Broadband News

Plusnet fixed broadband speeds in the last 90 days

Plusnet is the latest to get its daily performance exposed and the size of the provider and subsequent number of tests is obviously a lot lower than the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media the overall performance is clearly visible from the graphs.

Plusnet download speeds January February March April 2020
Chart of the daily download speeds seen from Plusnet speed tests
Plusnet upload speeds January February March April 2020
Chart of the daily upload speeds seen from Plusnet speed tests
Plusnet latency in January February March April 2020
Chart of the daily median and mean latency seen from Plusnet speed tests
Plusnet quality score in January February March April 2020
Chart of the quality score seen from Plusnet speed tests, reflecting how consistent download speeds are during a test. The closer to zero the better.

As with most of the other providers so far, nothing out of the ordinary in terms of download and upload speeds, even though back on 22nd for a short time during the working day the average speeds were low, but balanced out by normal performance during the evening.

The latency plot does have three days 13th, 15th and 17th April when mean latency spiked to 90 - 113 ms. This may have been the result of some localised problems as the median did not shift from its usual sort of value. The average for the mean latency over the 90 days is 69ms with a standard deviation of 8.5ms.

The quality plot does show something happened with it looking like around 19th March speed tests started to deliver a more consistent throughput for the public. This is the reverse of what would have expected during the lockdown period but we suspect this may have been a result of adding extra capacity in the network in response to the big shift to home working that was underway at point in time.

Of course individuals own experience may differ from the collective experience so if you are seeing much slower speeds than usual and these are not time of day related, i.e. just as bad at 1am, 8am as they are at 4pm and 9pm then you may need to chase the provider. 

For those wondering why Plusnet upload speeds look so low it is worth pointing out in Q1 2020 30.2% of Plusnet speed tests carried out were identified as using ADSL2+, a further 47.5% on the VDSL2 40 down and 10 up service and 21.4% on the VDSL2 80/20 product. The remaining balance being the small number lucky enough to have been on the FTTP trial or getting connected e.g. in new build where FTTP is the only option. 

The number using ADSL/ADSL2+ may surprise some people when FTTC is so widely available but there is a steady shift from ADSL/ADSL2+ to the FTTC products, in Q1 2016 60% of Plusnet speed tests were ADSL2+ based, in Q1 2018 this was down to 41.7%. It seems likely that with lots more people at home and a lot more video chat taking place the trend may accelerate for upgrading to the FTTC products over the next couple of months.

Comments

It has been OK here, until today strangely enough. Really slow at the moment, downloading an update for some software, taking ages, I think I am down to ADSL speeds :)

  • zyborg47
  • 6 months ago

ADSL/ADSL2+ is no longer available from many ISPs, so as Plusnet is one of the cheapest that still offer it they attract a lot of the customers that can't get FTTC. As they don't offer G.fast or FTTP (except to those already on their trial that closed a couple of years ago), this brings their average speeds down.

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

Many? In terms of ISP actual volume that is not the case.

Sky hid its ADSL2+ for a while but still connects people, slightly less hiding from BT, still prominent at TalkTalk

Vodafone yes its gone.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

Contract type mix is one of the stats that often get lost in ISP speed comparisons, probably because the providers don't mention it often. So thank you for this breakdown from your own figures.

Is there a simple way to factor in this mix when making general speed comparisons between ISPs? Otherwise, punters looking to switch get a false impression when comparing speeds quoted between, say, PlusNet with its preponderance of customers who've chosen (or are stuck with) a slower connection, and an ISP with few legacy customers.

  • davidinnotts
  • 6 months ago

The big package speed test round up published around 1st to 3rd of each month lets you compare similar services i.e. Plusnet 40/10 versus TalkTalk 40/10

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

Yes, Andrew. But other stats (including the OfCom ones?) don't do the split when comparing ISP performance in general. So PlusNet, whom I've been with since F9's first year of service, still compare with other ISPs as 'slow' - and you've just pointed out why. That interpretation is despite the differences between provider speeds for the same service in the same street being negligible.

