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Broadband ISP Plusnet UK Predicted to Launch FTTP in H2 2021

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 21,912
plusnet uk isp logo image 2020

After an excruciatingly long wait, budget conscious UK ISP Plusnet finally looks set to move into the ultrafast broadband era by launching their first Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband packages later this year. The product also seems likely to be accompanied by a new router (possibly a re-brand of BT’s Smart Hub 2).

Plusnet – part of the BT Group – was actually one of the very first broadband ISPs in the UK to start trials of Openreach’s new full fibre service back in 2010/11 and, as a result of that, many people naturally assumed that they would also be one of the first to launch a related package. But those trials came to an end in 2018, just as Openreach was starting a major national FTTP rollout, and the trail has since gone cold.

Meanwhile, almost every other Openreach based ISP worth their salt has already launched an FTTP package, including BT’s other sibling EE. All of this has left Plusnet in a somewhat awkward position, as the only one of the mainstream players without any full fibre or gigabit speed broadband services to offer their customers.

The first sign that this untenable situation was about to change came earlier this year, after Plusnet’s marketing department began to confirm (here) that ultrafast broadband services were being planned for 2021. Fast-forward to April 2021 and two of their customers have recently informed ISPreview.co.uk of how the provider’s support team told them FTTP would be coming this “summer.” Naturally we queried this with the ISP.

A Plusnet Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re always looking at new ways to provide simple, reliable broadband with award-winning service to our customers – including new products like full fibre and a new hub over the next year. We can’t share anything more right now, but when we’re ready, our customers will be the first to hear about it.”

In terms of the new router, Plusnet has recently been taking BT’s kit and re-branding it (e.g. the Hub One is effectively a Home Hub 5A), often with a few of their own tweaks. As such it stands to reason that whatever follows may well be a re-brand of their Smart Hub 2, particularly as we’re expecting BT to launch a Smart Hub 3 in not too distant future (here) and Plusnet rarely gets the latest kit – a good way of using or re-using existing stock.

At the time of writing, we don’t yet know precisely what packages Plusnet will offer or how they’ll be positioned versus BT and EE, which are already offering their FTTP tiers alongside some fairly attractive prices. All of that presents a problem for PN, which has traditionally been positioned more as BT Group’s low-cost brand. Hopefully they’ll find a way to keep that tradition going.

UPDATE 8:35am

Plusnet has now indicated to us that FTTP is expected to launch a “bit later” than summer.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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46 Responses
  1. Pip says:

    I hope one of the tweaks they make to the Smart Hub 2 is the ability to separate the 2.4 an 5 bands.

    1. Cookie says:

      You can already separate the 2.4 and 5GHz bands on the Hub 1, BT hub 5 and Smart Hubs

  2. Nick says:

    No G.fast from Plusnet?

  3. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

    Stupid rule? That’s a pretty standard health and safety rule to help prevent a ladder sliding away from a wall.

  4. Onephat says:

    Martin completely agree. Surely you’d let him drill a small hole rather than picking him/her up off the pavement. Seems a ridiculous reason to refuse an install, I hope they charged him.

  5. André says:

    I dunno. Whilst the rationale is obviously laudable, is there really no other reliable way of stopping a ladder sliding other than damaging the property the ladder rests against?
    (I freely admit that I don’t actually know how big and deep the drilled holes are)

  6. Phil says:

    But yet they have to drill a hole from a ladder that isn’t attached In order to attach a ladder. Never heard of such a thing before.

  7. Nabs says:

    The Openreach engineer who did my install used my drainpipe to anchor his ladder for my FTTP install.

  8. Mark Jackson says:

    @Phil. There’s a balance of acceptable risk involved with all works, it’s a question of where you draw that line vs the regulations. The alternative is to put up expensive scaffolding, which is slow and unnecessary for a small job, but that too also carries some risk. You can not completely remove the dangers from every job, so it’s a balance.

  9. Nabs says:

    I’ve left plusnet this month after 9years with them because they were not offering FTTP.
    When I questioned they said they had no plans to offer it, clearly lied to!
    They used to be a fantastic ISP but seem to have gone downhill of late

    1. James™ says:

      Their call centre staff probably never knew, I have friends working in Sky centres and I hear things before them.

    2. John says:

      You weren’t lied to.

      How on Earth is Margaret from Sales or Angela from Billing going to know what products Plusnet are launching in the future?

      No ISP invites the entire customer call centre team to their boardroom meetings.

      Call centre staff don’t have a clue what products are launching or when they are launching.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      In my experience that isn’t entirely true. Effective support staff have to be trained up before a new product launches (some products get months of prep), otherwise customers will suffer a glut of confusion at launch.

      Likewise, staff from different departments do intermingle at work (harder in the current COVID-19 climate), so some will get access to knowledge that others may lack. But obviously they won’t have access to all the details.

    4. NE555 says:

      They won’t want the call centre staff to know all the forwarding-looking plans, because then they might start promising things to customers that can’t be delivered, or aren’t delivered in the originally expected timelines.

