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BT Boss Says Future of Low Cost UK ISP Plusnet is Under Review

Tuesday, Sep 6th, 2022 (12:19 pm) - Score 30,240
plusnet uk isp logo image 2020

The CEO of BT’s Consumer division, Marc Allera, has revealed that the future of their low-cost phone and broadband ISP sub-brand, Plusnet, is under assessment. The move is understood to form part of their ongoing work to turn EE – over time – into their “flagship brand for our consumer customers“.

The BT Group unveiled their new branding strategy back in April 2022 (here), but at the time they didn’t provide a great deal of detail to help flesh this out. Nevertheless, the UK telecoms giant did pledge that their widely recognise Plusnet brand would continue to “serve customers with basic no-frills broadband and landline.”

However, part of the reason for BT’s change in approach was because the provider had correctly recognised that having both BT and EE in an already crowded market – doing the same sort of things as each other – means “we must have two of everything, and that makes life harder for our customers and our people – two accounts, two apps, two product roadmaps, and multiple systems … we need to simplify things, for everyone.”

The catch here is that BT also sent some mixed messages. On the one hand, the operator spoke of their plan for EE to become the new “flagship brand” for consumers (i.e. converged broadband and mobile plans etc.). But on the other hand, they stated that BT would still play an “important but more focused role” for consumers on standalone broadband and landline services, before adding that “nothing will change for our BT customers.

The CEO of BT Consumer, Marc Allera, has now added further confusion into the mix by revealing – as part of a recent interview with The Sunday Times (paywall) – that the future of Plusnet, which has traditionally been their low-cost brand for broadband and phone services, has now also been placed under review. This is despite previously indicating (above) that Plusnet would continue in its current role.

Analysts have previously suggested that the process of simplifying and integrating the business under the EE brand could to lead to other sub-brands, such as Plusnet, being subsumed into EE. But while Allera did confirm that Plusnet’s future was being assessed, he did not provide any specifics of the review and merely said: “You’ll see some changes over time. You know our future direction.” We’re not sure if we do, Marc.

The biggest risk here is that in trying to simplify their business, BT might inadvertently end up causing unnecessary confusion for consumers. In any case, BT has been clear that such a transition will take time, which we think will probably be measured in years rather than months. However, it doesn’t help that most people still identify EE as being, first and foremost, a mobile operator. Trying to change something that is so well established in the consumer subconscious is often a lot harder than marketing departments realise.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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61 Responses
  1. Avatar photo mike says:

    [admin note: removed trolling comment]

    1. Avatar photo Jon says:

      How is the BT name racist?

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      What a stupid comment

    3. Avatar photo Ste says:

      I have never read such a pathetic comment.

      Mike, are you a member of the woke brigade?

    4. Avatar photo Norman Kennett says:

      I changed from EE to Plusnet because their mobile and broadband packages were much more simple and Plusnet say there are no extra charges when phoning from the EU. I am very pleased with Plusnet at the moment.

    5. Avatar photo Kennett says:

      I changed from EE to Plusnet because their mobile and broadband packages were much more simple and Plusnet say there are no extra charges when phoning from the EU. I am very pleased with Plusnet at the moment.

  2. Avatar photo Racist Bot says:

    Probably because BT use a black router and Plusnet use a white router.

  3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

    Its simple.

    Plusnet will go, possibly some staff consumed into EE/BT.

    Then one less cheaper provider for people to bounce between new customer offers when end of contract.

    This is all about EE/BT charging the max, Plusnet has been a thorn in their side as a cheaper operator. EE will then be trying to bribe you into bundled SIM deals and 4G backup solutions.

  4. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    Plusnet exists mainly to compete with TalkTalk. Without this brand they will lose a lot of customers.

    The two that really overlap are BT and EE: it should be one of those which goes. Or else they have to turn one of those into a low-budget brand.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      I suspect this is what will happen.

      BT Retail will merge into EE (if the market can support it).
      PN will exist to tackle low cost suppliers

      BT Retail and BT Mobile will then cease to exist. BT customers already can get EE SIMs etc. I suspect this is why they’re doing this hybrid path, to get BT customers used to seeing EE.

      I can’t see the BT brand going totally as BT enterprise seemingly does alright.

    2. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      Looking up the day’s ISP news Talk Talk might not be long for this world if they really are close to breaching banking covenants etc.

      So that might be part of the reasoning for slowly killing PlusNet – the segments is in a demise phase. The nearing end of the ADSL and VDSL networks in a lot of places removes a lot of the historical room for manoeuvre with the budget brand(s).

