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ISP Plusnet UK to Close Down John Lewis Broadband Division UPDATE

Tuesday, Oct 4th, 2022 (10:43 am) - Score 24,704
plusnet uk isp logo image 2020

Budget UK ISP Plusnet, which is part of the wider BT Group, has announced that from today it will no longer be providing managed broadband and phone services to new residential customers under the John Lewis brand and the service will eventually close.

The move appears to form part of the BT Group’s new branding strategy and their work to turn EE – over time – into their “flagship brand for our consumer customers” (here). As part of that, we recently reported (here) that the CEO of BT’s Consumer division, Marc Allera, had put the future of their low-cost sub-brand, Plusnet, under assessment. But at the time, we didn’t know quite what that would mean.

NOTE: John Lewis Broadband is a trading name of John Lewis plc, but the services are provided by Plusnet and the contract for these services is between the customer and Plusnet plc.

The first hints of the answer to that question came this morning after the broadband ISP division of high street retailer John Lewis, which is provided via a managed solution from Plusnet, updated the front page of their website to announce that the service would be closing (this has no impact on Plusnet’s own broadband packages).

The change does not currently impact existing JLB customers, although the FAQ page on their website suggests that they’ll eventually be encouraging customers to move their accounts over to Plusnet. At present, it’s unclear whether existing customers will also be given the option to switch to a different (non-BT) ISP without penalty.

Statement on John Lewis Broadband Site

Thank you for choosing John Lewis Broadband.

This service is currently provided by Plusnet, who are part of BT Group. Moving forward though, John Lewis will be closing its broadband service.

We’d like to reassure you that there won’t be any immediate changes to your service, and there’s no need for you to do anything yet. We’ll be in touch about your options, with plenty of time ahead of your service ending.

A Plusnet spokesperson said:

“Plusnet and John Lewis have worked together for over 10 years to provide a John Lewis Broadband service.

John Lewis have decided to close this Plusnet provided service, with new customers no longer being accepted. As existing John Lewis Broadband customers near the end of their contract, we will be in touch to explain what the changes mean for them and how the Plusnet team can support them.”

The bad news, even for existing customers who eventually move over to Plusnet, is that those who made use of the JLB associated email addresses (e.g. @john-lewis.com, @greenbee.net or @waitrose.com) “will no longer be able to use” them as they’ll be closing those down too. “We recommend you start to look at other email services, like the popular free options from Gmail or Outlook.com,” said JLB. Naturally, BT don’t own the rights to those domains.

We will update this story again later, once BT has responded to our request for a comment. We’ve also heard that Plusnet’s own business products may eventually be impacted by the branding changes too, but this has not yet been confirmed.

UPDATE 12:38pm

We’ve added Plusnet’s statement above. The operator added that, as customers come to the end of their existing contract with JLB, they will be contacted and given an offer to keep Plusnet as their broadband provider instead.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
25 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Matt says:

    Force9 and free-online to go next? Madasafish went a while ago.

    Wonder if this is part of the plan to cull the extra services (like email) that cause issues but aren’t adding any real value anymore.

    I mean simplifying their portfolio and keeping PN,EE and BT still works I guess if PN lose their ~3 sub brands (F9/FO/JLB)

    1. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      I think so too. Longer term I suspect plusnet will just be left as a low cost but not heavily advertised option to help pick up those wanting to save money (and prepared to hunt for a deal). Its obvious BT see EE as the main customer ISP now. (Which is a shame as in my eyes EE is a rip off based on their mobile contracts – £13.50 for 1gb sim only – I’m on 8gb for £8!)

      My worry is for all those using the obscure ISP email addresses still. Its going to be painful. I remember losing my freedom2surf email early on and investing in domain to allow easy switching in the early 2000s.

    2. Avatar photo Alex says:

      Isn’t the only thing left of Force9 and free-online the domains?
      They consolidated the logins with plus.net in 2007, the domains just redirect to plus.net.

      It would cost more in admin time to migrate everyone to new accounts (you can have the same login name on different domains, I had mine on Force9 then plus.net for my work account) than to just keep those domains and leave things as they are. AFAIK they’re all just one database, so really no point changing that.

    3. Avatar photo Jazzy says:

      Yes Cheesemp, I was with EE for my mobile for about 18 years from the old days or Orange. When BT bought them the offers dwindled and prices went up. Wanted £60 for a new iPhone13 and 10GB data. Went direct to Apple for £32.45 a month for the phone and put a GiffGaff sim in it and ported my number

      One receipt of a pac code request they phoned and dropped the seal to £50 which was still £10 a month more than going direct to apple & a sim

      Never again would I have a contract – PAYG for me

    4. Avatar photo Matt says:

      @Alex
      The login portal for Plusnet still has you pick between Plusnet, F9 and FO. I’m assuming the back end systems are still at least partially separated for this reason.

      The back end systems at PN have always been a bit shocking. Changing their billing platform went pretty badly and i’m pretty sure murmurings at the time were because there were just so many different rules and integrations it was a bit of a beast.

  2. Avatar photo Phil says:

    I think Plusnet will cut down and closed three smaller isps F9, FO and JLB to leave just one ISP on it own – Plusnet but I think it will soon be only two ISPs to choice BT or EE once Plusnet could be closed down in future.

  3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    I’m amazed they let users register waitrose.com email addresses, I guess that was a decision made in a more innocent time.

    1. Avatar photo Christopher says:

      Agreed. Scammers paradise.

    2. Avatar photo Ben says:

      May as well get an @conservatives.com email address whilst you’re at it (that’s a joke, by the way)

      Very surprised they were giving away email addresses for their main brands though.

