Plusnet or BT broadband: who has the best broadband?

Last updated: 10 August 2021   By Samantha Smith

BT and Plusnet are two of the UK's most popular broadband providers, although they target different types of customers.

plusnet vs bt

At a glance

Plusnet BT
Price From £18.99/mth From £25.99/mth
Setup price Free From free
Fastest broadband 66Mb average
900Mb average
Inclusive calls None None
Anytime UK calls £9/mth
Includes UK mobiles
Includes UK mobiles
TV None
Extra cost
Minimum term 18 months 12 months / 24 months

Special Offers

Winner: It depends! The two providers change their offers regularly, with one sometimes ending up more generous than the other. Keep an eye on our live table below, as it will be updated with the latest offers.

Offer Terms

£50 BT Reward card with BT Full Fibre 100 just £29.99 a month with free setup

Hurry! Offer ends 6 June 2024

24 month minimum term. No setup fee. From £34.99/mth after 24 months. BT offers are subject to price increases on the 31st March 2024 by CPI +3.9%.

£50 BT Reward card with BT Entertainment TV and BT Fibre 100 broadband, just £44.99/mth with free setup

Hurry! Offer ends 6 June 2024

24 month minimum term. No setup fee. From £54.99 a month after 24 months. BT offers are subject to price increases on the 31st March 2024 by CPI +3.9%.

Offer Terms

Plusnet Full Fibre broadband from just £27.99/mth for 145Mbps download speeds

24 month minimum term. No set up cost. £40.04/mth after 24 months. Price rises each year on 31 March by CPI + 3.9%

Plusnet Fibre broadband just £25.99/mth

Hurry! Offer ends 29 May 2024

24 month minimum term. No set up cost. £30/mth after 24 months. Price rises each year on 31 March by CPI + 3.9%

Broadband deals

Winner: Plusnet are the cheaper provider and they don't generally charge set-up fees.

Aside from special offers, both BT and Plusnet offer a range of fixed price broadband deals.

Plusnet offer two fibre options at 36Mb and 66Mb average.

BT also offer three standard fibre options (36Mb, 50Mb and 67Mb average).

That means it's possible to compare BT like-for-like with both of Plusnet's fibre packages. BT also offer the more unusual 50Mb average option, which isn't directly comparable to any of Plusnet's deals.

Plusnet are considerably cheaper and their advertised speeds are comparable to those on offer from BT. Line rental is included in the cost of all the packages listed below.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Unlimited Fibre 66Mb average £24.99 Free 24 months
Unlimited Fibre Extra 66Mb average £26.99 Free 24 months
Fibre Essential 36Mb average £33.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price for 24 months + (Ends 06/06/2024)
Fibre 1 50Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £5/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Fibre 2 67Mb average £36.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Reduced price for 24 months + (Ends 06/06/2024)

Plusnet pride themselves on being a budget broadband provider, so their deals are far more basic than BT's. We cover than in more detail later in this guide.

When you click through to their website, BT do offer 12-month contracts on their broadband plans, but these cost more per month. If customers are eager for the flexibility, those deals may be worthwhile, but we've got a guide to flexible fibre broadband looking at no contract options.

Ultrafast broadband

This is where BT get boasting rights. Plusnet have not yet entered the ultrafast market and, while some providers offer faster packages than BT, the bigger provider clearly beats Plusnet in this category.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 100 150Mb average £29.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £1/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £34.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Save £15/mth and free setup (was £31.99) (Ends 06/06/2024)
Full Fibre 900 900Mb average £59.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: £50 BT Virtual Reward Card + Reduced price for 24 months (Ends 06/06/2024)

Ultrafast is less widely available than superfast, but BT say they hope to reach at least 20 million homes with their FTTP broadband network by the late 2020s.

If BT's ultrafast isn't yet an option, check out Virgin Media and Hyperoptic as possible alternatives.

Basic broadband

Both providers still offer standard copper broadband, although it's fair to say BT are keen to encourage customers to upgrade to fibre deals instead.

Their 10Mb copper package is usually the same price, if not more expensive, than their cheapest fibre package listed in the section above.