      The main BT brand is a disaster for SME businesses.

      So yes, I can see EE being the premium brand.

      How to handle SME business broadband properly – that is the question that has not be answered by BT at any level. ATM the only real solution is to go 3rd Party like Cerberus using the OR network.

    3. Avatar photo Darren says:

      They don’t just compete against TalkTalk – there is also Vodafone out there too. I was on Plusnet until Airband started offering 50mbps wireless broadband to this area and Plusnet/BT really couldn’t be bothered installing anything faster than 2mbps copper cable. OpenReach come down our street the other week to install new fibre – and apparently fibre is coming to our area. Difficult decision though – do I stick with Airband which now works perfectly and gives us 50mbps broadband which is more than fast enough for us or when they launch fibre do I go with fibre – even though we were with PlusNet I’m more likely to go to Vodafone for fibre though as Vodafone supply our mobile so it would be a cheaper deal rather than risk returning to a BT brand that kept us on 2mbps broadband for years and only did something about it when a rival service was launched rather than actually looking after their customers.

  5. Avatar photo Scott says:

    Pretty much spot on what we are expecting after various industry announcements.

    BT Brand may retreat from the retail market but it is repurposed for Enterprise as you suggest. “BT Means Business” is the new advertising tag line.

  6. Avatar photo Sam says:

    It would suck if plusnet goes because they offer services such as static IP addresses. It’s purely no frills phone and broadband. I think they need to consider a lot before doing anything.

    1. Avatar photo AnotherTim says:

      I expect static IP addresses to go fairly soon – at least for new customers. The support for them (e.g. rDNS) is pretty ad-hoc and only a handful of staff can deal with such requests. Similarly for domain hosting. There have been rumours of e-mail being removed at some point in the not too distant future, but I’m not sure there has been an official announcement yet.

    2. Avatar photo Sam says:

      Yes but my NAS is hooked up and I use it alot.. to lose the static IP would mean I’d have to pay through the nose for cloud storage I dont trust.

    3. Avatar photo Alex says:

      Or you could use DDNS? (Not disagreeing though that it would be a shame to do away with static IPs.)

    4. Avatar photo RR says:

      One of the few ISPs that offer the ability to change your reverse DNS too on a consumer plan. Absolute nightmare getting it done though as their staff don’t understand what it is.

      I’m with them as it just seemed the best option for the price.. though my internet is crap but that would be the case anywhere, typical fttc.

    5. Avatar photo AnotherTim says:

      To get static IP addresses I now use AAISP’s L2TP service. £10pm for IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, and it works with any ISP (so I can use 4G backup should my FTTP fail and it just all works).

    6. Avatar photo Rich says:

      I don’t really understand the benefit of static IPs anymore. My namecheap domain is just automatically updated by my UDM-Pro whenever my IP changes.

    7. Avatar photo dee.jay says:

      How does DDNS help with CGNAT which is increasingly popular with ISPs now? You’ve no chance.

    8. Avatar photo Ben says:

      I found quite a few ISPs willing to offer a static IP when I asked them. I’m currently with Vodafone and have a static IP.

  7. Avatar photo Pat says:

    I swear by Plusnet and would be so upset if they went. I have had my mobile through them for years and recently switched my broadband over too. I think BT is probably seen as a bit outdated now and should be the one to take the back seat.

  8. Avatar photo Anon says:

    There is really not a lot of Plusnet left now, it is little more than a brand.

    If you look you’ll see that the only Plusnet employees left are the contact centre teams. The engineers, designers, product owners, seniors etc all got merged into BT Consumer back in 2020. Some of those answering the phones are still in Sheffield/Leeds others are in other BT/EE contact centres or outsourced to Capita.

    They’ve been working to rationalise the three brands for years, it is all driven by the same teams in BT now. Things like Static IP on Plusnet are a legacy that costs them a lot to keep running, just they don’t seem to want to shut them down just yet. As Marc has said the multiple brands just means doing the same things for each brand most of the time and often on different systems.

    As well as broadband they have the three mobile brands, it looks like BT might be the first to go there though. They have the added complication of the Orange and T-Mobile systems behind the scenes there too.

    1. Avatar photo Anon2 says:

      Not quite true, there’s still a sizable development team in Sheffield and Leeds. I do contract work there from time to time, there’s a good 300-500 developers there, about 25% of which are on monthly contracts.

  9. Avatar photo Serf says:

    BT could run a simple referendum of the their customers to guage public opinion which brand do you prefer BT or EE?

