Tuesday 17th February marks a big change in the Plusnet product range, the biggest differences being the presence of an unlimited product and geographical based pricing. The three main broadband products are:
Plusnet Value: £5.99 a month for those in low costs areas, those outside these areas will rise to £11.99 a month after a 3 month introductory period. 10GB usage allowance, up to 8Mbps connection, free wireless router and connection. 18 month contract.
Plusnet Unlimited: £11.99 a month rising to £15.99 a month after three months. Those in the higher cost areas will see it rise to £19.99 a month. Unlimited usage, with speeds controlled by Plusnet traffic management system. Free wireless router and connection. Static IP option once account is created. 18 month contract.
Plusnet Pro: £19.99 a month, with no geographical variation in pricing. 15GB usage allowance, but unmetered usage between midnight and 8am. Higher traffic priorities than unlimited product, basically 15GB at what ever speed your line can manage. 12 month contract.
Plusnet has been in the traffic management game for longer than most other providers and a major difference is the amount of information they publish detailing how it works. For Plusnet Unlimited the expected speeds are detailed in a large grid on the community section of the Plusnet website. The benefit is that gamers should find that even at peak times when large file downloads are slow, that latency and thus their online gaming should still run smoothly.
The geographical pricing is different to many providers, as this is not the result of using unbundling, but rather a side-effect of the two tier pricing that BT Wholesale has been running for some time. As a way of making Plusnet products appear more competitive compared to bundled LLU products it should work. While unlimited is more common among LLU products than those using BT Wholesale IPStream products, how long the LLU operators will sustain this before congestion starts to do things like increase the latency and amount of packet loss is another matter. Be/O2 is carrying out a number of upgrades across its network to increase capacity but in the mean time some customers are experiencing poor performance. Sky gained a lot of press coverage from going to unlimited, but whether they can keep scaling their network to cope with millions of customers for years to come is anyones guess.