back to article Plusnet is doing us proud again with early Christmas present for customers: Price hikes

BT's budget broadband pusher Plusnet is about to give customers something else to complain about, having just announced a price hike before Christmas. From 3 December, the provider will also withdraw its old "broadband without line rental" packages from sale for new customers, according to ISP Review. Most of the changes …

  1. Wilseus

    We'll do you proud!

    The last I heard, Plusnet was one of the most highly regarded ISPs. What happened?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: We'll do you proud!

      BT happened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We'll do you proud!

        Plusnet have been a wholly owned subsidiary of BT for years, as in since 2007. So there's no point in blaming BT, especially as PlusNet have always been cheaper, as well as having one other advantage: A UK call centre.

        Luckily I'm one of the customers where this price rise will only cost me £1. But once my contract ends, I'll look at alternatives. Not because the service is poor, far from it, but simply because I can, though given the alternatives off our exchange, it's liable to be Zen or not bother!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We'll do you proud!

          Andrews & Arnold

    2. uro

      Re: We'll do you proud!

      I've been with PlusNET for years, when my only option was ADSL they went out of their way to fix one of BT's screw ups at my exchange which resulted in my ADSL going from a stable 12/1(Down/Up) to 2-0/0.2-0 (variable) making it entirely unreliable and unservicable.

      I switched to FTTC with PlusNET as soon as it became available a number of years ago and went for their 80/20 Mb/s package and have never had any issues with it.

      I tried PlusNET mobile, which is a reseller venture piggybacking on EE and using their frequency bands which give poorer reception - it was utterly attrocious, I had to travel 3 miles away to the other side of town just to get service to be able to activate and register my sim card.

      Needless to say I switched back to my old mobile supplier and swore never to go near any mobile reseller products ever again regardless of price.

      So i'd hedge a bet on a lot of those complaints towards PlusNET coming from their mobile/reseller products as they are wholly reliant on spare capacity on the poorer frequency bands within EE's network.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: We'll do you proud!

        "Needless to say I switched back to my old mobile supplier and swore never to go near any mobile reseller products ever again regardless of price."

        But you only tried an EE reseller, if EE has such poor signal why not try a reseller from another vendor with decent signal near you?

        If you can get the current network you use cheaper via a virtual network then why not use it? You won't save any money by being loyal, all they care about is your money.

  2. Colin Bull 1
    Pirate

    robbers..

    My monthly bill with UNO is £23 odd including 50GB peak broadband, line and calls

  3. Vaughtex

    Plusnet have been a wholly owned subsidiary of BT for years, as in since 2007. So there's no point in blaming BT, especially as PlusNet have always been cheaper, as well as having one other major advantage: A UK call centre.

    Luckily I'm one of the customers where this price rise will only cost me £1. But once my contract ends, I'll look at alternatives. Not because the service is poor, far from it, but simply because I can, though given the alternatives off our exchange, it's liable to be Zen or not bother!

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "four months' worth of bills at once"

    Okay, Plusnet will obviously not forget what they are owed, especially since they kept the service alive even though they could not bill for it.

    Still, it is entirely their fault, so recovering four months' worth in one go seems a bit exaggerated. Plusnet should spread it out over eight months billing 150% per month.

    But hey, that would be a correct thing to do, so beancounters won't think of it.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "four months' worth of bills at once"

      I suspect that the beancounters who made that decision don't know what it's like to struggle to find £80

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plusnet has been repeatedly ranked the most moaned-about ISP

    how the mighty have fallen.... Let me guess... BT takeover?

  6. Rick Leeming

    I was a Plusnet subscriber until about a month back. Worked perfectly with 65Mb until someone (kell yComms) messed with the pole outside and the speed dropped to about 4mb. Plusnet booked an engineer who then cut me off totally (Kelly again), and he only turned up after 10 days. Took a further 12 days to then get an Openreach guy out who tested my line, and said there was a break in the cable "42 M away", so at the pole. He fixed it, and Plusnet then tried to tell em they needed to get another engineer out to fix the line "properly" before they would put my speed up. This would also cost cost me a chunk of money "If no fault, or a fault with your internal cables was found". The idea that the Openreach guy had already resolved the issue, so no fault would be found, and I'm not paying out the suggested couple of hundred quid for nothing seems to fly right over their heads.

    They did promise to also pay me back some cash for the service I had been unable to use. that didn't happen either.

    So now I'm on Virgin, who are relatively cheap, relatively quick, and while their CS is a bit poop I expect it.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Having been a customer of both Plusnet and Virgin, I can tell you emphatically you've made the wrong change there.

