Plusnet Homepage: the Best Broadband in 2019?

Plusnet company logo

From humble beginnings as a provider of dial-up internet in the 1990s, Plusnet now offers a comprehensive set of packages including everything from superfast fibre-optic broadband to dirt-cheap standard broadband packages. Despite having its origins in the early days of the world wide web in the UK, most of us became familiar with the provider through Joe - who first appeared in ads in the early 2010s - who pioneers Plusnet’s ‘good, honest’ service from its Yorkshire base.

In this page, we’re going to take you through Plusnet as a whole, providing you with a top-to-bottom outlook on the company and its offer and hopefully helping you decide whether it’s just as good and honest as it claims to be. Let’s get started.


About Plusnet

Plusnet, to use a bit of industry jargon, is a quad-play telecoms provider which has developed a reputation (largely through its own claims in its well-known TV ads) for giving ‘good, honest’ broadband, phone, TV and mobile services. It’s the sixth-largest broadband provider in the UK, coming in just behind EE in terms of the number of subscribers. So where did it come from? We’ll first take you through the history of the brand.

History

You were perhaps not familiar with it right from the beginning, but Plusnet has been around since pretty early on in the story of the internet in the UK. Its ‘sister brand’, as Plusnet calls it, Force9, was established by the computer company Choice Peripherals to offer dial-up internet for the UK market in February 1997. By October of the same year, Force9 was supplying 5,000 subscribers with dial-up internet.

In November 1997, Force9 split from Choice Peripherals to operate at new premises and under the new name Plusnet Technologies Ltd. Despite the company being registered as such, it continued to use the brand name Force9 until April 1999, when it was rebranded F9. A little over a year later, the company launched the plus.net website and officially adopted the name Plusnet name.

In August 2000, 512 kbit/s ADSL broadband internet was introduced by BT to the UK market and, on the first day of its availability, Plusnet launched its first broadband products. Its initial products improved at the pace allowed by BT’s improvements to the infrastructure. Initially, customers needed a BT engineer to visit to install their line, but in 2002 Plusnet launched a ‘Self Install’ package which needed no such visit - customers could get set up themselves.

Plusnet Joe

In 2005, BT made an offer to buy out Plusnet completely, and a deal reported to be worth around £67 million was agreed to absorb Plusnet into the BT Group in 2007. It’s only since this acquisition that Plusnet has taken on the form that we now know it. Since then, it has adopted a new logo and Plusnet Joe has been introduced, along with the motto “we’ll do you proud,” with which ads have since been signed off. The provider also began to offer fibre broadband packages following the technology’s introduction to the Openreach network in the early 2010s.

More recently, Plusnet has branched out by beginning to offer TV services in 2015. It first trialled Plusnet TV and BT Sport for Plusnet in this year, and later partnered with YouView TV to deliver these services. In the following year, it branched out further by partnering with LIFE Mobile to launch Plusnet Mobile, making it one of the UK’s few ‘quad-play’ ISPs - which is a fancy way of saying it provides four types of service: broadband, phone, TV, and mobile.

Timeline

  • 1997 - Launch of ‘sister brand’ Force9, which begins to provide dial-up internet.
  • 1999 - Force9 becomes F9.
  • 2000-2002 - www.plus.net goes live, adopts the brand name Plusnet, and its first residential and business broadband products become available.
  • 2003-2005 - Plusnet is floated on the AIM Stock Exchange, becoming Plusnet plc. Internet Magazine votes Plusnet the ‘Best ISP on the Planet’(!)
  • 2006 - Plusnet plc is acquired by BT, becomes part of BT Group the following year.
  • 2007 - Launch of Plusnet Home Phone and 8Mb broadband speeds reached.
  • 2008 - Plusnet brand is refreshed, with new colours and logo introduced.
  • 2009 - Launch of 20Mb broadband, to which all existing customers are upgraded.
  • 2010-2012 - Introduction of current Plusnet logo and Joe, the face of its ‘Good Honest Broadband from Yorkshire’ campaign. Fibre broadband is also launched.
  • 2013-2015 - Launch of the Plusnet SafeGuard content filter, Plusnet TV is trailed, and BT Sport for Plusnet is established.
  • 2015 - Plusnet partners with YouView TV to start offering customers TV services.
  • 2016 - Partnership with LIFE Mobile and subsequent launch of Plusnet Mobile.

