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UK ISP Plusnet Scrap Phone – Launch Standalone FTTC Broadband UPDATE

Tuesday, Aug 15th, 2023 (12:00 am) - Score 7,184
Plusnet-3D-Logo-2023

Budget broadband ISP Plusnet has today finally launched a SOGEA powered Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) package, which is a standalone broadband connection that removes the accompanying phone service. Sadly, the provider still shows no sign of offering existing customers a digital (IP-based) phone solution.

At the time of writing we still don’t have all the details, but the new hybrid-fibre based broadband-only plan is simply called “Fibre” (note: this is NOT full fibre FTTP) and appears to be advertised alongside average download speeds of 50Mbps (9Mbps upload). But the publicity material suggests they’re actually aiming to give customers the “fastest connection they can get at their home at one straightforward price,” which might suggest that they’ll support up to the 80Mbps (20Mbps upload) tier if your line is good enough.

The package is priced at just £26.99 per month on a 24-month term, although that’s just the discounted rate and the price may be significantly higher post-contract. We hope to have more details later this morning.

UPDATE 7am

Just to be clear, with the launch of this package, Plusnet no longer seems to be offering any broadband and phone bundles to new customers. The package is now live and at present the ISP appears to be offering free setup (usually £20) and their Hub Two router alongside. Customers will also receive Plusnet SafeGuard and Plusnet Protect powered by Norton.

In terms of post-contract pricing, the Fibre package is currently priced at £30 per month. But if you’re an existing customer and want to retain your home phone service, then it’s probably time to consider switching to an ISP that can actually offer one. Plusnet does suggest that they can help customers take a digital phone solution if they call the provider to ask, but we suspect they’ll just offer a switch to EE or BT.

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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
36 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Jan says:

    Would this type of product make it easier to migrate the land line number away to another voip provider. Or would it still cancel the broadband?

    1. Avatar photo Mike says:

      Having done this myself.

      The voip provider I used insisted that the number to be transferred was live at the time I
      detailed it on the paper work. They needed a handle that associates the number with
      the premises to prevent any hanky-panky going on! I also think it also helps Openreach to
      properly target the line concerned.

      So what you do is arrange the transfer on the LAST day of your current contract,
      and get the paper work completed at least two weeks ahead of that time. I did mine
      3 weeks ahead taking no chances of things ‘getting lost in the post’.

      Yes, your broadband will cease to operate on the day that the voip acquires the number.

      I don’t believe that Openreach will assign a new number to the line, that’s the point of
      SOGEA. But even if they do it will not affect you.

    2. Avatar photo Jan says:

      Thanks Mike. Hopefully things will improve with number migration. I was quite pleased when I had to drop the power on the circuit the router is on. The ups kept the digital voice & poe ap up for over an hour.

  2. Avatar photo Gul says:

    Also worth noting that Plusnet only seem to be offering SOGEA products to existing customers who are re-contracting (to avoid the ridiculous rolling prices).

    But there seems to be no migration path in which you keep your existing phone number as porting it to a VOIP provider would mean the broadband was ceased.

    1. Avatar photo Mike says:

      Further to my previous comment.

      If I were in Jan’s shoes, I would detail the number transfer plan with Plusnet before
      going ahead, because transferring the number creates a new contract for the SOGEA line
      rather than re-contracting the old one. If there are any cost implications for Plusnet
      they might not want to provide a SOGEA line. ….. BUT there are other ISPs that
      will supply Jan with SOGEA anyway!

    2. Avatar photo Gul says:

      Ah, I had assumed that even if sticking with Plusnet, a cease and re-provide would be needed if migrating the landline to a VOIP provider. Not sure if that potentially results in a few days without broadband?

      When I last did this a couple of years ago with a Talk Talk wholesaled ADSL line – migrating an office number to VOIP but keeping the ADSL – it was relatively smooth, the line was just assigned a new number but haven’t tried this with a BT based provider yet.

      There seems to be little concrete guidance for keeping a landline number from providers. E.g. looking at Zen’s site, they offer digital voice, but no mention of whether I can migrate to them and bring an existing landline number over as part of the migration.

