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PlusNet see 77% increase in broadband users
Thursday 10 November 2005 08:42:00 by Andrew Ferguson

PlusNet has published its third quarter results which show a broadband user base of 137,827 users, which is an increase of 77% compared to 2004. PlusNet are optimistic that they will continue with this strong customer growth, which combined with the providers low cost, efficient operating model is expected to return good results for the company and investors as the year progresses.

The Register has some interesting words to say on the financial results, "PlusNet's tight rein on its network and its willingness to curtail the activities of broadband hogs has contributed to increased revenues at the Sheffield-based ISP".

This is referring to the following extract from the PlusNet results, "PlusNet is able to identify, manage and sometimes exclude very heavy users who cause problems for other users by downloading large amounts of data and dominating the network. PlusNet is confident that its leading-edge products combined with an effective approach to heavy user management mean that it enjoys lower customer churn than its competitors".

PlusNet manage their network and how users use it in a number of ways. For Premier product users there is the Sustainable Usage Policy. This policy while not a fixed per month type policy, should take a couple of months exceeding the limits before the harshest management systems kick in. The usage policy does feature two components, the peak time and off-peak usage.

Traffic prioritisation exists across the entire PlusNet home product range, though on the Premier range it should be less harsh than that in place on the providers Broadband Plus range. The traffic prioritisation carries three levels, bronze, silver and gold.

  • Gold: Applies to HTTP/HTTPS, SMTP, IMAP, POP3, PlusTalk
  • Silver: Applies to Gaming, VPN, network services, other VoIP services, FTP, SSH, Instant Messaging, IRC, other TCP/UDP/other traffic, P2P/Usenet for PAYG/Lite accounts. 15GB of Usenet traffic. Text only news from PN's server and external text usenet servers.
  • Bronze: P2P for all accounts bar PAYG/Lite, Usenet over the 15GB per month.

Gold traffic has the highest priority, which means when the PlusNet controlled network is busy it will be given first stab at the available capacity, reducing down to the bronze level which will get what is left. The 15 GigaByte (GB) limit on Usenet traffic was introduced on 1st November for both PlusNet news servers and external services like Easynews ang Giganews. It seems once over the 15GB limit the effect can be pretty drastic with users on our forums reporting speeds as low as 4 KiloBytes/second. The speeds of 3 to 4KB/sec are slower than even what PlusNet expected, and this should be improving in the near future.

One final note is concerning Idle Timeouts on the Broadband Plus product, we previously posted in our news that this was due to start on 8th November (link). This has now been postponed due to technical problems, PlusNet are investigating some issues with random disconnects that appear to be affecting users with Netgear ADSL hardware. Once the problems are resolved PlusNet will implement the idle timeouts. No firm date has been released for the opt-out option, but progress is being made we are told.

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