Who owns Plusnet?

Since 2006, Plusnet has been owned by BT Group. This is not to say that BT the internet provider and Plusnet the internet provider are the same entity - they are, in fact, ‘competitors’. BT Group is, as its name suggests, a group of companies which includes BT’s consumer arm (which supplies home broadband), BT’s business arm (which supplies business broadband), BT Openreach (which manages the UK’s telecommunications network) and Plusnet, as well as EE. The group also holds stakes in numerous other companies.

If you’re looking into changing provider to escape the pernicious talons of BT, then, unfortunately, getting away is going to be a bit more difficult than that.

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Looking to steer clear of the BT Group?

Give our advisors a call today and they’ll suggest a cheap, fast alternative.

Present day

Nowadays, Plusnet is one of the telecommunications industry’s six largest providers. It doesn’t eat up quite as much of a chunk of the market as, say, BT, Sky or Virgin (between the three of which is shared 70% of the market), but with almost 1 million subscribers at last count, it certainly packs a punch.

Plusnet share price

As it’s now a part of the BT Group, you can no longer trade in Plusnet shares. You can, however, buy and sell BT Shares, the pricing information for which you’ll find on our BT provider page. Having dipped below £160 in August 2019, it has risen to over £200 in value during the final quarter of 2019. Its general course over the last five years, however, is less than favourable.

Plusnet jobs

If a job with Plusnet is what you’re looking for, you should head directly to its Careers page. There you can search for a position to suit you (or simply scroll through - there are only 12 available at the time of writing) at its offices in either Leeds or Sheffield. Opportunities could arise in any of the following departments:

  • Customer service centre
  • Plusnet Technology
  • Commercial & marketing
  • Billing
  • Human resources
  • Legal & compliance
  • Projects & business
  • Finance

If you see something that suits you, head over to the site to check for vacancies in that department. You’ll also find (at the top of the page) a section entitled ‘Life at Plusnet’, where you can get a flavour of Plusnet’s values, what it’s like to work there, and of some of the benefits employees receive - including free broadband, phone & TV packages, free lunch, share options and life insurance!

If you don’t see a position to catches your eye available right now on the site, don’t fear. Plusnet encourages potential candidates to email their CV, covering letter, and the job they’d like to be considered for (should it become available in the future) to careers@plus.net.

Plusnet in the news

  • 28-10-2019 - Plusnet customers are set to see their prices rise from December 3rd. The Express has reported that the provider’s one million customers will see a £24 per year rise in broadband prices and some call costs increased.
  • 18-11-2019 - Plusnet customers using its “glitchy” Hub One Router better off buying their “own” router. Ispreview.co.uk has reported that many customers experiencing intermittent or unusable internet connectivity when trying to use 5GHz frequency have been told by Plusnet that it has been unable to resolve the issue and that if you’re affected you “may need to purchase your own router”(!)

Plusnet products

As we’ve mentioned, being a ‘quad-play’ telecoms provider, Plusnet provides four different types of service - broadband, home phone, TV and mobile. We’re going to tell you a little bit about each of these one at a time, starting with broadband:

Broadband

Plusnet’s broadband offer has come a long way since dial-up. Since fibre broadband packages were made available by Openreach in the early 2010s, Plusnet’s fastest package has gone from speeds of around 20 Mbps to 66 Mbps! While there are faster speeds available on the market, few households with normal internet demands are going to need anything faster, and for you, it may even be overkill. Here’s the full range of speeds available to you from Plusnet:

Unlimited Broadband Unlimited Fibre Unlimited Fibre Extra
10 Mbps avg. download speed 36 Mbps avg. download speed 66 Mbps avg. download speed
Good for browsing and general internet use Good for downloading, streaming films and TV shows Good for streaming in HD and online gaming

All of these speeds are available either with or without line rental, but if you choose a deal without line rental you will still need to have it with another supplier - which is to say, you can’t sign up to Plusnet broadband without a home phone. If you don’t want a landline, we have a guide on broadband without a landline which can run you through your options.

As their names suggest, all of these packages - like most home broadband packages nowadays - contain unlimited downloads. One thing Plusnet broadband does boast that few providers can match (certainly none of the major providers in direct competition with it) is its 365-day per year customer support. It is particularly proud of this aspect of its offer as a brand, considering itself a provider that cares a little more than others. You can find out what exactly Plusnet customers have to say about this in our reviews section.

