Affordable - one of the cheapest providers in the UK
Unlimited broadband - no download or upload usage allowances
Fibre packages available - speeds averaging 66Mb download and 18Mb upload available in enabled areas
Phone bundles available - add an inclusive minutes call plan to any package, from £4 additional monthly cost
UK-based customer services - get support from a guaranteed UK call centre
More expensive in areas outside of high competition areas - those in rural areas are most likely to be affected by this
Well above average complaint levels - Ofcom figures for January 2020 show Plusnet have the second highest level of complaints compared to other major broadband suppliers
Annual CPI plus 3.9% price rises - prices for broadband, line, call plans and call charges will increase with the Consumer Price Index plus 3.9% in June 2021, March 2022 and then annually each March onwards
Features at a glance
Download speeds average 10Mbps for standard broadband, 36Mbps for Fibre and 66Mbps for Fibre Extra
18 month price contracts offered as standard, cheaper 12 month contracts may be offered during promotions
All deals come with unlimited usage
Many deals with free or discounted activation
UK-based telephone support. NB: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Plusnet have limited contact centre opening hours, see their website for details
Safeguard online parental controls - easily block or allow websites and categories with no download needed. Plusnet Protect powered by McAfee - optional security suite of Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Anti-Spam protection (£2 extra on standard fibre)
Free N-rated wireless router with standard broadband, AC-rated for fibre
All broadband packages include line rental, inclusive minutes phone packages may be added from £4 a month extra
Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for Plusnet.
Ordered and paid for fibre Broadband January 12th 2021, after complaints due to be connected March 3rd. 2021 Currently with John Lewis which is Plusnet managed and delivered. Totally unacceptable and incompetent management. Avoid at all costs.
Received bill on 10th Feb 2021 via email. Cut off 11th Feb 2021. 24hrs is the best they can do. Could not even login to pay on plus.net website, had to fiddle around on 4g on a phone.
It's the way the system "works" is the response.
Do you think people should be treated like this? Especially during covid?
Abysmal practices, I'd go elsewhere if I was you - as I will be doing as soon as this contract ends.
Shocking! Do NOT use Plusnet. Have been cut off twice within 2 months. The first time we didn't have internet for over 2 weeks due to a huge error on Plusnets side.
I think this is the worst Firm on the planet its run by most delinqunet people I've ever spoken to. Do not use them, hope it goes into liquidation to save us all.
Customer service is diabolical to say the least no phone for three weeks broadband speeds of 0.45 mbps
Nothing but problems. Hours on to customer support in the two weeks we’ve had it. Utter shambles.
The worst Fibre Broadband ever, Plusnet never tells you the true speed, they con you into Ultra Fast Fibre Broadband of speeds up to 79Mbps but they only deliver 20-22Mbps on WiFi and up to 40Mbps on Ethernet connection. So, unless you run cables from the router to every computer in the house or every mobile phone (impossible) you will only get 20-2Mbps max. Biggest CONNS in the market
Last week, I logged into my PlusNet account and changed my direct debit instruction. ( changed banks as I had closed one of my accounts )
A few days later, I received an email stating that they had been unable to collect my direct debit payment. In my opinion, this was due to the fact that they had failed to act on my new updated direct debit mandate and tried to collect the payment from my old ( now closed ) bank account?
Following receipt of the email I immediately phoned and explained what had happened as I was very concerned about missing my payment. During that call, I offered to pay the outstanding amount, but was told that this was not possible at that time and I should wait for a second email to arrive before trying to pay? That same evening, I noticed a serious restriction on my broadband services. I could not even connect to the PlusNet web site? I telephoned again and after paying the outstanding amount I was informed that it would take a further hour before my service would be restored!!
I expressed severe unhappiness at this time delay as I wished to stream a live football match and would miss most ( if not all ) of this match, before my service would be restored.
When I asked to speak to a manager, the representative I was speaking with simply hung up on me!!
All of the above was totally unacceptable behaviour on the part of PlusNet!
I have been a PlusNet customer for many years now and generally found them to be an excellent service provider. However, this recent incident leads me to believe that there has been a massive reduction in their customer care policies.
If they are going to restrict a customer’s service, then at least contact them in advance of doing so, to give them the opportunity to pay. ( I had already offered to pay in the morning)
They need to improve their systems so they are aware when a customer changes bank /direct debit details.
They need to improve the time it takes to restore a customer’s services after they have restricted them—1 hour is far too long. ( I bet it didn’t take an hour to implement the restrictions )They need to train customer service representatives ,so that they are aware that it’s not good practice to hang up on an angry customer! ( I was angry and asked to speak to a manager, but at no time was I offensive or rude)
Note that they sent me an email with a link to enable me to pay the outstanding amount. However, by then they had already restricetd my broadband service, ensuring that I could not even follow the link, so I had to telephone them again in order to make the payment that I had already offered to pay them that morning!
