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Plusnet Broadband (2022) review: Great value, reliable internet with excellent service

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
23
Per month (10Mbits/sec)

Average speeds, great value, high customer satisfaction

Pros 
Low pricing
Decent ADSL and fibre performance
Award-winning customer satisfaction
Cons 
No ultrafast services
Rising numbers of Ofcom customer complaints
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Plusnet can’t match its more expensive rivals for ultrafast fibre and full fibre services, but it does just about everything else right. In this year’s Expert Reviews Best Broadband awards, BT’s value-orientated offshoot came away with three out of the five awards, namely the gongs for Customer Support and Value, not to mention the overall Best Broadband award. It says a lot that more of Plusnet’s users would recommend it than those of any other major ISP we surveyed. In fact, nearly three quarters (73%) said they were likely to recommend it to someone else.

Plusnet’s list of services is fairly straightforward, with a single ADSL option, two fibre options and a discount if you sign up for 18 rather than 12 months. This means you won’t see the high-end, full fibre services you can get from Sky, Virgin Media, BT, EE and Vodafone. If your main interest is a great value fibre package, however, Plusnet can definitely help out there.

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Plusnet review: Unlimited Broadband

Plusnet’s low-cost ADSL2 option gives you average 10Mbits/sec download speeds with no usage limits for £22.99 per month on a 12-month contract, or £19.99 per month on an 18-month plan. Plusnet also waives the usual £5 activation fee on the latter plan. A router is included, although the current Hub Zero – a rebadged Sagemcom - isn’t the most advanced. It’s limited to 802.11n speeds and only supports a single 2.4GHz band. Unless you can’t get fibre in your area, we’d recommend moving to a faster fibre plan with a better device bundled in.

Plusnet review: Unlimited Fibre

Move up a tier to Plusnet’s basic fibre broadband package and you’re looking at average speeds of 36Mbits/sec for £26 on a 12-month contract or £23 if you sign up for 18 months. Again, on the 18 month contract the £10 activation fee is waived. Obviously, this is a big step up in terms of speeds, but you also get a better router, with the new Plusnet’s Hub Two. This is effectively a rebadged version of BT’s excellent SmartHub 2 with custom Plusnet firmware but, since it’s a good Wi-Fi 5 router with 4x4 MIMO 802.11ac connectivity, that’s not a bad thing at all.

Plusnet review: Unlimited Fibre Extra

Plusnet’s current high-end option takes speeds up to an average 66Mbits/sec for £28 a month on a 12-month contract or just £25 on an 18-month plan. As before, the £10 activation fee is dropped if you sign up for the longer term. This is one of the cheapest high-speed fibre plans around and, if your connection can cope with speeds over 40Mbits/sec, it’s well worth the extra £2 a month.

Unlimited BroadbandUnlimited FibreUnlimited Fibre Extra
Price per month (inc line rental)£22.99£25.99£27.99
Upfront costFree£10£10
Average speed10Mbits/sec36Mbits/sec66Mbits/sec
Usage allowanceUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Contract length12 months12 months12 months
Unlimited Broadband (18 months)Unlimited Fibre (18 months)Unlimited Fibre Extra (18 months)
Price per month (inc line rental)£19.99£22.99£24.99
Upfront costFreeFreeFree
Average speed10Mbits/sec36Mbits/sec66Mbits/sec
Usage allowanceUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Contract length18 months18 months18 months

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Plusnet review: Coverage

As a BT-owned subsidiary, it’s no surprise Plusnet runs on the Openreach network, although Plusnet is a separate company run by a different management team. This means Plusnet has exactly the same coverage as every other Openreach provider, with fibre services in reach of 93% of the UK population and over 6 million homes able to connect to a full-fibre FTTP network. Openreach hopes to connect up to 25 million homes via FTTP by December 2026.

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Plusnet review: Performance and customer satisfaction

Ofcom’s latest performance figures, based on data from SamKnows, show Plusnet delivering decent rather than excellent speeds for its 36Mbits/sec and 66Mbits/sec fibre services. At the lower level, it’s faster than BT but not as fast as EE or TalkTalk, while at the higher level it’s slightly off the pace, with a mean 24-hour download speed of 59.3Mbits/sec where BT and EE are over 60Mbits/sec. To be honest, this isn’t a difference you’d notice, however.

Where Plusnet triumphs, however, is when it comes to customer satisfaction. In this year’s Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards survey, more customers said they were likely to recommend Plusnet than with any other broadband provider, with 73% in total. Some 77% of customers were either quite or very satisfied with their customer service, again leading the pack. Plusnet also came away with our award for value, with 71% of users satisfied.

Ofcom’s figures also show Plusnet scoring highly for overall customer satisfaction, although they also show that call waiting times and Ofcom complaints per 100,000 subscribers are rising. That’s something Plusnet needs to put a lid on if it wants to keep its enviable reputation.

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Plusnet review: Verdict

Plusnet is still pulling off an impressive feat, however: providing affordable, mainstream fibre and ADSL services at decent speeds while keeping most of its customers satisfied. Its users seem to feel that they’re getting not only a good service but also something of a bargain.

We’d like to see the services expand to offer even higher fibre speeds and the number of complaints reduced but, if you’re after good, solid broadband without the premium price, Plusnet is the one for you.

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