This is how Plusnet and BT compare on basic broadband:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Unlimited + Line only 10Mb average £25.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price + No setup fee + Exclusive offers and discounts for Plusnet customers
Broadband 10Mb average £29.99 £31.99 24 months
offer Offer: Reduced price for 24 months

Plusnet are cheaper month-by-month and they don't charge set-up fees either. Customers will only be locked into a 12-month contract with them, while BT's standard contract length is 24 months and customers would pay even more for a 12-month deal from BT.

Older packages

Plusnet used to offer broadband-only packages but have now stopped. That means that, if you choose either provider, you'll have to get line rental from the same company.

In addition, Plusnet used to offer 30-day rolling broadband deals, but they have scrapped these too.


Winner: Plusnet offer cheaper broadband packages than BT.

For comparable speeds, Plusnet's broadband is cheaper each month than BT's and comes with no upfront costs on their fibre packages.

Note that BT do offer a marginally faster fibre broadband service, as well as the additional option of the 50Mb deal and, for some, the choice of ultrafast.

They also offer more extras, including free UK weekend calls, access to their large network of wi-fi hotspots and a wide range of TV options.


Winner: BT superfast fibre broadband is marginally faster than Plusnet, plus they offer ultrafast broadband where Plusnet do not.

Ofcom test average broadband speeds for leading broadband providers and publish the results annually in their UK Home Broadband reports.

Here are the latest speed tests published in May 2021:

Ofcom average speeds, published March 2023
Advertised average speed Over 24hrs Peak time
(8-10pm weekdays)
BT 10Mb 12.92Mb 12.77Mb
BT 36Mb 32.36Mb 32.00Mb
BT 50Mb 43.79Mb 42.54Mb
Plusnet 66Mb 64.15Mb 63.57Mb
BT 67Mb 63.76Mb 62.95Mb
BT 145Mb 148.72Mb 148.26Mb
BT 300Mb 302.34Mb 300.99Mb

There isn't too much in it, but Plusnet do edge ahead in the 36Mb category while the reverse happens in the 66Mb/67Mb category.

Something to note here is that the performance of BT's FTTP at 67Mb is substantially better than either BT's or Plusnet's FTTC deal.

With BT looking to futureproof the network by installing FTTP wherever possible, those in FTTP areas will get those faster speeds by default.

Finally, since BT are the only one of the two providers offering ultrafast speeds of up to an average speed of 900Mb, they beat Plusnet on that too.


bt and plusnet routers

Winner: BT. The basic Smart Hub meets minimum modern standards - which is more than can be said for the Hub Zero; and the newer generation Smart Hub 2 just beats Plusnet's Hub One.

Wireless routers can have a big impact on broadband speeds, so the hardware is more important than many people think.

BT customers get one of two routers: The BT Smart Hub, which comes as standard with superfast broadband, or the Smart Hub 2. The newer model is included with any Complete Wi-Fi or Halo 2 package (see below in Broadband Extras).

Both Smart Hubs are dual band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz), 4 gigabit LAN ports and a USB 2.0 port.

Plusnet offer the Hub Zero (also known as 2704n) for basic broadband and the Hub One for fibre broadband customers.

The Hub Zero uses single band wireless connectivity, which means it may struggle to achieve advertised download speeds over a wireless connection. It's only really practical for ADSL users.

The Plusnet Hub One router does have dual band wireless. It also scans wireless channels and adjusts accordingly to offer the fastest broadband speeds. The Hub One also includes a USB port. It's a contender to the Smart Hub 2 but doesn't have some of the extras (like directional antennae).

BT come off best in this category. The tech specs are better and, if we're being shallow about it, the routers simply look smarter. White casing is hard to do well.

Broadband extras

Winner: BT. If customers want to pay more, they can get loads of benefits, while Plusnet remain a simple yet affordable broadband provider.

Plusnet Perks

Plusnet Perks, as the provider calls them, include a couple of gems.

  • Broadband customers can get 2Gb extra data on Plusnet's SIM-only mobile deals.
  • Customers can access a discount on the BT Sport App.

But, aside from that, the pickings are poor. The page tries to pass off basic, paid call plans and a simple parental control tool as perks.

This isn't a criticism, exactly - Plusnet are, at the end of the day, a basic broadband company that focus on simple, budget-friendly packages. That's why they're cheaper than providers like BT.

BT Complete Wi-Fi & Halo

Speaking of which, BT are taking full advantage of their premium image with an array of VIP deals.