For all the information on Plusnet’s broadband deals, see its broadband page.

Home phone

As we’ve mentioned, if you want it you can get line rental included alongside any Plusnet broadband package. To this, you can then add the calls package you want. Here are all of the calls packages the provider has to offer, and what exactly each would mean in practice for your phone usage:

Pay as you call:

  • Free to call other Plusnet numbers
  • Free to call Plusnet Support
  • Option to add mobile minutes

Evening & weekend (UK) landline & mobile calls

  • Free to call other Plusnet numbers
  • Free to call Plusnet Support
  • Evening & weekend calls to 0870/0845 numbers
  • Evening & weekend calls to UK landlines
  • Evening & weekend calls to UK mobiles (up to 1,000 mins)

Unlimited (UK) landline & mobile calls

  • Free to call other Plusnet numbers
  • Free to call Plusnet Support
  • Evening & weekend calls to 0870/0845 numbers
  • Evening & weekend calls to UK landlines
  • Evening & weekend calls to UK mobiles (up to 2,000 mins)

Anytime international calls

  • Free to call other Plusnet numbers
  • Free to call Plusnet Support
  • Evening & weekend calls to 0870/0845 numbers
  • Evening & weekend calls to UK landlines
  • International calls
  • Option to add mobile minutes

In case you’re not looking for internet but do want to get set up for line rental with Plusnet, it does also offer this service independently of broadband. For information on pricing, which you’ll notice is omitted here, keep scrolling to our section on Plusnet calls prices below.

Plusnet TV

We would say that only in the loosest sense is Plusnet a TV provider as such. Only its Unlimited Fibre customers with a Plusnet home phone can add a YouView TV box and BT Sport to their broadband package. There are two boxes you can choose from as an Unlimited Fibre customer - here’s what you get with each:

YouView box YouView+ box
 Pause & rewind live TV.  Pause & rewind live TV.
 Entertainment (over 70 channels) and BT Sport Lite included as standard.  Entertainment (over 70 channels) and BT Sport Lite included as standard.
 On-demand TV such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4.  On-demand TV such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4.
 Record 150 hours of HD or 300 hours of SD Freeview.

The main difference between these two packages is the ability (with the YouView+ box) to record TV - it also comes with access to the YouView app, which you can use to set your TV to record while you’re out and about. The channels available with each basic package are the same, with 20 premium channels apart from Freeview, including Comedy Central, the Discovery Channel, Eurosport and Gold. Subscribers can also add Netflix (if they have an account) and the following extra channel packs to their deal:

  • Kids channel pack (includes Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney XD)
  • Entertainment plus (includes 10 extra premium channels)
  • HD channel pack (includes over 20 HD channels)

You’ll notice that BT Sport Lite is also included in both of these packages as standard - the Lite package means you will just get BT Sport 1, which gives you exclusive access to 42 live Premier League football matches. If you want all of what BT Sport has to offer, for an extra monthly cost you can add the BT Sport Pack, which entitles you to:

  • BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport 3, and BT Sport ESPN
  • Option to upgrade to the HD pack
  • BoxNation channel in SD
  • Access to the BT Sport App and online player

You can find full details about the channels available through Plusnet’s TV offer on its website. For pricing information, just scroll down to our TV pricing section and you’ll find it all broken down for you.

Happy woman with mobile phone

Plusnet Mobile

While Plusnet does now offer mobile services, we’re not going to get into it too much here. We’ll leave that up to Selectra’s mobile experts, who have their own Plusnet Mobile page (link coming soon). You’ll find all the info you’ll need on its mobile deals there.


Plusnet’s pricing

In this section, we’ll finally get round to looking at the pricing for Plusnet’s products. We’ll begin with its broadband deals:

Broadband packages

Along with Plusnet’s self-proclaimed reputation for being a straightforward and down-to-earth provider is a suggestion that it represents good value for money. Is this true? Let’s take a look at how much Plusnet broadband packages would set you back and what you get for your money.

