Plusnet vs BT broadband: which is best?

plusnet vs bt

BT is Plusnet's parent company. But when it comes to broadband packages, they're very different propositions. Here, we take a look at everything they've got to offer.

Plusnet vs BT at a glance

Plusnet BT
Can I get ADSL? Yes. Average speed 10Mbps Yes. Average speed 10Mbps
Can I get superfast fibre? Yes. Average speed 36Mbps and 67Mbps Yes. Average speed 36Mbps and 67Mbps
Can I get ultrafast fibre? No Yes. Up to average speed of 910Mbps
Download limit? No. Service is truly unlimited No. Service is truly unlimited
TV N/A. Plusnet no longer offers TV YouView-based BT TV service
Do I have to take a home phone? Yes No

Plusnet vs BT: cost

Plusnet comes in quite a bit cheaper than BT.

Plusnet standard, low-cost ADSL broadband service is on offer for under £20 per month at the time of writing (June 2021).

BT's equivalent Unlimited Broadband package is significantly pricier. We saw it for as much as £27 per month.

Plusnet works out cheaper for fibre too.

With its widely available Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra options typically priced at least a few pounds per month less than BT Fibre Essential and Fibre 2, despite offering nigh-on identical speeds.

Plusnet vs BT: Average broadband speeds

When it comes to the speeds offered by their most widely available fibre broadband products, there’s not much to choose between Plusnet and BT.

For instance, Plusnet’s Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra get you average speeds of 36Mbps and 66Mbps respectively.

That’s almost exactly in line with BT Fibre Essential (36Mbps) and Fibre 2 (67Mbps).

However, BT also offers full fibre, ultrafast broadband with speeds that dwarf Plusnet's maximum speeds and are, in fact, among the UK’s fastest.

BT’s Full Fibre 300 service, for example, offers average speeds of 300Mbps, while Full Fibre 900 gets you an average speed of 910Mbps.

The catch is that those products are only available in select locations. And as you’d expect for a premium service, it comes at a comparatively hefty price.

Plusnet vs BT: broadband packages

Plusnet offers a relatively limited choice of ADSL and broadband packages.

But they’re notably well priced with decent speeds and are available on 12-month or 18-month contracts, which are a much shorter commitment than BT’s 24-month minimum terms.

That said, BT’s broadband product range is still a lot more extensive that Plusnet’s, with a basic ADSL service and a really large range of fibre and full-fibre packages to choose from.

And while they’re much more expensive than Plusnet’s packages, BT’s full fibre products offer among the best speeds in the UK.

All Plusnet and BT packages come with unlimited downloads. So you won’t have to worry about running up extra charges for exceeding a download limit.

You can get a sense of how Plusnet's packages shape up in the table below:

Online exclusive Unlimited Fibre
New customers only Offer ends 22/09/2021
Online exclusive Unlimited Fibre Extra
New customers only Offer ends 22/09/2021

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

And you can see what BT has to offer here:

Online exclusive Fibre 1
New customers only Offer ends 16/09/2021
Online exclusive Fibre 2
New customers only Offer ends 16/09/2021

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

Plusnet vs BT: phone service

In a relatively recent development, BT now offers its standard fibre and full fibre broadband without landline rental.

That doesn’t mean that your home won’t be connected to the internet via telephone wires, but does mean that you won’t pay for line rental.

To get this BT broadband without a home phone you’ll need to choose a broadband-only package from BT and you should be aware that you won’t be able to make or receive any calls on your phone. Calls to emergency numbers are barred too.

If you do decide to take a phone with your BT package, though, you’ll get pay as you go calls as standard. So you’ll only pay for the calls you make.

But if you use your phone regularly you have the option to sign up for add-ons, such as Unlimited Minutes or International Freedom (for cheap calls to 36 overseas locations).

Conversely, all Plusnet packages require you to take a landline (although it doesn’t have to be from Plusnet). That goes for whether you choose ADSL broadband or fibre.

Just like BT, pay as you calls come as standard on Plusnet packages and you can sign up for add-ons that get you extra domestic or international calls.

Plusnet vs BT: TV

Plusnet no longer offers broadband and TV packages in a conventional sense, after withdrawing its YouView-based set top box and bundles from sale.

The sole sense in which you can add TV to your Plusnet package now is to get BT Sport as an add-on.

However, you’ll only be able to watch it via the app, which means you’re restricted to viewing on mobile devices or a games console. Or you can log on to the BT Sport site and watch on your computer.

BT’s TV service, which is based on the YouView set top box, is excellent, as are the BT Sport and BT TV apps that let you watch while you’re on the move.

BT TV also offers a massive array of standard definition and HD channels and premium content.

As well as BT Sport channels, you can add channels and streaming services from month to month. So you can dip in and out as you wish.

At the time of writing, options include Netflix, Prime Video, britbox and NOW TV passes, that get you the best of Sky TV on a rolling-contract basis.

Plusnet vs BT: fibre broadband

If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area covered by BT’s full fibre infrastructure, BT easily trumps Plusnet for fibre speeds.

For instance, its top-of-the-range Full Fibre 900 service gets you an average speed of 910Mbps, while Plusnet’s fastest package offers average speeds of 67Mbps.

For the most part, though, Plusnet and BT’s standard fibre packages actually offer very similar speeds.

What’s more, because their standard fibre packages use the same parts of the Openreach network, they’re widely available and are on offer in the same locations.

Plusnet vs BT: download limits

All Plusnet and BT packages come with unlimited downloads, so you’re free to steam video, play online games and do anything else online with no risk of running up charges for exceeding a usage limit.

It’s also worth noting that what’s known as ‘truly unlimited’ too.

That means Plusnet and BT will not deliberately slow down your service at peak times.

Plusnet vs BT: extras

One major point of difference between BT and Plusnet when it comes to value-adding extras is that BT customers benefit from a nationwide network of five million WiFi hotspots, so they’re able to save mobile data while they’re out and about.

Plusnet does not offer anything comparable to this.

BT customers can also get £5 off per month when they add a mobile phone plan to their bundle.

There’s no comparable discount scheme with Plusnet, but it does give you money-off when you recommend Plusnet broadband to a friend.

Plusnet and BT both regularly sweeten their broadband deals with free gifts and incentives, such as vouchers, rewards and gadgets.

All packages from both providers come with free routers, as well as security software.

Plusnet vs BT customer: service

As numerous glowing reports from the telcomms regulator Ofcom testify, Plusnet’s customer service is excellent. It’s consistently rated the UK’s very best provider for support.

BT customer service isn’t anything like as highly regarded, with scores from Ofcom that are about average for the broadband sector.