      Your 4mb becomes 0.4mb (dropping down frequently and for extended periods to zero). And you can substitute months for the days to get it fixed - if you can contact them at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Want until you re-new with virign...they apply their annual increase about 30 days after you renew...regardless of what iin the year you re-new with a deal ha ha!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re. Want until you re-new with virign...

          well, I was with plusnet too, and I too moved to virgin. And, while I hate virgin "pay us or fuck off" attitude, there was really no contest there, as price for virgin package was about the same as the bt landline + plusnet internet package. The difference: UP to 6 Mbps from plusnet (and numerous speed restrictions aka "traffic managementt", a newspeak for speed throttling,which were, frankly, annoying). This, versus 50Mbps from Virgin and - at least on the face of it - no restrictions (not I've been upgraded free to 100 Mbs). The last thing that pissed me off about my plusnet broadband and made me switch was when BT introduced a fee, a fiver each month, if I remember correctly, to "handle payments" for line rental, unless you sign a long-term contract or something.

          Now I pay around 37 quid with Virgin for 100Mbps (which I get), v. around 32 GBP for UP TO 36 Mbps I might get plusnet (and I've lived long enough with "up to" to know what it means in real life), plus, no doubt, plusnet would add free bandwidth management (aka throttling).

          ALSO, having got rid of the landline, I stopped wasting money on landline calls (with no landline I was forced to move to skype (and mobile for strictly necessary calls).

          All that said, there's no love lost between me and Virgin, I do think they abuse their position of a monopolist in most areas, and the superior speed gives them the upper hand when dictating the price. However, they did spend a lot of money to install their network (well, their parent company did), and this investment seems to be paying off. I can't see though, in any short or mid-term, any technology cheap enough to might challenge their monopoly in more than isolated spots. 5G is just a buzz word, when some areas in the UK still struggle with 3G and, if I remember vaguely from my last trip to the Highlands, with any coverage at all.

      2. rmason Silver badge

        obviously experience varies greatly with location etc.

        Our virgin line is solid, almost 12 years a customer (an 18 month break when we tried a new BT based provider and immediately fled back when we could!)

        In that time we've had about 3 faults, all resolved either same day or next. We get the advertised speed that is well over anything a BT based line could get.

        Your experience sounds terrible, but it's not representative, or they'd have no custom.

        Shit support it shit support yes, but you get that 9 places out of 10.

    2. JimC

      > They did promise to also pay me back some cash for the service

      > I had been unable to use. that didn't happen either.

      Sounds as if they inadvertently might not have been billing you for it either!

    3. dave 81

      Another nail in the coffin

      > So now I'm on Virgin

      Out of the frying pan into the fire.

  7. EastFinchleyite

    Race to the Bottom

    As far as I can see , every ISP markets their product as the greatest thing since sliced bread. They position themselves as either high quality/modest price or good value/acceptable quality.

    They all lie. They haven't got a clue when it comes to balancing quality and price. Their marketing and engineering functions meet at Board/C level if they meet at all. The Board looks at the bank balance, share price, predicted dividends and most importantly their share options.

    Treat ISPs like you would a local pub; if the beer is crap move to a different pub. Don't waste your time complaining to the manager or brewery unless you have a lot of free time to waste.

    I have been a buyer of Plusnet broadband services for several years. They are my third ISP. The moment they screw me up I will move on.

    Loyalty to an ISP is pointless unless they are loyal to you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loyalty to an ISP is pointless unless they are loyal to you

      actually, this statement applies to ANY supplier of ANY product or service these days. Unfortunately for me, the default position is that they WON'T be loyal (and this is based on regular experience), so I don't even don't bother taking "loyalty" into account when buying their product, and I'm even more suspicious when they dangle "loyalty" to buy my custom. Dangling costs nothing, loyalty, apparently, is too expensive for them, so fuck it. Or, on second thoughts, perhaps this is how it should be: business is business, all's countable and easy to calculate the cost of. Loyalty / trust, on the other hand is reserved for social interactions. Which, sadly, also appear to get mixed up with "business", when "social networking" is based on a business. Sad state of affairs.

  8. Securitymoose

    Easy to moan...

    ...but I've always had excellent service from them. If they try to hike the price, get on to the UK call centre, and get them to look out a better deal. Usually, they have an offering as good (or better than) what you are losing, as long as you sign up for another year or two - at a fixed price. If not, then's the time to look around.

    BTW, this applies to a lot of your suppliers - insurance being the biggest annoyance. Always get on to them and challenge them to find you a better deal (no, you don't need a robot rodent with a foreign accent).

    1. robidy

      Re: Easy to moan...

      Wish I could double upvote :)

    2. Matt_payne666

      Re: Easy to moan...

      Id have to agree here, been with them for the past 3 years now... not quite the cheapest, ive not had to call them much, the call centre is UK, but on occasion ive had a long wait...

      They allow the use of your own equipment, supply static IP for a sensible price and are in general as good as everyone else...

      I managed to haggle a good enough discount on my last renewal so best of a bad bunch I suppose!