Broadband-only deals

We’ll begin with its broadband-only deals:

Ultd. (10Mb) Broadband Ultd. Fibre (36Mb) Broadband Ultd. Fibre Extra (66Mb) Broadband
£13.49 a month £17.49 a month £22.49 a month
£35 activation fee £50 activation fee £50 activation fee
Flexible contract length Flexible contract length Flexible contract length

Remember that for any of its broadband deals you will need to have line rental either with Plusnet or (in this case) with another provider. As this will be costing you a similar price per month, the savings you might see here over other providers’ broadband packages are negated for the most part. There are, however, a few interesting features you’ll want to hear about:

  • 12 or 18-month contract, depending on your preference.
  • Price is fixed for the length of your contract.
  • End of contract reminder and account review.
  • Support team available 365 days a year.
  • Router worth £40 (for standard broadband customers) or £99.99 (for fibre customers) included.
  • Plusnet Safeguard tool.

All things considered, the price of Plusnet’s broadband-only deals looks pretty tempting. If you don’t want to be tied down to a contract, it also offers one no-contract broadband-only deal. It is the standard (10Mb) broadband package, which without a contract will cost you £14.99 per month with a £60 one-off activation fee. You’ll still need line rental from another provider.

Broadband & phone deals

If you’ve resigned yourself to getting line rental with Plusnet as well as broadband (it is probably the simplest way to go about getting this sort of broadband), here’s what its 18-month contracts would set you back:

Ultd. Broadband + line rental Ultd. Fibre + line rental Ultd. Fibre Extra + line rental
£18.99 a month £22.99 a month £26.99 a month
£5 activation fee £10 activation fee £10 activation fee
18-month contract 18-month contract 18-month contract

At the time of writing, activation fees have been waived and Plusnet is offering £75 cashback as part of a special Black Friday offer - keep an eye out for temporary deals like this. Apart from this, its features are similar to Plusnet’s broadband-only deals, with fixed prices for the length of your contract, an end of contract reminder and review, and a free router and Safeguard tool.

Subscribers are also equally free to choose a 12-month contract instead of 18 but, with line rental, the prices differ somewhat:

Ultd. Broadband + line rental Ultd. Fibre + line rental Ultd. Fibre Extra + line rental
£23.99 a month £29.99 a month £36.99 a month
£5 activation fee £10 activation fee £10 activation fee
12-month contract 12-month contract 12-month contract

This is quite a bit more expensive, and there’s currently no special offer on these deals - Plusnet frankly seems less keen on peddling them than its longer contracts. Other benefits, however, remain the same as those you receive with the previous packages.

If you want to avoid a contract altogether, you can still do this with broadband and line rental, but again only with a standard broadband package - it will cost you:

  • £23.99 a month for the first 12 months,
  • £31.48 a month thereafter,
  • With a £50 activation fee.

Of course, to any deal that includes line rental, you can also add a calls package. Let’s move on to go over the price of these.

Calls packages

Plusnet offer calls packages to all customers who subscribe to its line rental. As we’ve mentioned, you can get line rental included in your broadband deal or you can pay for it individually - this will cost you £18.99 a month, which is the same price as a broadband package with line rental included. For us, it makes more sense to get them together.

Here’s what each of Plusnet’s four main calls packages will set you back:

  • Pay as you call: Free
  • Evening & weekend UK landline & mobile calls: £4 per month
  • Unlimited UK landline & mobile calls: £8 a month
  • Anytime International calls: £8 a month

Outside of these monthly rates, Plusnet currently charges the following for calls within the UK:

  • A call setup fee of 22p.
  • A rate of 13.5 per minute to 01, 02 and 03 numbers.
  • A rate of 15p per minute to UK mobile numbers.

The charges for international calls can be found by country on the Plusnet website.

Be aware that inclusive calls within your deal are only inclusive up to 60 minutes and that, as with most providers, after an hour you will begin to be charged the above minutely rates. If you want to avoid a charge, hang up before the hour mark and redial!

Plusnet is putting up its prices!From 3/12/2019 the provider will increase the cost of many of its services, with the following changes:

  • Line rental charge increasing from £18.99 to £19.99/month.
  • Evening & Weekend calls increasing from £4 to £5/month.
  • Unlimited UK calls increasing from £8 to £9/month.
  • Anytime International calls increasing from £8 to £9/month.
  • Call setup fees increasing by 1p from 22p to 23p.
  • Landline call charges increasing from 13.5p to 15p/minute.
  • Mobile call charges increasing from 15p to 18p/minute.