      Bit of a pain for those customers who need to change their emails though – changing your email on everything is a lengthy/annoying process as someone who’s done it recently. Especially as many websites/companies/apps don’t even let you change it or make you go through customer support to do it.

    3. Avatar photo MilesT says:

      I think Waitrose employees use waitrose.co.uk.

      And I remember having to migrate my tesco.net email address (which to be fair Tesco kept up the free email many years after they exited the dial-up service which originally issued the address, including having to recover and migrate the email platform in short notice to a new solution after having a bit of an email data loss disaster–partially recovered but not 100%).

  4. Avatar photo Dave says:

    I’m with “JLB” (can’t help but think of JLB credit from Peep Show). I’ve looked at a few options recently but have a few months left so haven’t done anything yet but now I guess it’s inevitable.

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Probably worth checking out bidb.uk and seeing what’s available – if however you’re happy with JLB/Plusnet as is (Speed, Support etc.) and you have no other requirements, I’d be tempted to wait for either a) black friday and move, or b) end of contract to see if they try and entice you to a PN account from a JLB one.

    2. Avatar photo Dave says:

      Thanks Matt, wasn’t aware of bibd.uk.

      Unfortunately I’m in an area with very little in the way of LLU, no 5G, no fibre plans etc.

  5. Avatar photo MilesT says:

    John Lewis are really not valuing their customers (who tend to be better offf) at all, are they?

    They could and should be retaining free email service and domain names for their loyalty card holders as a benefit, even if the broadband account itself moved to plusnet (and that had better be seamless with respect to direct debits).

    This forthcoming John Lewis change comes hard on the heels of their migration of credit card provision from HSBC to Newday, requiring all existing holders to reapply (and pass a credit check, and maybe not getting the same credit limit).

    1. Avatar photo Hilary Beckingham says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I won’t be using any more John Lewis products/services.

  6. Avatar photo Bob says:

    BT have already stated they are considering closing PLusnet down and having EE as their consumer brand. IT make no sense to have two brands and it just adds to the costs

  7. Avatar photo Mwood says:

    Within a day of this post a JLB customer told me they had been ‘phoned and offered an EE 5G connection (new router of course) for less than the due to expire old contract. Appears to be working well.

  8. Avatar photo .Michael. Bradley says:

    Contact numbers not recognised

  9. Avatar photo Mike-D says:

    Last Week..Oct 5 ish..2022..renewed my contract with JLB..was paying too much, previous contract had expired’ so was paying a lot more..(standard broadband evenings+weekends etc)
    got a good deal,couple quid knocked off new customer price!changing over to fibre..received my ‘swanky’ZYXEL VMG3925-B10C Router..Change over day came..new router ‘activated’No problems at all…GREAT!!
    NEXT day..Heard they where CLOSING down..Perhaps it was my fault!..was going to pay £10 less than my old oudated contract..
    techy question can anyone tell me ..on new router with the WLAN/WPS FLASHY LIGHTS 2.4 it also has 5G flashy light HOW is..HOW could this be Used?
    I’m a bit rusty on tech these days!
    cheers.. Mike

  10. Avatar photo Robert says:

    Good riddance to JLB! An absolute shambles, I tried joining their broadband service in 2020 and it was a disaster. Ended up having to send a written letter just to get a refund, months and months without any service, cancelled engineers call outs, no show when they were booked, etc, etc… never experienced such a dismal service before this.

    Glad they are going!!!! Check out their trust pilot reviews..

  11. Avatar photo Darren says:

    I renewed in August this year after a faultless year with them but they did try and hike it up to £46 a month, I did manage to get them down to £22 after the promise of a Google Nest after 28 days I stuck with them.. 28 past no Google Nest, rang them up, luckily I had kept the email of the deal as proof, got told “we haven’t done the Nest offer for years” – to cut a long story short “what can we do to make you stay?” I said do you do a gift card as a sweetener? We don’t do gift cards, but we can send you a cheque… £150 cheque arrived in the post a couple of days later and the week after that a Google Nest!

  12. Avatar photo Cecil Ward says:

    John Lewis customers who need to migrate their email could do worse than buy email service from the ISP Andrews and Arnold. That’s what I did when I lost my email provider. You don’t have to be an AA internet-access customer, and you just pick whatever domain you like.

  13. Avatar photo Andy says:

    I switched from Plusnet to JLB about 14 months ago, because of the “attitude” of the Plusnet call centre staff, only to find JLB uses the same people!

    Anyway, last march I phoned up and asked to be switched from standard broadband (17mb) to the 38mb service, which was a mistake because it costs quite a bit more, but there is no discernable difference when using it.

    I saw on moneysavingexpert that Shell are doing some great Black Friday deals.

    I phoned JLB/Plusnet up yesterday to ask if I’m still in contract, they said I was, the switch to 38mb service was counted as a new contract!

    Yes, they want £41 early termination fee, if I switch to Shell.

    So why the hell have they been sending me emails saying the JLB broadband service is ending, for?

    Surely JLB should waive the early termination fees, since they are wrapping up the service and breaking the deal from their end?

  14. Avatar photo John Baker says:

    My contract expires in late February; I have been told that I will be penalised if I move to another ISP before that date. I am annoyed as my current telephone connection is unsatisfactory and I wish to make use of FFTP, which PlusNet will not provide.

  15. Avatar photo haha says:

    As a PN billing agent I can tell you were are being upskilled to EE billing.. so this might well happen in 2023. Scary!

Comments are closed

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