    3. Avatar photo Tom says:

      Gul, you can certainly migrate a working WLR (traditional voice) + FTTC broadband to Zen SOGEA + DV with no significant loss of service – just swapping the router at the the set time and plugging existing phones into it. I believe the same is true for BT and Sky.

  3. Avatar photo Sam Perry says:

    RIP plus net

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Why do you say that?
      There are plenty of people who don’t use their landline. I just did a check to see what they would offer me and all they would offer me is FTTP, no FTTC at all, I know that will put a couple of people off I know as they have no interest in going for FTTP.

      What is getting annoying and would put me off and did put me off are the 24-month contracts we are having these days. I thought we have gone past the 24-month contract thing years ago, and now they are making a comeback.
      If I did not have an alt net here that offered me a 12-month contract for a pretty good price, I would have gone with now broadband £22 a month for 36Mb/s on a 12-month contract.

      Saying that, no doubt there are going to be some very annoyed people if they can’t keep their home phone. I went with Voip years ago.

      I expected Plusnet to go this way, they are owned by BT and BT want people to change, so no doubt are pulling the ropes.

  4. Avatar photo BTMan says:

    ” Sadly, the provider still shows no sign of offering existing customers a digital (IP-based) phone solution.

    The move people to BT for that – because in the next 3 months it will be anyway

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      Not going to, they are supposed to be a budget provider, not that I count them as budget these days.

    2. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Ad247uk, BT keeping Plusnet as a budget brand would be great. But all signs point to Plusnet being retired. I mean, the staff told us this would happen months before it did: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2023/03/broadband-isp-plusnet-stops-selling-own-brand-uk-mobile-plans.html

    3. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      Plusnet is being kept as a budget broadband only brand. Mobile, TV, Voice are being removed to path the way for Plusnet to be a no frills offering.

    4. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @Iain, No I don’t think Plusnet will vanish, they brought back the perks and other stuff and if they were considering closing Plusnet, why would they do that? after all, they would want to try and get people to BT/EE instead of plusnet. What I liked about Plusnet was that it was basic, the router basic, no unneeded rubbish shoved into it like Smart set up which sometimes causes more problems than it solves. The plusnet hub is pretty basic and does the job.

  5. Avatar photo Matt says:

    Currently with PlusNet, want to migrate number to my VOIP provider but they do not seem to offer a process like Andrews & Arnold which they call renumber and export, has anyone completed this with PlusNet? Quite happy to keep the Broadband (currently ADSL) but happy to move to FTTC.

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      Not with Plusnet but with BT, I had to fill out a form with my VOIP provider to port the number and then when the number was ported it disconnected the line as the number was linked to it.

      So I’d contact your VOIP provider first but you may have to go about two weeks without internet unless you want to faff about with a second line.

    2. Avatar photo Matt says:

      tech3475 porting into my VOIP provider I am happy with, obviously my broadband would become disconnected, does anyone know if PlusNet have a process in place to issue me with a “new” line as such to provide broadband down?

    3. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      The safe approach is to transfer your whole service (WLR+ADSL) to AAISP, and then let them handle the renumber-and-port out. But you’d better get a move on, because WLR transfers and modifies won’t be permitted after Sep 5th. And it won’t be cheap.

      Alternatively, you could get a second line installed (which could be SoGEA), and then when it’s up and running you can port out the phone number from the original line, which will cease it. Getting a new line installed isn’t cheap either, and may be subject to limitations of copper availability in your area.

      Otherwise, if you want to be sure of keeping your number: port it out to a VoIP provider, which will cease your broadband, then order new broadband. You could get a 4G/5G router to keep you covered during the outage, and keep it as a backup.