      That makes customers even *more* upset.

  10. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

    @André The hole is actually pretty small (about 0.7 to 0.8cm) wide, generally around a height of 1.5 metres from ground level. In all jobs I’ve seen, they then fit a rubber stopper in the hole (so can be used again) which is generally colour coded as close as possible to the brick (I’ve seen brown for bricks and cream for rendered walls).

  11. Meadmodj says:

    This would apply equally to any CP utilising any of Openreach’s overhead PIA (T&Cs). All employees or contractors need to follow their company guidance.

    HSE : where you cannot maintain a handhold, other than for a brief period (eg to
    hold a nail while starting to knock it in, starting a screw etc), you will need
    to take other measures to prevent a fall or reduce the consequences if one

    So this allows for an anchorage to be created initially so that a ladder can then be made secure for two handed installations and maintenance.

  12. 125us says:

    Presumably he’d have been happy with a hole being drilled for the cable to enter the house, just not one so that the technician could work safely? Odd priorities.

    A third of all accidental deaths at work are caused by falls from a height – about one a fortnight. Securing a ladder with a bolt is an easy way to greatly reduce that risk.

  13. 125us says:

    @Phil why would the hole have to be drilled by someone standing on a ladder?

  14. Nick says:

    UPDATE 8:35am

    Plusnet has now indicated to us that FTTP is expected to launch a “bit later” than summer.

    Haha – that’s will never gonna happen! Don’t trust plusnet on this one!

    1. Peter says:

      Has to happen, Openreach are retiring the copper network – so the business has to go to FTTP or close down.

  15. Dush says:

    I’m happy they are launching a service. Paradoxically despite being the budget ISP I’ve felt the service they provide is better than most other providers I use. I can raise tickets, call a support team that’s UK based and seem to pick up the phone quickly. Compare that with Virgin which is a complete crap shoot.

    Plusnet is my backup circuit but I’m most confident in it because any issues I can actually contact them with out call centres or being on hold for hours.

    1. Web Dude says:

      I know this was a few months ago, but reading “Plusnet is my backup circuit” makes me assume you are using Plusnet Business service which (a) has 24×7 customer support (unlike the residential service which dropped overnight, and (b) seems to offer far better answering times than the last time I was with PN (I recall ringing an hour before their expected closing time and still being on hold 90 minutes later – I would have expected an answer, or a change to tell me they were now closed, rather than to be left in a queue which was definitely not going to be answered for several hours – if, indeed, the queue wasn’t automatically cleared sometime in the night, for a reboot/ maintenance period).

  16. occasionally factual says:

    Plusnet’s reasoning for not moving on from the FTTP Trial with a retail product has been that their systems cannot handle setting up FTTP.
    For the trial they manually altered the database for the systems to work. When the “new billing” system was introduced they had to stop doing this as it caused issues i.e. corruption.
    So the trial couldn’t take new users nor could existing trialists change their product.
    So the question is “what has changed”?
    Are Plusnet planning a new back office system or have they found a way around the issues?

  17. paul patterson says:

    Just been told that Plusnet FTTP will not go ahead this year. Probably in 2022 now. They need to training staffs, upgrading network system.

  18. Keith says:

    Just been talking, today, to some engineers running cables. Apparently, someone in our street has ordered FTTP and a small number of houses between the cabinet and that customer will also be able to get FTTP. This includes us <50m from the cabinet.

    It's a shame therefore to read the above in that we have only just signed up to an 18 month Plusnet Fibre contract.

    After many years with TalkTalk on a superb quality 80 / 20 Fibre which was suddenly beset with many, apparently unfixable by TT, speed and quality issues (appears to be a common problem currently from reading the TT support forum – you have been warned!)problems which disappeared when we moved to Plusnet…

    Having said that, it does depend on the price so maybe waiting a while may be worth it.

    1. David Gordon says:

      Bt will pay for your cancellation costs up to £350 if you switch to them for fttp.

  19. Tom says:

    Better late than never,

    My BB package is up for renewal next Feb, which is around the time we’re expected to get FTTP so this mean no messing around with moving to another provider and paying through the roof for a static ipv4 address which is only a flat fee of £5 from Plusnet whereas with others it’s more than £5 per Month!!

    1. john says:

      @Tom static ipv4 address which is only a flat fee of £5 from Plusnet whereas with others it’s more than £5 per Month!!

      That’s could be disappear under FTTP. Static IP Address could be charging per month this time.

  20. Dylan says:

    Sounds good. I hope the packages are at least decent because their current best, 80/20, is really showing its age.

    Naturally, this would happen after our new contract had started.

  21. TDS1 says:

    Been with Plusnet for a few years on their higher FTTC package and very happy with it. Now, here in Haywards Heath, Virgin Media appear to be calling up the entire town. But Virgin’s customer support is legendary ….. in how bad it is, so we’d love to see some FTTP competition here from Plusnet.

    1. TDS1 says:

      *cabling up….

  22. Colin McNab says:

    I can’t see the problem in drilling a hole to secure the ladder if it bothered him that much it could always be filled in later.