  • davidinnotts
  • 6 months ago

@Andrew, you may be correct that ADSL is still widely available - my view is probably biased as in my area there is no provision at all from TalkTalk, Sky, or several of the other larger ISPs. In my area all I could find was Plusnet, John Lewis, BT, EE, and a few expensive smaller ISPs. Somewhat academic, as my line is now ceased as it just isn't fast enough to be usable for home working.

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

Some Ofcom data outpurs do compare the different products but you have to look into the full reports rather than the short summaries. Where this does happen it is from their SamKnows panel which with approx testers across UK means the same is small once you split into ISP and each product.

For FTTC yes if on same street and similar sync speeds then its reasonable to expect similar performance from the services. The variations can be peak time and packet loss based i.e. ability of the core network to cope with UK load.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

@sheephouse.

John Lewis Broadband is provided by Plusnet

Plusnet an EE are owned by BT.

No point, just an observation.

  • lewisskinner
  • 6 months ago

Also if the line was slow then one thing the LLU operators Sky/TalkTalk do is avoid selling to those with the slowest lines because this helps keep their averages good and long lines are more likely to use support. Or your area has no LLU presence in the phone exchange.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

@lewisskinner, yes I'm aware they are all closely related. There's not really any competition, especially for business connections which limits the choice to Plusnet or BT or much more expensive deals from one of the smaller ISPs.

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

@Andrew
On your point about some ISPs avoiding selling to those on the slowest lines to help their average speed stats, this was predicted by some of us when the ASA proposed the move from "up to" to average speeds. We also pointed out that those people unable to comprehend "up to" were highly unlikely to understand the nuances of the more complex formula and associated small print now in use.

The loss of competition in order to massage headline average speeds is very unfortunate and could have been avoided if the ASA hadn't played to the gallery.

  • New_Londoner
  • 6 months ago

Thank you, Andrew - those are good points. And, as the latest comments are saying, competition is clearly being restricted for those who are 'sinning' by being too far from the cabinet.

You have the clout to make this point publicly to Ofcom. How about it?

  • davidinnotts
  • 6 months ago

Has been commented on before in public in news items and it is the freedom of the ISP to sell to who they want, only one that would see action against them if they stopped sale would be BT

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

Why is it that plusnet are only taking complaints by internet. Its not the slowness but the complete lack of service for large chunks of the day.

  • Robbratton
  • 6 months ago

Got any details of the large chunks of the day without service? If they were down for everyone for a few hours am pretty sure there would be lots more talking about it.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

We're a long way from the nearest cabinet so I don't expect great speeds, but I carried out a survey on our local residents' Facebook page to compare ISP performance. On average PlusNet is the slowest ISP in our area. No way of contacting PlusNet because they say they can't answer my call and no email address or online chat or contact form. I've been on Plusnet fibre since it was introduced round here in 2011 but if this situation doesn't improve I'll be looking to change ISP when my contract is up.

  • jockdownsouth
  • 6 months ago

A few days ago I changed from BT to Plusnet. The BT product was OK but their service was awful. However, Plusnet speed is substantially lower - by 20-40%. We are FTTC. Curiously the Plusnet test reads 20-40% higher than other speed tests. Any reason?

  • SandyW
  • 6 months ago

Need to see what connection speeds peoples routers are reporting and link to a speed test from https://www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest

If plusnet was deliverign 20 to 40% lower speeds across the board their speed test results published today on the per product basis would be a lot lower.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

@SandyW If you changed a few days ago, maybe you had a DLM reset and your line speed hasn't returned to the same settings as before yet?

When switching ISPs its pretty much expected to be slower for a while as DLM sorts itself out. Its unfortunately that for how long is no longer clear, especially as recently several users have found ECI lines far more reluctant to remove Interleaving than they used to be.

I do wish Openreach were more open about when they made DLM modifications.

  • alexatkinuk
  • 6 months ago

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