    Older customers with landlines and broadband could prefer the BT brand and younger customers with mobiles and mobile broadband could prefer the EE brand.

    The referendum could have a close result like Brexit and suffer from same issues as Android vs Apple.

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      BT are positioning the BT Brand for business and EE for Home users

      PLusnet really no longer fits

  10. Avatar photo angry man says:

    Great! Just started working there!

    1. Avatar photo Buggs8 Deleted says:

      @angry man

      Wasn’t you working there before under the name Anon? lucky for you living in Yorkshire its just down the road.

    2. Avatar photo Buggs8 says:

      Again @angry man?

      Bit of a change for an architect/lawyer but it’s a living.

    3. Avatar photo angry man says:

      As you are clearly the same person I won’t post twice.

      I don’t live in Yorkshire, – unless you consider Milton Keynes to be Yorkshire? I have been one of the people who worked remotely since the Pandemic and perm WFH – I am not Capita I am on a PN tech contract.

      Also I have never been a architect/lawyer – I was a Police Officer until i was stabbed in the back and put in a Wheelchair in 2019 – and yes I retired on full pension after 29 years. Anything else you would like to know?

      I have 6 kids – so yes It’s a living – and one I hope to carry on in another department if Plusnet does go.

    4. Avatar photo Buggs8 says:

      Beyond the pale even by your standards, Mr Coventry. You give yourself away in many ways on Think Broadband and here, tying yourself into your various aliases nicely. That stuff is just silly but claiming to be a disabled policeman is pretty revolting. Plusnet have offices in Sheffield and, more recently, Leeds they need to fill. Why would they hire people to WFH from Milton Keynes?

      Have a look for your previous comments on your other aliases on this site. You might notice they’re gone.

      Not the same person by the way: we’re all flawed but some of us don’t have a strange fantasy life to try and compensate for our real life not being the way we’d like it to be. Posting under a couple of different aliases in quick succession might be in your playbook, though it doesn’t look like it given how your posts stick out like a sore thumb, but it’s not in mine.

    5. Avatar photo angry man says:

      [admin note: removed abusive comment – please stop trolling]

    6. Avatar photo Buggs8 Deleted says:

      @angry man

      Q: How can people tell when you’re lying?

      A: Your mouth moves 🙂 🙂 🙂

    7. Avatar photo Buggs8 says:

      I’m not going to dignify the rest with a response given previous posts. It has more holes in it that a paper wall after a shotgun blast.

      Just a gentle reminder that calling people paedophiles is slanderous. It’s about as obvious a matter of slander as you could wish for. I’m the second person you’ve done it to now. I’m a little busy so will ignore it.


    8. Avatar photo Buggs8 Deleted says:


      @angry mouse always turns to type when he knows he has been caught out.

  11. Avatar photo andrewtjb says:

    Plusnet seems a bit pointless anyway from a cost perspective. It’s a little cheaper than BT but more expensive than other budget ISPs like Vodafone.

    I don’t think it offers anything more than the others.

    On top of that you have the BT social tariff wich is also cheaper than plusnet.

    That said I might be a little biased as I was with them for 18 months and had nothing but trouble.

  12. Avatar photo Shazzer says:

    Why BT mobile is still a thing is beyond me. The latest advert of the lady dancing is beyond me. The company is continually lost . Big Phil seems to want to make it into an overpriced wine bar. It simply can’t be that difficult to make the required changes.

  13. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    With FTTP soon to become the main form of internet there is absolutely no need for plusnet to exist. The prices for FTTP are not really really budget and are pretty much identical to BT and EE. It might be worth keeping Plusnet as an FTTC provider and having BT and EE be solely FTTP based?

    1. Avatar photo Nick says:

      Not for a long time. Only PSTN telephone service is being phased out in 2025. You’ll still be able to use FTTC-SOGEA, that’s Broadband without phone and if you want phone you will be put on VoIP.

      There’s no way FTTP will be ready by 2025 covering all homes and businesses.

      Also Virgin Media’s Cable network is not fully FTTP, it’s FTTC too!

