price of all their services by £1 in 2017, which has made them a bit more expensive than some Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but these prices are likely to rise soon making Plusnet one of the cheapest.
Plusnet's line rental deal is also one of the cheapest around at £197.88 per year or £16.49 per month.
There is some variation in Plusnet's pricing depending on location.
90% of the UK can enjoy the lowest Plusnet prices. Plusnet say they sometimes reclassify non-low cost areas as low cost areas, but will not reclassify a low cost area as non-low cost unless UK law says they have to.
When signing up for Plusnet customers are asked their postcode and telephone number, and at that point can find out whether they can get the lowest prices.
People outside the low cost areas, such as many rural areas, may want to consider John Lewis, who resell Plusnet services but do not use geographical pricing. Find out more in our full John Lewis review.
Plusnet are still one of the cheapest ISPs out there but what else have they got onto offer?
Youview TV on Plusnet
Plusnet fibre customers can also get Youview TV for just £5 per month.
It's a minimum 18 month contract with the choice of Youview or Youview+ boxes.
The basic box is smaller and can be used to pause and rewind live TV for up to 30 minutes for Standard Definition (SD) programmes and 15 minutes for High Definition (HD) programmes. The Youview+ box is larger and includes a 500GB hard drive that can hold approximately 125 hours in HD or 300 hours in SD.
Customers can get either box with their subscription for a £7.99 postage fee. The Youview+ box also comes with a £50 activation fee.
Both boxes provide access to over 70 Freeview TV and radio channels and 20 premium entertainment channels as standard.
|Alibi*||Animal Planet*||British Eurosport 1*||British Eurosport 2*|
|BT Sport 1*||BT Sport Extra||Comedy Central*||Crime and Investigation*|
|Discovery Channel*||Discovery: Investigation||E!*||History Channel*|
|Lifetime*||MTV*||National Geographic*||Nat Geo Wild*|
*channels available in HD for £3 a month; see below.
BT Sport 1 is included in the last and users can upgrade to the full BT Sport package including BT Sport Europe for an additional £5 per month.
Other channels can also be added to the package for £3 per month. There are three sets of additional channels available:
|Entertainment Plus||Comedy Central Extra, MTV Music, Movies 24, H2, TCM, Eden, Good Food, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo|
|Kids||Disney Channel, Disney Jnr, Disney XD
Nickelodeon, Nick Junior, Nick Toons
Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito
|HD||Alibi, Animal Planet, British Eurosport 1, British Eurosport 2, BT Sport 1, Comedy Central, Crime and Investigation, Dave, Discovery Channel, E!, History Channel, Lifetime, MTV, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, SyFy, TLC, Universal, W|
HD customers with the BT Sport pack will also get those channels in HD.
Channel-specific catch up services are also available with Youview, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4, My 5, Milkshake!, UKTV and Quest as well as STV and S4C where applicable.
Plusnet also offers Netflix. Existing subscribers can just login to Netflix while those who want to join can sign-up for Netflix through their television.
Customer service superheroes
Plusnet have built a reputation for offering good customer service over many years, better than many of their bigger competitors. Their support is provided in three ways:
- A dedicated customer service line free to call from Plusnet landlines as well as an 0800 number in case the landline is the problem. This is charged at a standard rate, even from mobile phones, and can be deducted from customers' inclusive minutes.
- Online ticket system for tracking and resolving non-urgent issues
- Text updates
Plusnet polls display a high level of customer satisfaction, but this is backed up by independent surveys, where they rank within the top 5 ISPs for customer service.
But that doesn't mean it's been complete smooth sailing for Plusnet customers over the years.
In 2014 Plusnet customers reported long waiting times for customer services. Plusnet claimed to have resolved this issue by opening an extra call centre but an Ofcom report in April 2017 found that Plusnet had the longest waiting times of any provider.
Plusnet also came in for criticism for the way they handled a significant service outage in autumn 2015. When many users lost their services and began tweeting and using the customer forum to ask for information Plusnet were late to respond and did not keep customer updated.
Overall though Plusnet do have a good reputation for offering a reliable service and putting things right in a timely fashion when problems arise.
Below you can find detailed comparisons of broadband speeds, usage limits and contract information.