TOTALLY DREADFUL SERVICE!!!
Newcaslte Upon Tyne
It makes me laugh when I see adverts for Plus Net. They pay so much for advertising yet treat their customers with contempt. Perhaps they do not pay enough to have quality staff in customer service or maybe they are just out to grab money from anywhere. I had to pay a fee for leaving. I left because my broadband simply did not work. Avoid them at all cost
Can't actually speak for the internet quality, but I moved house on 12/01/2021 and we were guaranteed the internet to be installed and working by that week. I can work with a weeks delay, even 2 weeks at a stretch but it's now 04/02/2021 and we've only just had it installed completely.
Maybe it's OpenReach that's the problem, which is understandable due to the virus. But the support Plusnet has provided has been dreadful and completely uninformative. They keep you in the dark about everything, and just say "there's a problem" with certain things and that it'll take a week to fix. Week goes by, no fix and no idea what the hell is going on with the internet connection.
What's more is they charged a £80 setup fee. Great, a setup fee to have my internet installed a month late and provide me with a loss of earnings from work. Thanks Plusnet, you really did me proud.
Make sure you read the terms carefully when you take out a new broadband deal: there's a growing trend for some providers to sneak in new clauses promising significant mid-contract price rises.
The four BT Group brands - BT, EE, Plusnet and John Lewis - have now all announced new policies to allow bigger price hikes on their deals. They will see annual increases equal to the consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate - plus an extra 3.9% on top.
Previously, ISPs would typically peg their rises to the CPI, or in some cases promise none at all.
Plusnet, for example, have effectively replaced their heralded fixed price guarantee with the guarantee of at least one - and potentially two - price rises over the course of a broadband deal.
BT, meanwhile, no longer offer contracts shorter than the two-year maximum that Ofcom allows. That means you'll be paying at least 7.95% more at the end of your deal than you were at the start.
Here's what they've announced:
BT and EE are using the CPI published every January. The price rises go into effect from 31st March each year, and apply to customers who signed up after 1st September 2020.
For the 2021 increase, Plusnet and John Lewis are using the CPI published in April and applying the increase from 1st June. After that, they're using the CPI published every January, and adding the increase to bills from 1st March. It affects customers who signed up from 7th October.
If you're on an older deal and still within your initial contract period you won't be affected by these changes until the time comes for you to renew. If you're out of contract you will be affected, although you should never stay on an out-of-contract deal for long.
So how much more will you be paying? For reference, the CPI rate for December 2019 was 1.3%, so that's the rate by which your price would have gone up on most deals. Under the new policy, that increase would have been a hefty 5.2%.
The Bank of England's target for the CPI is even higher at 2%. Of course, with the uncertainty that comes from the UK being in the middle of the biggest economic slump in 300 years, it's hard to predict what that rate will be in future. Needless to say, negative inflation won't result in a discount as that 3.9% will stay in place regardless.
What can you do?
Ofcom rules state that you can quit your contract without penalty if your broadband provider introduces "unexpected" mid-contract increases. But by announcing these plans, and writing them into your contract, they won't be classed as unexpected, so there's no escape.
What you can do instead is ensure you factor in the changes in your monthly charges when you're comparing broadband deals. And also keep in mind the date you sign up. If you take out one of these deals in February or March you'll be hit by an immediate price hike.
This move makes genuine fixed price guarantees more valuable than ever, especially if you're signing up for longer than 12 months. TalkTalk, italk and SSE are among the suppliers still offering them, so if you want clarity over what your bills will look like over the next couple of years they're worth checking out.
Fast, reliable broadband is a must-have for any student house. And given that it can take a couple of weeks to set up, it's one of the first things you'll want to get sorted when you move in for the new term.
If you haven't signed up for your own broadband package before, we'll tackle some of the questions you might have here.
It's all pretty straightforward, but as a student you won't have quite as many options as everyone else. Contract length is absolutely vital - you don't want to be saddled with a long term deal that you have to keep paying for during the summer holidays or beyond.
And with all the corona-driven uncertainty this year, flexibility is more important than ever. Let's take a look at some of the things you need to know.
What speed do you need?
Your usage is probably going to be pretty high, so the fibre deals in the 60-67Mb average speed range should be your starting point.
You might get away with one of the slower fibre packages if there's only two people in your house, but in most cases the extra speed will be worth more than the fiver or so difference in price.
Faster is always better, of course, and you might be lucky enough to be living in an area where you can get speeds over 100Mb - and sometimes quite a lot more. These might come from the normal fibre providers like BT or Sky, from Virgin Media, or in 5G areas through the likes of EE and Three. Just make sure you keep an eye on the contract length and any setup fees for these faster deals.
What length contract should you get?
Short contracts are key for student broadband, so don't even consider those that need an 18 or 24 month commitment.