    4. Avatar photo JG says:

      This may or may not be a useful comment but my experience over the past month may be of use to to someone. My uncle was on plusnet fttc broadband with a phone line, he signed up to a BT broadband only fttp package at the start of July but didn’t realise that it didn’t come with a phone package until after switching day when his phone home stopped working. A few days passed and he thought it was just part of the switching process but he decided to ring BT just to check, he was informed that he had ‘lost’ his home phone number of 30 years as he hadn’t signed up for a phone package with BT. A few weeks had passed and he happened to mention to me about what had happened, under the new ofcom right to port rules he was able to recover his old number from plusnet onto Voipfone’s telephone service. I tried to get him onto Andrews and Arnold’s VOIP service (who I am with) but they insisted the number had to be live for the transfer to work. Voipfone were very helpful and the process was completed within a week. The Ofcom ruling is that you have 31 days after your service has terminated to transfer/recover your number to a new provider.

  6. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    I would never go with a regular ISP for VOIP anyway. They are significantly more expensive than the specialist VOIP providers. problem is, the masses don’t seem to know about these VOIP providers. There should be ways of making them more known.

    1. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

      “They are significantly more expensive than the specialist VOIP providers.”

      Not necessarily, I only know of one or two who have reasonably priced inclusive UK landline/mobile minutes.

      Most I’ve seen are only significantly cheaper if just receiving calls.

      That said, I only know of one ISP w/ VOIP who will provide SIP details otherwise requiring you use their router, so that’s why I wont go with the average ISP w/ VOIP.

    2. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      the “specialist VoIP providers” don’t have to meet the same regulations as BT’s digital voice and equivalent services, especially around 999 and power backup, but also around quality of service too.

      A packet capture suggests my BT DV service is fully encrypted, whereas I’ve never had a “specialist VoIP service” that supported SIP over TLS / SRTP.

      It’s also not that expensive – if you were going to go with BT broadband anyway, it’s like £5 a month to have DV, and like £7/mo more for 700 mins. Plenty for most people, and with none of the faff of VoIP.

    3. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      @Ivor

      And you get all the bells and whistles as well. Call forwarding, Call filtering, plus if you use BT smart cordless handsets you get 2 line facility as well.

  7. Avatar photo Former BT customer says:

    Hello all,

    Following this news I thought it would be interesting to see what came up if I put in my address for a prospective Plusnet order, as the Openreach network here still only provides the option of ADSL. Plusnet have offered me “Unlimited Broadband” on either an 18 or 24 month contract, with a phone line (and the option to pick a calling plan). The package also comes with their dated Hub One (based on the BT Home Hub 5 Type A).

    I find it a bit strange that they are not using Openreach’s SoADSL product for ADSL, unless perhaps the new approach is phased and they are testing how things go with SoGEA first? Very few people will see the same as me anyway, as in tandem with today’s changes they seem to have adopted an approach of “single package only” where they only show the best option at your address, favouring FTTP, then FTTC and only ADSL as a total fallback.

    Another curiosity is that they tell me they will need to fit a new phone socket at my address and want to charge me for an engineer, but the property does have a (disconnected) phone line previously used for ADSL from BT years ago before I was able to switch to a local altnet and use FTTP. Is this just Plusnet passing on an Openreach line “activation” charge, I wonder, and they would not actually need to do any physical work at all?

    1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      BT Group aren’t ready to offer SOADSL yet

    2. Avatar photo Tom says:

      SOADSL, more accurately SOTAP, will only be available to premises which have no FTTP, SOGfast or SOGEA. If premises are connected via a FTTC/SOGEA cabinet, even if it can only provide a service of a few Mbps, you will have no choice of that over SOTAP.
      Some providers have decided that as they have such a small user base on Gfast or ADSL they are likely not going to bother with SOGfast or SOTAP as the implementation costs outweigh the loss of a few customers (Zen mention this in a resellers video on Youtube).
      Other providers may decline to offer a low speed service on SOGEA as it would depress the ‘Average Speed’ figure they are obliged to quote under Ofcom rules, potentially they may have a different set of package names to work around this.
      If a line has been inactive for some time it may no longer be jumpered back to the exchange, or has otherwise dropped off the system, you have to order a ‘new line’ even if the engineer ends up reusing the existing cabling.

    3. Avatar photo Former BT customer says:

      I thought that SoTAP was for landline-only customers and provided a circa 0.5Mb/s connection for use with VoIP only? SoADSL is the ADSL-equivalent product, and would be the “correct” product in my case as there is no FTTC or Openreach FTTP available.