All BT Broadband customers receive access to their UK wi-fi hotspot network with five million hotspots across the UK, up to 1000GB BT Cloud online storage and up to 15 devices covered with BT Virus Protect.

For a small extra fee of as little as £1 a month (the exact pricing per package is unclear), customers can add BT Halo 3 to their plan. This gives customers:

  • Access to Home Tech Experts
  • Keep Connected Promise
  • Promise that broadband prices won't rise at the end of a contract (excluding annual CPI + 3.9% price increases)
  • Double data for BT Mobile customers

Customers who want more than the basics can choose Complete Wi-Fi, which includes Wi-Fi Discs (signal boosters, basically) and the more advanced Smart Hub 2. This costs £10 per month - read more about it in our guide to broadband speed guarantees.

And, if that's not fancy enough, big spenders can join Halo 3+, the descendant of BT Plus. It's a 'converged plan', which means it includes broadband, landline and mobile. Customers get 5G access, and free 'Tech Health Checks' from the provider's new army of home tech experts.

Halo 3+ customers will pay at least £21 extra per month depending on which broadband plan they choose.

As well as the features listed in Halo 3, Halo 3+ includes:

  • Mobile broadband back up with Hybrid Connect
  • Complete WiFi (see above)
  • Smart Hub 2
  • Promise to upgrade to Full Fibre 100 when it becomes available

It's a pricey upgrade, but it does allow customers to take advantage of the unique premium options offered by BT and it's one of the main differences between taking broadband from BT and taking it from Plusnet.

There's a bit more detail about BT Halo 3 and 3+ (and the differences between them) in our full guide to BT broadband.

Call plans

Winner: BT. Their new 500 minute deal is more than enough for most households, and it's anytime.

Both providers charge £19.99 a month for line rental.

Plusnet call add-ons

Plusnet don't include any calls with their basic broadband but do offer a number of good add-ons.

Take a look at the table below for the call packages that are currently on offer from Plusnet.

Package Inclusive calls Price monthly
Plusnet Evening & weekend UK & mobile calls Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
1,000 minutes to UK mobiles
Plusnet Unlimited UK & mobile calls Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
2,000 minutes to UK mobiles
Plusnet Anytime international calls Calls to UK landlines
0845 and 0870 numbers
300 minutes to landlines in 35 international destinations & mobiles in US and Canada
Plusnet Mobile bolt on 100 anytime minutes to UK mobiles £3

Additional call features:

  • Last caller (1471): Free
  • Withheld number (141): Free
  • Caller display: Free
  • Voicemail: Free (or £3/mth for call minder)
  • Anonymous call reject: £4/mth

The add-ons below are also available as 2 for £3, 3 for £4.50 or all 4 for £6.

  • Ringback: £2.50/mth
  • Call Diver: £2.50/mth
  • Call Reminder: £2.50/mth
  • Call Waiting: £2.50/mth

Plusnet used to offer a line rental saver deal where customers could save money by paying upfront for their annual line rental but this was discontinued in late 2019.

BT call add-ons

BT have also stopped giving inclusive calls as standard. Their packages are structured a bit differently:

Package Inclusive calls Price monthly
BT 500 minutes 500 minutes to be used any time for UK landlines or UK mobiles. £5
BT 700 minutes 700 minutes to be used any time for UK landlines or UK mobiles. £7
BT Unlimited calls Unlimited calls any time for UK landlines or UK mobiles. £15
BT Friends & Family International Lower call rates to 236 international destinations. £2.11
BT International Freedom Inclusive calls to landlines in 36 countries, and lower call rates to the rest of the world £8.99

All BT phone packages come with BT Call Protect, Telephone Preference registration and caller display for free, which helps to block unwanted and nuisance calls.

Other call features cost extra. For example, including 1571 voicemail costs £3.50 a month and returning calls via 1471 costs 35p per call.


Winner: BT TV is available alongside BT broadband plans while Plusnet have scrapped their TV service.

Both BT and Plusnet used to offer a YouView TV service, but Plusnet stopped taking new orders for the service in January 2021 and are phasing it out for existing customers.

Plusnet broadband customers can still access the BT Sport App at a reduced rate (£15.69 per month), but that's only an app and not a proper TV service. It's a perk, but it doesn't compare to BT TV.

Let's look a little closer at what that offers.


BT TV is only available to customers taking BT broadband and, since February 2020, they have partnered with Now TV to offer a range of TV plans alongside their flagship AMC channel and BT Sport services.

