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UPDATE What Next for PlusNet’s UK FTTP Home Broadband Service

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 (6:30 am) - Score 5,570

Questions have been raised over the future of PlusNet’s ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband product, which until the end of last month had been offered as part of a trial for the past FOUR years (effectively acting as an unofficial product option), but is now closed to new subscribers.

The ISP, which is a BT sibling, become one of the first Internet providers to offer an FTTP product over BTOpenreach’s national UK telecoms network in July 2010 (here). At the time PlusNet’s service, which initially offered FTTP speeds of 100Mbps down and 15Mbps up, was a closed trial and only available to people in related parts of Milton Keynes.

Back then BT had ambitious plans for making FTTP available to some 2.5 million premises and in early 2012 PlusNet moved to take advantage of the slowly expanding availability by upgrading their service into a full customer trial (here). Since then the service has continued to take on a trickle of new subscribers.

However FTTP suffered a blow when, during early 2013, BT confirmed that their commercial roll-out plan for the service had been radically scaled back (here), although we note that a number of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) connected schemes are continuing to foster its deployment and some 150,000+ premises should now be within reach (here). This figure should continue to rise but BT sadly won’t speak about firm targets.

However, despite this admittedly limited progress, customers will now have one less ISP choice for taking an FTTP service on BT’s network after PlusNet suddenly closed their four year FTTP trial to new subscribers.

Matt Turner, PlusNet Support, said:

Just to let you know, we’re no longer accepting any new customers onto our FTTP trial.

Any orders in progress will continue, everyone on the trial will remain on the trial and we’ll of course keep supporting you.

No need to worry, we’re not ending the trial. If anything changes then we’ll let you know. Thanks.”

Since spotting this announcement some weeks ago ISPreview.co.uk has repeatedly attempted to contact PlusNet’s various different PR agents, all without success. At this stage it’s unclear whether our hails have been deliberately / accidentally ignored or if the holiday period is to blame, although it’s unusual for an ISP that’s normally quite good on the communication front.

Hopefully PlusNet’s withdrawal is a positive sign, one that might suggest the imminent introduction of an official commercial product. But equally it may also be a hint that the ISP sees no immediate future in offering FTTP due to the limited availability and potential for confusion with their existing, if slower, FTTC packages. Certainly one less choice of ISP for the domestic FTTP market is unwelcome, although officially FTTP from PlusNet was never a real (non-trial) product.

Over the past year BT’s own consumer division has also made it harder to see their related FTTP packages (e.g. BTInfinity’s 200Mbps Option 3 and 300Mbps Option 4), which were once more prominently promoted alongside the standard broadband and FTTC products (possibly they’ve done this to avoid confusion given the limited availability). But there may still be hope as BT has previously suggested that this could change in the future.

UPDATE 12:53pm

PlusNet’s Product Manager, Peter Jackson, has kindly been in contact to update us on the situation. Apparently the short answer is that PlusNet simply doesn’t see a need right now to take on more trial applicants.

But the good news is that the trial will continue and PlusNet were keen to stress that customers who are located in areas where FTTP is the only service available to them, and Business users, are welcome to discuss availability with the ISPs sales team before the product is made more widely available.

Reading between the lines, the mention of their FTTP product becoming more widely available also appears to hint at a commercial launch in the future and PlusNet confirmed this but aren’t yet in a position to set dates or comment officially.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar No Clue says:

    “PlusNet’s Product Manager, Peter Jackson, has kindly been in contact to update us on the situation. Apparently the short answer is that PlusNet simply doesn’t see a need right now to take on more trial applicants.”

    But they did for four straight years… Id had thought if they were going to give a nonsense answer to your enquirers they would had came up with something better than that.

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