  23. Rich says:

    I’ve got a small hook on my wall that Sky put in years ago for attaching their ladder, so its certainly not a new thing.

  24. ian says:

    but they have to drill a hole to get the cable through…

  25. Nigel says:

    I talked My 84 yrs young FIL into switching from Sky to Plusnet. I’m extremely sorry to say that although I dislike Sky as they treated my FIL’s loyalty with content, the switch was a very painful one. The ongoing performance after some 5 months now is shocking. Bring back the good times, let’s buffer through the 12 months. Can’t wait to switch back to Sky. Never thought I would ever say that.


    1. PaPaw says:

      I don’t know specifics of your issue but I have been with Plusnet for about 14 years now and have never had an issue that was not infrastructure (openreach) related. Over that time I have a read a lot of comments from people regarding issues though and I think some of it comes from the router Plusnet supply.

      I work in IT and have always used my own equipment, maybe why I have never had issues? I also have clients using Plusnet that are connected to my home 24/7 without issue, again using routers I had specified.

      I don’t know what equipment you have to hand but maybe you could try the sky router if you still have it. Just a thought.

  26. ian says:

    lets hope they offer packages with landline as well.

  27. plusnetgarbage says:

    pathetic useless company. Money stealers

  28. Nicholas Kulkarni says:

    Have queried Plusnet on this and they flat out deny it.

  29. Tristan Collins says:

    Just rejoined plummet form Vodafone. What a relief. I switched to voda after many happy years with plusnet and it was a disaster. Terrible line appends and millions of drop outs. Now back to plusnet and I know I’m at the maximum achievable speed for my line and no drop outs. Looking forward to upgrading to fttp with plusnet when it becomes available. My only advice is to use a BT router rather than the plusnet supplied one. Far superior.

  30. allkno says:

    i’m taking whatever Openreach and Plusnet say with a pinch of salt. when you consider that, like most UK ISPs, Plusnet uses and relies on BT equipment, maintained by Openreach and the only way to get FTTP is for Openreach to actually do something to improve the system! it makes no difference which ISP you are contracted to, all the equipment is hired and if you have an issue with one ISP, moving to another wont make the slightest difference. the biggest problem the UK public has is being treated in the usual, official and disgraceful way. this treatment is now enhanced by Ofcom etc and the Ombudsman because the ISPs are now allowed to do whatever they want to customers when poor connection speeds and constant router reboots are reported. any more than 3 complaints and the customer can be left with as crappy a service as they have complained about originally!
    i found out that a reported fault that was supposed to have been repaired 2 years ago hadn’t been. after it was, my continuously degrading broadband speed miraculously improved. now, after 110 days of no issues, it’s failing again, losing almost 5mps over 10days, but Plusnet have refused to do anything unless the speed falls below their guarranteed minimum, a speed that they kept reducing so as to not have to call Openreach out to sort out problems. for Plusnet to advertise how wonderful their service is, they need to try it themselves and as for the FTTP, if that proves to be as much of a problem as the FTTC, it wont be much good! it’s no good keep saying what’s gonna happen and how good it’s gonna be if you dont have the back up and even more, are just gonna drop any customer in the mire, simply because the service isn’t as it was/is portrayed. have the decency to live up to the adverts and actually give that service, always, not just to con people into joining you!! and before anyone jumps in to say ‘change provider’, read what i wrote further up about problems not going away just because you change ISP. almost all use BT equipment, so a fault with talk-talk is a fault with Plusnet!

  31. William says:

    I was hoping for a good alternative as I have a FTTP new build and BT has been our only option. While I can have 900 service, I only pay for 80/20. Weirdly, EE works out a tad cheaper (31 vs 32.99) but on the higher tiers it gets very bizarre. BT comes out better. BT 150 vs EE 100 is 34.99 vs 39, 300 is 44.99 vs 47 and 900 is 54.99 vs 60.

    It’s odd how they have made EE more expensive than their own core brand. PlusNet I’ve had experience with when I lived at my parents and their service was hands down, the most reliable. I’d love to have FTTP through them but I can’t believe they’re dragging their heels this much.

  32. Andy says:

    About time. I asked Plusnet about FTTP when it became available for my ‘exchange only’ house (ie no FTTC fibre), I was told I’d have to move to BT or EE, which I haven’t done as I’ve been with Plusnet since the 90’s. I want Plusnet support and my Plusnet email address going forward.

    1. Tom says:

      If you want to keep your PlusNet email, get them to downgrade your account to ‘dial up’ when you change supplier. Keeps you email ‘alive’. No charge at present, but as PN are part of BT, I’d expect this to change to being a chargeable service. Both BT and TalkTalk did this for over the last couple of years for customers who don’t pay for another service, think BT is now £7.50 per month (£90 per year) to keep your @btinternet.com address.

  33. Richard Barton says:

    Well that never happened. Next year?

  34. John says:

    I see plusnet seem to be close to launching a new router, the hub two, looks similar to BT’s current offering – maybe fttp will follow shortly

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