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UK ISP PlusNet Gifts GBP75 to New Unlimited Broadband Subscribers

Saturday, October 18th, 2014 (7:43 am) - Score 918

Internet provider PlusNet has enhanced the promotion of their existing unlimited broadband (up to 17Mbps) and phone package, which is currently priced at £2.49 per month for the first 12 months of service (£9.99 thereafter + £15.95 line rental), by also offering to return £75 (cashback) to new subscribers after they join.

Customers of the package will also get “truly unlimited” usage, a free wireless router, free activation, free weekend calls to UK landlines (plus free calls to 0845 / 0870 numbers and other PlusNet customers), online security and parental controls and a 12 month contract applies. As usual Anytime calls can be added for an extra £5 per month (free evening and weekend calls are £2.00).

Apparently the Cashback offer itself is only available when signing up online. Once your broadband and home phone are activated you’ll receive an e-mail that should explain how to receive the £75 cashback cheque (usually it will be sent via post).

The eagle eyed among you will also notice that their advertised speeds for the same package have magically increased from “up to 16Mbps” to 17Mbps, although we continue to have our doubts about the accuracy of these adjustments given that the same ADSL2+ tech still exists underneath (NOTE: the advertising watchdog requires ISPs to only promote the best speed achieved by 10% of users).

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33 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    There may be a good reason why the top decile performance is going up on ADSL, so enabling a higher “up to” rate to be advertised within ASA rules. That’s because, as FTTC becomes more widely available, there is a good incentive for those at the lower end of the ADSL speed spectrum to upgrade. There is less incentive for those who already get acceptable speed with ADSL. In consequence, we might expect to see the speed distribution curve for ADSL services to move up a little over time.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Certainly, though I remain unconvinced that the adjustment from ISPs advertising ‘up to 14Mbps’ around 18 months ago to 17-18Mbps today can be accounted for by that. Not forgetting to consider that all the big ADSL2 ISPs seem to follow this trend, seemingly regardless of whether they’re unbundled and have different capacity supplies with fewer users on FTTC. No I’d ideally like to see hard evidence from each provider.

    2. Avatar No Clue says:

      The only problem with that theory about all those with rubbish ADSL speeds upgrading to FTTC is that if FTTC suddenly has more customers its top 10% speed is also likely to change, either for the better or more likely worse, so why has that not been altered?

    3. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @No Clue

      Possibly because there’s no relationship between poor ADSL speeds (which depend on distance to exchange) and poor VDSL speeds (which depends on distance to cabinet).

      The other difference is that ISPs don’t sell a single VDSL “up to” package. For instance, BT have a “up to” 40Mbps and “up to” 80Mbps packages. The fact that ISPs don’t have banded “up to” packages at different prices is due to the way that Ofcom have allowed the market to develop.

    4. Avatar No Clue says:

      None of that enters the equation. The quoted speeds ISPs are allowed are based on atleast 10% being able to reach the quoted speed.

      If you start off (ill keep this simple) with 200 ADSL users and 100 VDSL(FTTC) users and lets say 50 users upgrade from ADSL to FTTC then the figures for users on FTTC and ADSL changes.

      ADSL now has less users than it started with (150) where as FTTC suddenly has an equal amount of users as the ADSL package and more users than it started with (IE an equal 150) users.

      The fastest 10% when FTTC had 100 users would had been a measure of 10 users (10% of 100 is 10). If 50 more sign up to FTTC you then have 150 users so the fastest 10% is a measure of 15 users (10% of 150 is 15) the speed figure for the 10% measure thus changes. Unless the new 50 customers all get a speed what was in the range of the original 100 users (unlikely as you are adding a 50% user base) then the top 10% speed figure has to go up or down.

      The same goes for ADSL if you start off with 200 users on that the top 10% measure is based on 20 users (10% of 200 is 20) if 50 leave/upgrade to FTTC then that leaves 150 users on ADSL or the fastest 10% becomes a measure of 15 users (10% of 150 is 15). Speed thus in the ADSL case goes up as suddenly all the slow people have left the service and the 10% measure is now based on less users.