For full details on the changes, see Plusnet’s website.

TV add-ons

Plusnet’s two TV add-ons are, as we’ve mentioned, available only to Plusnet fibre broadband customers with line rental. Only if you’re on one of these deals are you eligible to get one of the following TV boxes. Here’s what they cost:

YouView box YouView+ box
£5 per month £5 per month
£6.99 upfront fee £57.99 upfront fee
18-month contract 18-month contract

These deals both come with YouView’s basic TV package, which we’ve described above. There’s no difference in terms of the channels you’ll receive, as we’ve mentioned; the only difference is that YouView+ allows you to record things. The add-ons will cost you extra - here’s how much:

  • Full BT Sport pack: £10 per month
  • Kids channel pack: £3 per month
  • Entertainment plus: £3 per month
  • HD channel pack: £3 per month

For more info on Plusnet's TV offer, see our Plusnet TV page.


How do Plusnet’s prices compare with the market average?

In comparing Plusnet broadband with the market average, we’re going to assume you’ll be taking out line rental as well - whether or not it’s with Plusnet you’re going to need it anyway, so we think it would be misleading not to. Here’s how its pricing on 36 Mbps Unlimited Fibre broadband compares to the average price for the same speed:

As you can see, Plusnet’s offer comes in considerably cheaper than its closest competitors - around £8 a month cheaper, in fact. It’s important to note that the average we have taken is across only the six largest providers, among whom it certainly does seem to live up to its reputation as a broadband provider for the people.

But what if we compare Plusnet’s faster package against its competitors. Let’s see how its Unlimited Fibre Extra deal compares:

Here you’d save £13 a month - an even better saving. If you’re in need of a superfast fibre deal, certainly one of your cheapest options among the major providers would be Plusnet. Its deal even promises 66 Mbps speeds, which is slightly faster than those offered by its competitors (who usually promise between 60-63 Mbps).


Contact Plusnet

Looking to get in touch with Plusnet? If they’re to be believed, the process should be a breeze. There are, however, a few different methods of contacting Plusnet depending on what exactly you want to achieve. If you’re thinking of joining and want to talk to its sales team for more info or to get yourself set up over the phone, the number you’ll want is this one:

Blue telephone

Plusnet Sales Team Number
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
From the UK: 0800 432 0080
From abroad: +44 330 123 0170
*Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-7pm; Sunday: 9am-6pm

Plusnet also offers an online chat service on its website for those who prefer not to talk over the phone. If you’re already one of its customers, you want to contact Plusnet about business broadband or make a job, press, partnership or commercial inquiry, there are different ways to get in touch. For info on all the ways to get in touch, see our Plusnet contact page.


Reviewing Plusnet

So we’ve taken you through the details as best we can, but there are certain things you can only learn about Plusnet from hearing what other people think of it. To paint a picture for you, we’ve scoured through customer reviews online and will give you the gist here:

Reviews

You don’t need to take too long a glance at Plusnet’s page on Trustpilot to get a pretty bad first impression. It scores a measly 1.4 / 5 stars, with 83% of over 5,000 reviewers giving its service the very worst score of Bad. Ouch. Not exactly in keeping with its claim that it will "do you proud." Why such an awful score? Let’s take a closer look.

Despite claims of “good, honest broadband” and a friendly and effective customer service team, it is Plusnet’s support agents who come in for the most flak. Reviewer complaints are consistently tied up in long call wait times and general indifference to resolving recurring issues:

Spent hours being passed from pillar to post on hold never call back when they say they are going to. Customer service is shocking.

These complaints of long wait times for calls are backed up by Ofcom’s most recent annual report on broadband providers’ service quality, where it registered the longest wait times of any of its competitors. Not only was Plusnet the worst performer in this regard, but the 6 minutes and 47 seconds average reported was over 4 minutes longer than the next worst, and over 5 minutes longer than the average.

There’s more to this story, but not much of it good. For a fuller sense of what people think of Plusnet’s service, head to our Plusnet reviews page.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
 Prices compare favourably with the market average.  Horrendous reviews for customer service.
 Flexible contract lengths.  Long call wait times.
 Flexible packages with options for landline or broadband-only, calls add-ons and TV add-ons.  Prices will be rising for new and existing customers from December.