  9. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

    Crappy business models

    After repeated price hikes from Sky I just moved my entire TV/Phone/Broadband to Virgin. Sky seem to think that you won't notice if they add a few quid to your phone cost, then a few months later a few quid to your TV cost and a few months later to your Broadband cost. My package has gone up well over 25% in the last 2 years. So, I now have a year with Virgin, and if at the end of that year Virgin won't offer me a comparable deal to this year, I'll move back to Sky. Even with the "install" costs, it's cheaper to switch from one to the other every year and you always end up with the latest kit. These companies need to learn that they are pissing their customers off with this eternal focus on new customers. They are now in a mature market and need to forget that old business model.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Crappy business models

      I was with Sky TV for years. I mean well over 20 - probably even closer to 30 - and going right back to their very early days of an analgue (big round) dish and seperate receiver and decoder.

      I was a subscriber to their full package because the kids liked movies and I would try to watch the occasional F1 race or other sporting event.

      But I was getting more and more frustrated at their drip-drip-drip price increases and when it crept up to almost £100 per month I had enough. To be fair, I'd had enough way before then but the ex wife and kids did make good use of the package.

      When I called to cancel, they were quite willing to lob almost 50% off the montly price there and then.

      But I'd made my mind up to leave, so I processed the cancellation and switched to Freesat. There was a bit (ok a lot) of moaning initially because in fairness to Sky their GUI has always tended to be both very slick and very intuitive whereas the GUI in the Linux based Enigma 2 variant boxes is anything but*

      But...they got used to it. We still have the options to pause, rewind and record live TV as well as the very convenient series links. We don't miss anything premium as ultimately it tends to find its way to Netflix, Amazon etc and I'm a happy bunny.

      With regards to ISP's - I was with Nildram initially when ADSL first arrived here. They were bought (I forget who by) and it tanked, so I moved to Sky when they first rolled out their ADSL product line. After them I tried Zen who, despite most people loving for their quality and service, were truly dreadful to me - I had sub dialup speeds, pings would disappear into the ether and it was totally, utterly, unusable for the time it was in and all they would do was say the problem must be at my end.

      I switched to Be and they solved the issues from the get-go and were brilliant. Then FTTC arrived and the only provider was BT, so I went with them for a few years on a business contract.

      Again, though, the drip-feed price increases began and by the time I left, between the phone line, the static IP's and the actual broadband, it was topping £75 a month!

      Vodafone business fibre with double the number of static IP's, no line rental** and UK call centres who, on both occasions I've called them were brilliant, costs me £32.50 per month all in. And I can't recommend them enough.

      * That was until I found Wooshbuild Infinity which does all of the difficult work for you - orders the channels properly for your region, adds decent skins (though I like the default, personally) and a whole load of other plugins and add-ons that are incredibly handy.

      ** Yes I know they effectively bundles the line rental and they just don't list it as a line item, but still.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Crappy business models

        Nildram and Be, I used both of them years ago and liked them. In both cases they got bought out and then things changed...

        Come to think of it pre-BT Plusnet also used to be good too.

  10. zaax

    With 5g around the corner they are going to have very heavy competition, in the next few years

  11. mrdalliard

    I went mobile...

    I was a PlusNet customer for years, but their customer service has been a continual race to the bottom since they were acquired by BT. Instead, I now use 3's mobile broadband. Admittedly the speed isn't quite the same as a fixed line, but it's cheaper, has been pretty reliable (I work from home fairly regularly with it) and I don't have to worry about OpenWretch coming along and screwing up the infrastructure.

    Fixed-line telcos need to be nice to their customers, or else whey will go they way of the dinosaur.

  12. Chloe Cresswell

    Hmm, no broadband with out line rental will be fun for my Mum's line.

    The phone line is under contract with my Mum.

    The broadband is under contract with myself. I can't give permission for them to take over the line, I'm not the legal party involved.

    I will have to keep an eye on this...

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      According to the article, no-line contracts are no longer available for new subscribers, it shouldn't affect your mum's existing contract. For now.

  13. Locky Silver badge

    I miss Bulldog

    Works fine for 18 months, back in the early days of ADSL all worked fine for an acceptable speed (for the time) of about .5mbps and then one day, no sync

    After numerous calls, rebootings, new routers and engineers, I finally got the the answer;

    "I'm sorry Sir, your house is too far from the exchange"

    The irony that it hadn't been a week before seemed lost on them

    1. BugabooSue

      Re: I miss Bulldog

      Not saying they were not full of brown stuff, but in the "early days of ADSL" you could get higher speeds initially as there was a lower overall noise floor due to most lines carrying just POTS telephone calls.

      As more and more folks signed-up for ADSL, the noise floor went up (due to carrier signal/data crosstalk between the physical cables) and speeds suffered accordingly.

      At the extreme range of 8km from our exchange, we initially managed to get just under 1Mbps on an early ASDL2 Draytek. 5 months later, we were getting about 720kbps during 'quiet hours' (0300-0600hrs). By end of contract (1yr), it was down to about 350kbps.

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