12 months is the longest you should go for, but even then you'll end up with quite an overlap with the summer break where you're still paying for your internet while you're hitting the beaches in Spain. Don't rule these out entirely, though, as they might still work out cheaper than a shorter option.
BT offer a few nine month deals that align much better with your term time. Some broadband suppliers, including NOW Broadband and Virgin Media, also offer 30-day rolling contracts that you can cancel at any time. These are best for zero-commitment broadband, but they do often come with significant setup fees. Be sure to factor that in when you're comparing prices.
Do you need any extras?
If Netflix isn't enough and you want a bit of sports action or some more of the latest US shows, you can save some money by adding a pay TV plan to you broadband deal. You won't be able to do this through Sky, as they only offer TV on an 18 month contract, but you can get 30-day deals on NOW TV streaming with NOW Broadband.
For any overseas students in your house, consider adding a call plan with support for cheap international calls.
Who pays the bill?
Even though you'll be splitting the bill with all your housemates, one of you is going to have put their name on the contract. It will be their responsibility. This is one of the reasons why you don't want to sign up to anything longer than 12 months, tops. You don't want to be stuck paying your broadband bill long after your housemates have moved on.
It's a good idea to assign each one of your utilities to a different person in your household so you share the risk. To help manage bills you can also look into setting up a shared bank account across the household, or take a look at apps like Splitwise that make it easier to see who owes what.
Best broadband deals for students
So, what student broadband deal should you choose?
BT offer three plans specifically for students. They're nine month deals, with speeds ranging from 36Mb to 67Mb. You can add a Sports or Entertainment TV package, as well as call plans including cheap international calls to 236 countries.
For one month contracts, you've got two main choices:
NOW Broadband - speeds range from a sedate 11Mb (don't bother!) to a much more suitable 63Mb, with the option to add streaming TV plans as well. All of them come with a £65 upfront fee.
Virgin Media - speeds on the 30-day plans range from around 54Mb all the way up to over 500Mb. Many setup fees have been waived on the 1 month rolling contracts that are specifically for students, but bear in mind that installation takes longer if your house hasn't had Virgin before.
Your other options are for 12 month contracts. When you add in the setup fees and slightly higher prices for short deals, these year-long plans may still end up being competitive, even though you'll still be paying in July and August when you don't need it. Among your best options here are:
John Lewis Broadband - speeds go up to an average 66Mb, with no activation fee, and usually include an e-gift card as a bonus.
Plusnet - speeds up to 66Mb, with just a £10 activation fee. You also get the option to add BT Sport - with Premier League and Champions League football - after you've signed up.
And there's one last thing to consider - broadband over 4G or 5G. This won't be right for everyone: 4G speeds are better for one or two users rather than a large, heavy-use household, and though 5G is blazing fast it still has very patchy coverage. If you're in the right part of London, Three's 5G Home Unlimited plans look good, and include a 12 month option. Find more great mobile broadband deals here.
Ready to start shopping for student broadband? Use our postcode checker to compare the best broadband deals available in your area today.
Plusnet Broadband Buyers Guide - Is Plusnet right for you?
Can I get Plusnet?
Plusnet is owned by BT and benefits from BT’s network covering most of the UK. With a good 95% of homes covered, you should be able to get Plusnet broadband
However, while coverage is not an issue, it's important to know that Plusnet do charge different rates depending on where you are in the country. If you're in what Plusnet classify as a 'low cost area', where other providers have also installed their equipment at your local telephone exchange and there's lots of competition, you will get your broadband at a cheaper price. If, however, you're in a non-low cost area you'll pay in the region of 50% more each month. Plusnet's price areas are not arbitrary, they're based on market classifications provided by Ofcom.
The good news is that you're unlikely to be affected by this unless you're in a remote rural area. Plusnet say that 99% of the homes they cover are in low cost areas. You can find out if this applies to where you live by using our postcode checker.
What packages are available?
Plusnet offer three core broadband packages in a variety of configurations. You can choose your length of contract, and also get them with or without a phone line.
These are the three basic Plusnet broadband deals:
Plusnet Unlimited - unlimited standard broadband with an average speed of 10Mb
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre - average download speeds 36Mb, average upload speeds 9Mb, unlimited usage
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Extra - average download speeds 66Mb, average upload speeds 18Mb, unlimited usage
All three deals are unlimited, with no traffic prioritisation. For each one you can choose between a contract of 12 months or 18 months, but special offers may only apply to one or other contract length.
All Plusnet Broadband packages come with Plusnet's basic line rental only package, where you only pay for the calls you make, but you do get free calls to other Plusnet customers and Plusnet support. Plusnet offer the option to add an inclusive calls phone service to any of these packages. For an extra £4/month you can upgrade to Evening, Weekend and Mobile calls, and for £8 a month you can upgrade to Unlimited UK and Mobile calls. Finally, you can upgrade to Plusnet International Anytime 300 for an extra £8/month, which comes with free inclusive anytime calls to UK landlines and 300 inclusive anytime minutes to 35 international destinations as well as 25% off top international call destinations outside of your 300 minutes. Mobile calls aren't included in this.