      Related to that, I imagine that my line is likely still connected (even though it’s inactive) since it doesn’t go through an FTTC cab (where space is often at a premium) and goes straight back to the exchange. Getting somebody to unplug the line would therefore be extra work, so I doubt it has been. It’s also only been disconnected for a year and a half, and it’s a rural sleepy location so I highly doubt there have been loads of new provides during the time requiring my “slot” at the exchange to be reused. I suspect this is a very cynical extra charge for nothing from Openreach, but I’m not surprised at all. These kinds of things are used to subsidise Equinox pricing on FTTP.

      I also suspect the Hub One is just to get rid of old stock.

      We will have to see why at happens in September after the stop-sell goes into effect – will we then see SoADSL used, or will they say they can’t serve my address?

    4. Avatar photo The Provisioner says:

      BT Wholesale/Enterprise/Business (or whatever they are calling themselves this week!) are apparently ready to launch a Wholesale SoTAP product, which will be supplied via the BT network and is a voice only product.

      I wouldn’t expect any CP / ISP / SP to offer SoADSL (although if any company does, I would expect BT are the most likely to do so). I would expect SoGEA will be the go-to data product supplied via copper, due to all the investment that has already gone into FTTC.

      I would expect SoGFast will only be sold as long as certain companies have supply of the equipment and cards required. You can expect it to be quietly dropped over the next X period.

  8. Avatar photo Nicholas Roberts says:

    What a split-arse compromise system Uk is getting stuck with.
    Anywhere else they’d just lay the fluffing fibre and say, OK the cost of reaching the last 5% is huge, but its a one off and then we’ll start-off from day one with a logistically line-balanced system

    1. Avatar photo graham says:

      openreach are laying full fibre, so not sure what u mean, with a target of 99% at 2030 + 85% dec 2026

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      you know what this country is like, way behind other countries on most things. our trains are awful, roads are awful, broadband is getting there.

      We are always late, will never be any different.

    3. Avatar photo The Provisioner says:

      @Graham

      Not sure where you are getting that 99% figure from.

      OFCOM have agreed that Openreach do not need to provide FTTP to any of than 95% of properties provided by any individual telephone exchange to consider their commitment fulfilled.

      Some properties in the UK may never get FTTP and will have their BT analogue phone and broadband services terminated.

  9. Avatar photo Confused I Am says:

    I have just (in July) started a 24mth contract with Plusnet, for phone & fttc. I am a bit confused as to what may happen re the phone and the openreach announcement. Can anyone enlighten me in simple terms as I am a bit old!!. Plusnet never mentioned this when the new contract was being discussed.
    Also within the 24mth period I might be getting fttp (the altnet has not started yet so not sure if it will actually happen.), so I assume then I will have to make alternative arrangements for a landline phone?
    Tks

    1. Avatar photo Former BT customer says:

      Hello Confused I Am,

      Don’t worry about your existing arrangements with Plusnet, the Openreach changes being discussed only apply to new contracts taken out from September 2023 (Plusnet have brought in package changes, only for new or re-contracting customers, now with this announcement to comply with the Openreach changes).

      If you want to switch to an Altnet, then you can either dump your landline phone entirely, switch your line to a VoIP provider and manage it separately or possibly (if your altnet offers this) take a VoIP package along with broadband from your new altnet provider. All of this would be a new arrangement separate from your Plusnet contract, so you could either wait for your Plusnet contract to be up or your can seek to exit the contact early but you may have to pay a penalty fee to get out of it. Check the small print of your contract or ask Plusnet.

  10. Avatar photo Confused I Am says:

    @Former BT Customer
    Thanks for an excellent reply.
    Just need the altnet to get moving.

  11. Avatar photo Charles Smith says:

    I get the feeling that Plusnet realise they are on the top of the teflon coated slide to oblivion. The EE division is gobbling up their voice and business customers (or so BT would wish). I recently cancelled one of my Plusnet broadband/voice packages (end of contract) and they didn’t ask why or bother with making an offer for replacement. An AltNet will be available later this year for that property, so I’m using Three Mobile Data with a router dongle to cover the gap if necessary.

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