Plusnet's standard broadband is advertised as up to 17Mb, but according to figures released by Ofcom in April 2017 the average speeds are actually:
|24-hour average||Peak (8-10pm weekdays)|
|Up to 17Mb||9.6Mb to 11.4Mb||9.5Mb to 11.3Mb|
SOURCE: Ofcom, UK Home Broadband Performance, April 2017. Available here [pdf].
Plusnet's "up to 17Mb" broadband is slower than Sky and EE's ADSL2+ services, but there isn't much between them. Read the results of our own research into connection speeds and consistency here.
Here's how Plusnet fibre broadband was measured in Ofcom's 2017 survey:
|24-hour average||Peak (8-10pm weekdays)|
|Up to 38Mb||31Mb to 33.5Mb||30.1Mb to 32.7Mb|
|Up to 76Mb||54.6Mb to 57.7Mb||53.9Mb to 57Mb|
EE and Sky outperform Plusnet in the 38Mb category, offering average speeds of 33.6Mb to 35.2Mb and 33Mb to 34.6Mb respectively.
BT, Sky and EE were all found to offer faster speeds than Plusnet in the 76Mb category. The average speed for BT was 57.9Mb to 60.7Mb, Sky 54.3Mb to 59.9Mb and EE 56.3Mb to 60.8Mb.
The differences in speed in the 38Mb and 76Mb categories are more significant than in the 17Mb category.
Plusnet were once one of the faster providers in terms of upload speed, with an average upload speed above 16Mb with their 76Mb service.
According to the Ofcom report BT, Sky, TalkTalk and EE offer faster upload speeds, although Plusnet are still highly competitive with other providers in this regard, clocking up faster average upload speeds than both Virgin services.
Plusnet is one of the top four providers of fibre broadband in the UK.
Plusnet are quite unusual in how openly they explain their traffic management system.
Traffic management is all about maintaining good speeds for all users by setting different priorities for different types of traffic. For example, moving file downloads lower in priority than web browsing. Users can place any demands on a network, so it's crucial that priorities are made to maintain speeds where activities require it.
Similarly, activities such as file sharing or streaming may be limited at peak times in order to maintain network performance.
Plusnet, however, have a slightly different approach to traffic management. It sets these priorities on a house-by-house basis. No Plusnet-connected home will have speeds limited because of use from another property. Traffic within the property is monitored and controlled.
Traffic types are classified as Low, Medium or High priority:
- High: VoIP and gaming
- Medium: Email, browsing, streaming, VPN, FTP and other online activity
- Low: Software updates, Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing
Plusnet customers can get the Pro add on for £5 per month, offering lower latency and ping times. The options appears in the 'Add-ons' section of the members' area of their website.
Pro means all online activity is assigned a Medium or High priority:
- High: VoIP, gaming, VPN, FTP and other online activity
- Medium: Email, browsing, streaming, software updates, P2P
It is useful to consider your requirements carefully. Often when people think they want faster internet, what they actually need is a more reliable connection that doesn't stall.
No download limits
Since June 2014 all Plusnet deals come with unlimited data. Previously users had been charged based on monthly usage, but in 2012 they introduced their first unlimited package and it soon became the standard.
Flexible 30-day contracts
Plusnet are one of the few ISPs who offer a no contract service, with a minimum contract length of just 30 days on the standard broadband plus phone package.
Some providers sell fibre broadband on flexible terms, but Plusnet don't. Also, if customers want flexible ADSL they will also have to take their home phone line.
The price of that flexibility is usually £31.48, but deals for new customers do pop-up from time to time. Recently it has been advertised for £23.99 per month for the first year.
12 month contracts might be standard for most broadband providers, Plusnet customers can leave at any time with 30 days' notice and no penalties or kill fees.
This can be really useful for students or those in short tenancies or temporary housing. Find out more about short term broadband packages in our student broadband guide and more about flexible contracts here.
All in all: the best Plusnet deal
Plusnet offer some of the cheapest broadband services available, and their services offer some unique features, including geographical pricing and an individual approach to traffic management.
Plusnet frequently launch new deals and promotions. Compare them on our Plusnet broadband deals page.