      You can make it even more simple by imagining a company has a single customer getting the FULL 80Mb. they take on a new customer (IE see they now have 2 customers) and that user does NOT get the full 80Mb, that means their average 10% figure changes.

      Further more even factoring in your argument typically if an ADSL users with dreadful speeds is upgrading to FTTC then yes they are likely to be closer to a cabinet, but there is NO WAY in hell everyone upgrading is going to get the same speeds or be the same distance……. Thus the speed percentages for your customer base again change.

      Its simple percentage based maths which obviously you do not comprehend AGAIN.

    5. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      You seem to be assuming that 10% of users on FTTC can’t get the full 80mbps or 40mbps speed. There seem to be quite a large number of people who can get the full speed. Of course there’s a reason for that. The 80mbps speed is considerably below the theoretical limit for VDSL2, unlike the 24mbps limit for ADSL2+. Of course, the frequency plan and ANFP restrictions don’t allow for the full VDSL2 speed to be achieved in the UK, but even allowing for that, 80mbps is considerably below on some lines if a cap wasn’t applied.

      It’s also rather complicated to work out what 10% means on the 40mbps service, as the 80mbps service isn’t available to all. Neither, for that matter, is the 40mbps service (BT have other packages for longer lines from the cabinet). So what is the 10% a measure of? Certainly far more than 10% of premises can receive more than 40mbps.

    6. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      nb. the 17a frequency (used in the UK) allows for up to 100mbps, and those with line lengths from the cabinet of 200m or less should (on a clean line) be able to sync at up to 80mbps. Users of lines longer than about 700m should not be offered the 80mbps service. It’s a bit tricky to work out what percentage of premises are within 200m of a cabinet. It’s going to vary greatly by locality and house distribution.

      The following is a useful summary. The speed I get seems to be bang on what is predicted by the chart. (My line length is about 600m and I sync at about 57mbps).


    7. Avatar No Clue says:

      “You seem to be assuming that 10% of users on FTTC can’t get the full 80mbps or 40mbps speed.”

      NO im assuming because its mathematically logical, the more users you have on FTTC the more chance that top 10% speed changes and changes for the worst. Unless you are trying to say as a customer base grows the top 10% stays exactly the same. Which is obviously nonsense as both BT and Plusnet used to be advertised as upto 80Mb but are now upto 76Mb.

      This makes everything else you have to say on the matter utterly 100% redundant, if most could get 80Mb they would not have to advertise it as upto 76Mb, infact the rules state only 10% would have to get 80Mb for them to be allowed to advertise it as such, clearly 10% do not get 80Mb with it being advertised as upto 76Mb though.

      As i said its simple maths which you can not comprehend.

    8. Avatar Raindrops says:

      Makes perfect sense, number of users changes on a product the 10% figure is likely to change. If all the new users get near the top end of things speed wise the 10% of your customer base and the speed they can get likely goes up, if the new users get slower speeds the 10% speed figure goes down. Not sure why anyone could not understand that. Doesnt matter if its ADSL, FTTC, FTTP, Cable or any other product.

    9. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      Of course the upper decile figure will change if the distribution of line speeds change as more users sign up. However, you have to postulate a mechanism. Mere numbers will not do (save that with a smaller sample you get more statistical variations, but I’ve no doubt ASA rules apply over national numbers, not those connected to individual cabinets or exchanges). Such national numbers are going to be quite large.

      I’ve postulated a reason why the upper decile figure for ADSL will go up as those with the lowest speeds have got the most incentive to move. However, that doesn’t mean that, by doing so, those premises will change the connection speed profile for VDSL. Of course it might be true that if you are a long way from the exchange, you are statistically more likely to be further from the cabinets. Arguably that holds true more in rural areas, and maybe BDUK will gradually drag down the VDSL2 “speed profile” for this reason. However, that’s a bit speculative. I’m not sure anybody knows.

      So, to repeat, just because a lot of customers move to FTTC does not, in itself, mean that the overall speed profile will move. That’s apart from the little issue of increased cross-talk of course, although if/when vectoring comes along, this could work the other way.