You need to pay line rental to Plusnet with all packages. This cost is included in the advertised price, not charged separately, although you can save on line rental fees by paying for a year up front.
Lastly, you can add a subscription to BT Sport for a price starting at £5 a month, depending on whether you want to watch it through an app, a YouView TV box, or have it added to your Sky satellite service.
Which package should I choose?
An important first question to ask yourself is whether you need the speed of fibre if you can get by with standard broadband speeds.
The extra speed is indeed much faster and thus a tempting prospect, but there is no point paying for it if you’re not going to use it. Plusnet’s ADSL speeds averaging 10Mb are easily sufficient for most online activities including Skype calls and downloading music. However, this is not the case if you live far enough from a telephone exchange that your ADSL speed would be very low.
It would also be worth getting fibre if you are a heavy downloader, or regular gamer, as these are both activities that would benefit from the extra speed, reducing download times and preventing lag in games. Fibre packages will help also prevent slowdown in households with many heavy internet users, such as student flats or homes with large families, where one connection has to be divided between several people.
If you're a heavy uploader, perhaps because you share your own YouTube videos or use cloud backup and sync services, or if you're in a busy household where several people may be streaming HD video at once, then you may benefit from the upgrade to Unlimited Fibre Extra offering up to double the download speed and almost 10 times the upload speed.
Points to consider before you choose
How far do you live from a BT telephone exchange, and will this be a problem for your ADSL speeds?
How many people will be using your broadband connection at any one time, especially for heavy downloading or online games?
Are you a heavy uploader, or someone who uses cloud backup and sync services?
Is fibre optic broadband available in your area?
Is the extra expense of fibre broadband really worth it for you?
It's always good to know upfront what you'll get when signing up with an ISP so you know what you can enjoy for free, or to budget for any extras you may want.
Wireless router - All new customers signing up to Plusnet will receive a free wireless router. On the Unlimited deal you get an N-rated Hub Zero, and on the fibre plans you get the more up-to-date Hub One. This is AC-rated, giving it a stronger signal over a greater range. If you wish to use your own router instead, Plusnet will allow that provided you check with them that it is compatible.
UK-based customer service - Unlike most other providers, Plusnet’s customer service is entirely based in the UK, and is available between 7:30am and 10pm, 365-days a year to help with any queries you may have. All Plusnet phone customers get free calls to Plusnet's customer service.
Plusnet Protect - Powered by McAfee, Plusnet Protect is Plusnet’s internet security package free to Unlimited Fibre and Fibre Extra customers, available for an extra £2 per month for standard Fibre after a three month trial. Up to 7 PCs can be protected through its anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing and firewall tools. It also allows you to set parental controls to filter what children using the internet can access.
Static IP available - Customers on Unlimited Broadband and Unlimited Fibre Extra can add a static IP address for a one off payment of £5.
What are the benefits of Plusnet?
The benefits offered by an ISP may be what seals the deal in your decision to buy a package from them.
Cost - Plusnet is among the cheapest of the large providers, making it a good choice for those on a tight budget or those who just like to save money.
Unlimited usage on all deals - There's no reason to choose between price and usage allowance when Plusnet's entire range of broadband products come with no limits on the amount you're allowed to download or upload each month.
Value line rental - All Plusnet packages include line rental, you can cut the cost of this by paying a reduced price for a year of Plusnet line rental up front, producing a significant saving over the monthly rate.
What are the drawbacks of Plusnet?
Let's face it, not everything can be perfect, and even the best deals may have a downside.
Few extras - Unlike many of the larger providers, Plusnet does not offer much in the way of extras like wi-fi hotspot access, online TV (apart from a BT Sport subscription) or a home move service. However this is reflected in the cheaper cost, and it does not affect the core broadband service.
Higher rural prices- Although Plusnet is owned by BT, their packages are still cheaper in some areas than others. The cheapest prices tend not to be available in rural and remote areas - although due to the Ofcom market classification mechanism this is tied to, Plusnet are still likely to be the cheapest or among the cheapest stand alone broadband on any exchange.
Complaint levels - Ofcom figures show that Plusnet are second highest in the complaints table covering the eight main broadband providers.
Annual CPI increases apply - As of October 2020, Plusnet no longer offers a fixed price guarantee, instead prices for broadband, line, call plans and call charges will all increase in June 2021 by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation published by the Office for National Statistics in April of that year plus 3.9%, and then will raise again on the same CPI plus 3.9% basis each March from 2022 onwards. Other prices, content and terms may also change during your contract.