  14. Avatar photo Jason says:

    All a bit weird, indeed.
    From a branding perspective, it isn’t really easy to understand, either.
    BT and EE should just merge into one company… Everything everywhere would fit by name… But BT has the heritage and since 2015 everything with the name “British” is selling well again in this country…
    Plusnet should probably be really a no frills brand like Giffgaff then… Otherwise, they really need to lower their FTTP prices dramatically

  15. Avatar photo Alan says:

    One downside of being a mobile custoer PN, when you a major outage fault on the local 4g EE mast
    PN`s hands are tied and all you get when you call Customers Services about no service is “EE are dealing with the problem and there is nothing else we can tell you”

    1. Avatar photo Jason says:

      Funny thing is that people pay extra for that 4g backup – but any customer with a fault gets free data and the little 4g modem sent to them anyways… I was told that I could keep mine actually…

    2. Avatar photo Squidgy says:

      The 4G backup kicks when the broadband drops I believe. You don’t gave to wait 2 days for it to arrive the post

  16. Avatar photo Billy B says:

    Who would believe a word that comes out of Phils mouth?

  17. Avatar photo Bob says:

    It does not really make sense for BT to have three Brands

    So I can see it going down to two

    BT For Business Users

    EE For Home Users

    There are a lot of savings in reducing the brands to two

    1. Avatar photo markg76 says:

      I hope that’s not the case. I’ll stick with BT thanks.

  18. Avatar photo byebyeplusynet says:

    The biggest worrying issue here is, what will Craig Murray do now ?

    1. Avatar photo Mick says:

      Probably throw darts at a picture of Kevin Bacon.

  19. Avatar photo Colin says:

    Plusnet serves customers with basic no-frills broadband that is without doubt it is the worst ISP I have ever come across. Support is abysmal as it’s reliability

  20. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Glad I left them last year!

  21. Avatar photo Ben says:

    Plusnet are without a shadow of doubt the worst utilities provider I’ve ever had the misfortune to deal with. The broadband service was great when it was working but when something went wrong their customer service was a colossal failure. I’ve never experienced such incompetence. I’ve had hundreds of pounds in compensation awarded to me by the ombudsman. No wonder BT want rid of it.

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      Plusnet bow are part of BT and use the BT network. The only difference is probably the sales and support team

  22. Avatar photo Andy Grey Rider says:

    Tried them all and settled with Zen Internet at every home.
    Not going to get drawn into disrespect.

  23. Avatar photo Viv Burrows says:

    As an existing Plusnet Business customer just had a chat with both online chat and telephone
    Online chat said welcome of course you can upgrade to Full Fibre please call Business Sales
    Called Business Sales, a flat no, we are not offering Full Fibre to Business Accounts
    So we’ll move another line to Cerberus.
    We’ve been happy customers of Plusnet since the Force9 days but the only option they give is to leave

  24. Avatar photo Steve says:

    Thanks for making.y mind up. Just joined plusnet on 18 the august they set up and took first payment of DD booked an engineer to fit fiber on the 5/9/2022 then didn’t turn up or send a router can’t get them on the phone tried 4 times now 30 minutes a time just wasting my life so I think by your comments will cancel and get money back.

  25. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    I can’t believe it costs BT that much other than advertising to keep the three brands going. From what I can tell the equipment is the same (except the colour and some simple firmware theming), the app if not the same should be able to go the same way and I bet the call centers/staff are slowing being merged. I guess maybe there is a decision whether they want plusnet to eat away at the bottom end of the market preventing some upselling to EE/BT but won’t that just force customers to Vodafone etc?

    I think it makes more sense to shift BT to legacy/business, focus EE on fiber and finally Plusnet on scooping up the budget end of both.

  26. Avatar photo oldjimsmate says:

    The real plusnet was a great isp the support staff were great, the community forums were fun friendly and very helpful. Then BT moved in and it all went down hill.

  27. Avatar photo SDDUK says:

    I hope Plusnet don’t go I have a sim only which i have had since a Life mobile deal,
    when Plunet took them over about 5/6yrs ago Plusnet let me keep the life mobile deal to this day.
    i only pay £1.13 a month it was £1 but gone up by 13p over all them years.

    I get 4gb data 3000 mins/text the only trouble is its 3G but other then that its been fine as a backup sim.

  28. Avatar photo Underpaid & undervalued says:

    If this happens then say bye bye to the bt group share price. It’s already dying but this move will kill it off 4 good. This is not good news for either brand IMO.
    Ppl like plusnet more because its not bt (owned but still different). All brands under the group have issue paying fair/good wages and I only see more strikes coming more frequently in these current times.
    As competing FTTP network r gaining traction & taking chunks out of the isp market share. Bt has a terrible staff retention rate and so customer service is the first thing to fall off. If they drastically review wages they would turn around the staff ‘ the public’s view of the BT group. SIMULATED WHOLESALE MARKET making money from every step of production. Wholesale, retail, corporate, the maintenance.

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