There is one Classic Entertainment pack available while the other options are all based on Now TV or BT Sport content and can be downgraded or upgraded during the contract.

So, while these BT TV deals run for 24 months alongside a customer's broadband plan, they are flexible enough to be altered if a customer wants to bring the TV element of their bill down to £12 per month.

Here's how the BT TV packages look alongside each other:

Package TV Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Entertainment (BT broadband customers only) 96 £17 £39.99 24 months
Big Entertainment (BT broadband customers only) 107 £27 £39.99 24 months
Sport (BT broadband customers only) 77 £16 £39.99 24 months
Big Sport (BT broadband customers only) 90 £41 £39.99 24 months
VIP (BT broadband customers only) 125 £74 £39.99 24 months

The content in each package is based on the following:

  • Entertainment - Now Entertainment
  • Big Entertainment - Now Entertainment and Now Cinema
  • Sport - BT Sport
  • Big Sport - BT Sport and Now Sports
  • VIP - All of the available content

Read more about bundling BT broadband and TV or read more about Sky Sports TV deals.

Customer service

Winner: BT are better than Plusnet on more customer service metrics.

Customer service is vital in a broadband provider. No matter how reliable, connections do occasionally go down - and being able to deal with it quickly makes a massive difference.

Despite a disastrous billing system upgrade in 2018 that pushed complaint figures high into 2019 and beyond, Plusnet have a fairly good customer service record.

Yet a look at Plusnet and BT side by side in Ofcom's latest Comparing Service Quality report for 2020, we can see BT pull ahead on some key customer service metrics:.

Plusnet BT
Satisfaction with service overall 81% 80%
Satisfaction with speed of service 75% 80%
Customers with a reason to complain 24% 23%
Overall satisfaction with complaint handling 47% 55%
Complaints completely resolved on first contact 30% 40%
Complaints per 100,00 subscribers 69 50
Average call waiting time 4 minutes 52 seconds 3 minutes 28 seconds

More BT customers are satisfied with the speed of service and their overall satisfaction with complaints handling is significantly higher. Plus, more BT complaints are resolved on first contact and they don't take as long to answer the phone.

There isn't too much clear water between the providers, though, and many of their customers seem satisfied.

Read more about broadband customer service.

Verdict: Who offers the best broadband, Plusnet or BT?

Overall winner: BT tick more boxes than Plusnet, even though their services come with a premium price tag.

How to sign up

In many ways, there's no objective winner in the Plusnet vs BT argument. Each provider has its strengths and weaknesses, and there's not a lot of overlap. Despite both being broadband providers, they're not really competitors.

The right choice will ultimately depend on what each customer values most: a low monthly cost, fast speeds or the option for a TV service.

Both providers actually offer very similar standard broadband packages, with one standard ADSL deal and comparable superfast fibre broadband options.

BT have plunged into the ultrafast market, while Plusnet seem unlikely to follow. They also offer lots more ways for their customers to spend money, while Plusnet sticks to its simple budget packages.

TV-wise, BT offer a service while Plusnet don't anymore, although on-demand services like Netflix and Now TV memberships can fill the gap for many households anyway.

Customers interested in BT Sport may prefer to sign up for the BT Sport Monthly Pass (available at a discount to Plusnet customers) rather than sign up to BT simply for the option of bundling BT Sport content with broadband.

Yet there are some key areas where BT pull ahead of Plusnet:

  • Better hardware
  • Quality extras
  • Paid service upgrades
  • Slightly better call plans
  • Better customer service record

On this basis, we think BT's the winner in this tie, although Plusnet are still a decent option for those focused on price above all else.

Make sure to check out the best prices, which can depend on region, on our main broadband deals page.


Mick Bolton
23 August 2019

I wouldn't touch Plusnet with a very long bargepole. They are useless. Come February I will be cancelling my contract with them as I am stuck until then despite their broadband dropping any number of times per day and their TV subs. service being a host of pixellations which they don't seem capable of correcting. The BT engineer who came to check told me there was nothing wrong with my equipment, but Plusnet wouldn't entertain the fact that there might be something wrong with THEIR equipment. The engineer also showed me the outages for my Plusnet Broadband ... it looked like a very bad case of German Measles. Minusnet would be a better title for their 'service'.

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