      Also, to be clear, ASA rules will apply across different products. The “10% rule” should apply separately to the 80 & 40mbps products and their customers (and, of course, any other products ISPs come up with – some have capped speeds below the OR wholesale sync-rate packages and are retailed as such).

    10. Avatar Raindrops says:

      “….but I’ve no doubt ASA rules apply over national numbers, not those connected to individual cabinets or exchanges….”

      No the rules apply on a per ISP and per package and the speed customers of the ISP get, bugger all to do with national stats or cabinets.

      This shows you have no idea what you are on about or how the 10% rule ASA rules work.

    11. Avatar Raindrops says:

      Its quite simple the more people that join FTTC from any provider the more chance the top 10% speed goes down. That is why 40Mb is now 38Mb and why 80Mb is now 76Mb. That figure will (or it should if ofcom are bothered to check ISP claims) come down even more as more join the service.

      Take up is currently only around 20% for FTTC generally for any ISPs customer base.

      So anyone upgrading and staying with their ISP going from ADSL to FTTC would need to fall into the top 10% of that 20% customer base for the FTTC top 10% speed rate to remain the same or better. Somehow i doubt if that many are upgrading they all fall into the top 10%. You would get better odds of Elvis being found alive on the moon than that happening.

      I agree people leaving ADSL the speed of ADSL can go up….. Less users, all the slow ones gone, so yep the average speed goes up……. THE EXACT OPPOSITE would happen for them moving to FTTC though, unless you somehow can bend the laws of physics or can somehow guarantee they are all going to be in the top 10%.

    12. Avatar No Clue says:

      So more customers on ADSL = slower 10% speed and less customers equal higher 10% speed. Yet on FTTC he thinks this is reversed. I imagine he uses the force to manipulate that. Or more likely he just can not count.

    13. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      I’m not sure if you are deliberately misunderstanding me, but it should be obvious from context, that when I said national figures (as opposed to locality), it was the national averages for that particular ISP which is the entity the ruling applies to.

      Incidentally, the reason why up to 80mbps is no up to 76mbps, and 40mbps is now 38mbps is not due to dilution of the upper decile figure from a reduction in speed, but as from a technical change in the definition. The previously advertised figures were for sync speed whilst now, due to the ASA ruling, not only does it have to be the top 10% figure but, most importantly, it has to reflect the data rate. There are several layers of network overhead in such things as framing, which means that the data rate is lower than the sync rate. You’ll see that 80 to 76 and 50 to 38 are precisely the same ratio.

      Those with a longish memory will recall that when BT first launched ADSL with fixed speeds, the sync speed was higher than the advertised rate. For example, the 512kbps service was actually set to sync at 576kbps to allow for those overheads. (ADSL speed increments were in units of 32kbps – the extra 64kbps was there to allow for the overheads as 32kbps wasn’t quite enough). From memory, the 2mbps service actually synced at 2272kbps, but I may be mistaken. Note that those speeds allowed for things like framing, ATM and IP header overheads. However, when the LLU operators came along (and it was LLU operators that first advertised “up to”), they chose to use the sync rate as the headline figure, not the data rate net of overheads.

      This is not to say that, the results won’t get diluted by a higher proportion of longer lines, but that is not, from my research, why the headline “up to” figures have gone down. It’s due to the technicalities of implementing the ASA ruling.

      This doesn’t cover all that, but it does explain that the drop in VDSL advertised “up to” speeds came about from the ASA ruling and doesn’t reflect an actual change in results.


    14. Avatar Raindrops says:

      “I’m not sure if you are deliberately misunderstanding me”

      Nobody understands you because you have nothing to say that makes any sense.

      “Incidentally, the reason why up to 80mbps is no up to 76mbps, and 40mbps is now 38mbps is not due to dilution of the upper decile figure from a reduction in speed, but as from a technical change in the definition.”

      Why are other ISPs still selling it as 80Mb then, why do BT wholesale still advertise it as 80Mb?

      Why did you here http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2014/10/uk-isp-plusnet-gifts-gbp75-new-unlimited-broadband-subscribers.html#comment-148428 claim the current product can go at 100Mb and everyone within 200M should be able to get a full 80Mb sync? Theres no such thing.

