Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The PlusNet Experience

We’ve been back on PlusNet for about a month now, and so I thought I’d write a post about the experience.

PlusNet used to be one of the darlings amongst the UK ISPs – charging slightly higher prices for a very good level of service – however, recently they have cut their prices dramatically and altered the way their services work such that a number of their customers have left them.

The changes reflect traffic on peer-to-peer networks and newsgroups. During peak times – from around 4pm until midnight – traffic on these services is speed-restricted. They’re usable but very slow – a BitTorrent download will max out at around 10KB/sec, whereas ideally you should be getting 10-20 times that on a standard 2MB broadband connection. At other times, BitTorrent downloads are much faster although still not blazingly fast. I don’t use newsgroups so I cannot vouch for their speed.

Other than these restrictions, the system is very fast and, after a patchy period a few weeks ago, seemingly very reliable. Normal downloads from UK servers can go over 200KB/sec. And at £15 per month it seems to be very good value for money.

If you use peer-to-peer services and newsgroups a lot, especially in the evenings, then PlusNet is not for you. But if you don’t use these services, or only use them occasionally and are willing to either queue your downloads to happen overnight or download in the mornings then you should find them to be a good ISP.

8 Comments

  1. I lot of folk seem to be recommending zen internet nowadays. They are a tad on the pricey side though.

  2. I’m on PlusNet Premier (for an extra £7 a month) and I get really good speeds on torrents. However, they do get a bit angry if you use more tha 30gb of traffic a month during the peak hours you mentioned.

  3. Heh, weird. I was just lamenting my crap P2P download speeds from Plus.net (I’m lucky if I get 17kbs non peak) on adslguide.org. Ironically I switched from Zen to Plus.net and I’m now slowly wishing that I hadn’t.

  4. I signed up with Plus.net a couple of years ago and had no problems until a couple of weeks ago when my p2p and newsgroups slowed to a halt. I am not a very heavy user (30-50GB total per month) but I am having to leave the service. I dont like the idea of a provider forcing medium level users out of the system without any warning or communication just to cut their costs.

  5. Plusnet – P2P downloads as stated above are shaped and throttled – Probably the main reason people use broadband!! Woeful download speeds (4kbps), dial up is faster! Unless you want to just surf the web, AVOID PLUSNET at all costs, useless sarcastic geeky support staff also.

  6. Chantelle: I don’t know about you, but P2P is not the main reason I use broadband, so it doesn’t inconvinience me much at all. My experience with the support staff has been generally fine – far better than a number of their competitors.
    Qualeboy: In my experience PlusNet send an email warning if they’re about to throttle any of your services beyond what is detailed in the service agreement.

  7. Wow, that sucks! Ive been trying to work out why bit torrent is slow for ages! This explains it then, bloody plusnet…i only got with them cos they sponsor Sheffield Wednesday too!! Unfortunately its my dad who pays for the internet therefore its his choice, oh well, 150hour downloads here i come!

  8. Hi all,
    Many thnaks for this tip. I have been trying to use Bit Torrent through Plusnet and have literally been getting doenload speeds of bits per second!! When i contacted the company they got me to try a host of the usual crap – but this seems far more feasible!
    I will be having words. Thanks all for the advice.