      Why are Virgins figures unchanged (that even has overheads) or is it because they unlike BT allow for the overheads, which is why you see speedtest from them exceeding their MAX 152Mb but you never EVER see a BT FTTC based speed test exceeding 80Mb.

      All mysteries only you will never comprehend.

      I spose one positive from this post is from your explanation we have discovered BT NEVER EVER sold a customer a usable 80Mb of bandwidth.

    15. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      as usual, you contradict yourself. You are quite right, BT never sold a service that could deliver 80mbps of data. Nor, for that matter, did any of the LLU operators (who invented the whole up-to product set) ever deliver 24mbps as, it’s quite simply impossible due to overheads. Once the market was established using sync speed, not data rates, then everybody else followed suit.

      As to VM then it’s a different technology where sync speed is essentially meaningless. It’s a shared capacity with speed essentially capped in the configuration files. It’s that “cap” which is advertised.

      Incidentally, everything I’ve stated on this interminable thread is accurate as far as I can see. The history of the “up to” model and LLU operators advertising sync speeds (rather than data rates) is there for anybody who cares to check it out.

      As for your interpretation of my statement about ISP national averages, then I suspect that’s either a problem you have with dealing with context or a deliberate misunderstanding. I leant towards the latter, but I’m now think the evidence is favouring the former explanation.

  2. Avatar adslmax says:

    What happen to ADSL2+ up to 21Meg? Has BT removed this and now capped up to 18Meg?

    1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      If you read the article, the ASA have decreed that there can only be services advertised as “up to” what the highest decile can reach. Just because BT only advertise “up to” 18 will not mean that some lucky folk won’t be able to achieve higher speeds (and that does for other ISPs).

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      I know of ADL2+ users whose premises are almost next door to a local exchange, yet they only get 20Mbp/s, still are far cry from the theoretical 24Mbp/s. These many up-to-whatever speeds are just another facet of BT’s fraud-band.

    3. Avatar No Clue says:

      You would have to be more than lucky to get MORE than what any UPTO package is. Though some idiots would not want you to believe it.

      Based on a simple example of an ISP having millions users and the UPTO Mb figure being based on what 10% on the product can receive then on a service which has say 2,000,000 users total the top 10%’tile would be 200,000 users.

      That means your chances of getting MORE THAN the advertised UPTO rate on a product if you joined it tomorrow are less than 1 in 200,000. As that 200,000 is the current top 10%.

      Again this is simple maths some minds can not comprehend.

    4. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @No Clue

      Where on earth did you learn your maths? If 10% of existing customers get (say) 17mbps, then the chance of a “representative” new customer also getting 17mbps or more will be 10%. The proviso here is that the “up to” figures used by ISPs are clearly rounded to whole numbers of mbps, and depending on whether those were rounded up or rounded down will alter the odds one way or another (if the upper decile figure was rounded up, the chance of exceeding it will be reduced, if it was rounded up, then the chance will be increased).

      Also, to be clear “representative” means typical of the current user base. If there’s a systematic bias (e.g. new customers tend to have longer lines for some reason), then the odds will change.

      To be clear, my mathematical credentials include A levels in both pure and applied maths and I graduated in physics from Imperial College in 1976. I’ve no doubt they could confirm.

    5. Avatar Raindrops says:

      “@No Clue

      Where on earth did you learn your maths? If 10% of existing customers get (say) 17mbps, then the chance of a “representative” new customer also getting 17mbps or more will be 10%.”

      LOL no it would not, you have more customers (IE A HIGHER AMOUNT OF NUMBERS) so your chances become less not greater. A bit like the lottery and your chances of picking 3 numbers is greater than you chances of picking 6 numbers.

      Or to make it very simple for you… Being on a game show and having 4 doors (those each have customers behind them), only one has the jackpot 17Mb prize (or if you want the 17Mb customers behind it waiting to congratulate you). Your chances of picking that 17Mb prize are thus 1 in 4. (or 25% chance of getting the 17Mb). If there were less doors (or customer groups) lets say 2 doors then your chances of getting the 17Mb prize (or joining the 17Mb lot) are 1 in 2 or 50%.

      Its no different to anything where you fall into a group of something, the more varied the group the less chance you have of getting the best grouping.

      The higher the amount of customers the lesser your chance of being in the top 10%. Thats just common bloody sense.

      Using your logic you think the more people involved in a pyramid scheme the greater the chance you are going to get a pay off…… I suggest you run along and invest in various dodgy email schemes if you think that is how maths works.

      LMAO, ive seen stupid before but this now takes the cookie.

    6. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      What are you talking about? To adapt your misleading example, there isn’t a single 17mbps “prize”. There are a number of “prizes” equal to 10% of the total number of competitors. So if there are 200,000 17mbps “prizes” for 2 million competitors, if you add another 10 , there will then be 200,001 “prizes” for 2,000,010 “competitors. The chance of being in the top 10% are exactly the same. (Subject, of course, to normal statistical variations – with small increments of numbers you could, indeed, get times when a run of 10 or more new customers didn’t reach 17mbps). If the new customers line characteristics are different then, over time, that 17mbps figure will, of course, change as it should always reflect the speed that at least 10% of the customers are able to reach (or exceed).

      Only if new customers’ lines are not typical of those of the old will the chance be less than 10%.

      (I’m also beginning to suspect that @raindrops and @adslmax are just different handles for the same person).

    7. Avatar No Clue says:

      And poof just like that percentages confuse him AGAIN

    8. Avatar No Clue says:

      Or lets go along with him, yes 200,000 prizes of the FASTEST 17Mb and another 1.8 Million chances or prices of something slower…… Congrats DOH!

    9. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Naa Steve

      Raindrops != adslmax
      Raindrops = No Clue (and a whole host of other id’s)

    10. Avatar GNewton says:

      “That means your chances of getting MORE THAN the advertised UPTO rate on a product if you joined it tomorrow are less than 1 in 200,000. As that 200,000 is the current top 10%.”

      Hmm, correct me if I am wrong, but I always thought that according to the ASA rule, if the ISP advertises an up-to 18Mbps ADSL2+ service, then at least 10% of its customers must achieve a speed of 18Mbps or faster. Is my understanding correct here?

      Anyway, my further point was that I have yet to see any ADSL2+ users with a synchronized line speed closer to 24Mbps, even on the shortest lines it hardly ever more than 20Mbps. That was similar with the ADSL debacle which was supposed to be an up-to 8Mbps, but hardly ever was faster than 7.2Mbps or thereabout even for the shortest lines.

    11. Avatar Raindrops says:

      10% of the user base on the product advertised have to be able to achieve the speed that is advertised.

    12. Avatar Raindrops says:

      “Or lets go along with him, yes 200,000 prizes of the FASTEST 17Mb and another 1.8 Million chances or prices of something slower…… Congrats DOH!”

      It was obviously wrong to try to explain to him something in very simple terms if he can not even grasp that

  3. Avatar adslmax says:

    On BT Availability Checker as I think ASA should look into this below because BT never metion what speed if the crosstalk and cabinet is fill up:

    For FTTC Ranges A and B, the term “Clean” relates to a line which is free from any wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions, and the term “Impacted” relates to a line which may have wiring issues (e.g. Bridge Taps) and/or Copper line conditions.

    Throughput/download speeds will be less than line rates and can be affected by a number of factors within and external to BT’s network, Communication Providers’ networks and within customer premises.

    1. Avatar X66yh says:

      So go and make a well thought out and argued complaint to the ASA then.
      moaning on forums isn’t going to get anything done
      The ASA don’t go out looking for things to investigate you know, they rely on members of the public to complain to them.

      Note you cannot make a generalised complaint about industry practices – you need to make a specific complaint about a specific advert/statement from a particular company.

      Their contact address to make your submission is:
      Advertising Standards Authority Limited
      Mid City Place
      71 High Holborn
      WC1V 6QT

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      ^ what a great idea it would get rid of most of the repetitive bile posted on here by the same people

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