Plusnet vs BT broadband - which is best?

ByKim Staples
Plusnet vs BT

Plusnet’s an awful lot like BT: it’s owned by the same company, it offers broadband, and it’s even got a name that ends with a T.

So what's the difference between Plusnet and BT broadband? Is one better than the other? And which one should you get for your home? Read on, and we'll pick the two providers apart to give you our ultimate verdict.

See our full BT review and our full Plusnet review for more too.

At a glance

  Plusnet BT
Download speed Up to 17Mb, up to 38Mb, up to 76Mb Up to 17Mb, up to 52Mb, up to 76Mb
Upload speed Up to 1Mb, up to 1.9Mb, up to 19.5Mb Up to 1Mb, up to 9.5Mb, up to 19Mb
Usage limits Unlimited downloads Unlimited downloads
Traffic management No No
Router Plusnet Hub Zero, Plusnet Hub One BT Home Hub 4, BT Smart Hub
TV Up to 120+ channels Up to 140+ channels
Home phone PAYG (included as standard), evening and weekend calls, unlimited calls Weekend calls (included as standard), evening and weekend calls, unlimited anytime calls

Cost

Generally speaking, Plusnet is almost always cheaper than BT - it's billed as an affordable, straightforward provider. Of course, both frequently have special offers on, so it's worth comparing deals to see what looks best at any given time.

Featured Plusnet deals

Plusnet
Plusnet
Plusnet
Unlimited Broadband Unlimited Broadband & Unlimited UK & Mobile Calls Unlimited Fibre & Evening & Weekend UK & Mobile Calls
£187.88 Total first year cost £283.88 Total first year cost £322.88 Total first year cost
£18.99 p/m for 12 months £10.00 setup costs 12 month contract £26.99 p/m for 12 months £10.00 setup costs 12 month contract £28.99 p/m for 12 months £25.00 setup costs 12 month contract
Up To 17 Mb Up To 17 Mb Up To 38 Mb
Pay as you go Day, eve & wknd calls inc. Eve & wknd calls inc.
£50 cashback Offer ends 21/08/17 £50 cashback Offer ends 21/08/17 £50 Reward Card - restrictions apply, see Plusnet for T&C's Offer ends 20/08/17
Go
Call Plusnet on 0808 178 7205
Mon to Fri 8am-8pmSat 9am-7pmSun 9am-6pm
Go
Call Plusnet on 0808 178 7205
Mon to Fri 8am-8pmSat 9am-7pmSun 9am-6pm
Go
Call Plusnet on 0808 178 7205
Mon to Fri 8am-8pmSat 9am-7pmSun 9am-6pm

Featured BT deals

BT
BT
BT
Unlimited Broadband + weekend calls Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls Unlimited Infinity 2 + Weekend Calls
£333.87 Total first year cost £443.87 Total first year cost £599.87 Total first year cost
£26.99 p/m for 12 months £9.99 setup costs 12 month contract £31.99 p/m for 12 months £59.99 setup costs 12 month contract £44.99 p/m for 12 months £59.99 setup costs 12 month contract
Up To 17 Mb Up To 52 Mb Up To 76 Mb
Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc. Weekend calls inc.
£50 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 24/08/17 £150 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 24/08/17 £150 BT Reward Card - see BT's website for further details Offer ends 24/08/17
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Go
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm

Verdict: Plusnet is usually best, but do check just in case.

Broadband and fibre broadband

With Plusnet, you can get standard (ADSL) broadband with download speeds up to 17Mb; fibre broadband up to 38Mb; and fibre up to 76Mb. All have unlimited downloads.

BT's broadband offerings are very similar - nearly identical, actually - with one key difference: the entry-level fibre package has download speeds up to 52Mb with faster uploads.

 

Router

You'll get a router to use with broadband from each provider too, of course. With Plusnet, that's either the Hub Zero or the Hub One. The Zero is a little outdated, but will do just fine for ADSL broadband. The One, on the other hand, is a surprisingly good piece of tech for such low-cost broadband - it's dual-band and can handle incredibly fast speeds.

BT comes with the Home Hub 4 or the Smart Hub… both of which are a bit of a step up from Plusnet's hardware. The Smart Hub is seriously impressive, as included-with-the-broadband routers go, rocking tech that improves your Wi-Fi and cuts through interference. And you can turn off the flashing lights if they annoy you.

Verdict: For fibre, BT wins, thanks to faster speeds and a better router. For ADSL though (speeds up to 17Mb), there's very little difference.

Home phone

Landline phone

Plusnet and BT both include line rental in your package - and if you've got a talkative household, you can upgrade it to cover your calls.

Standard line rental from Plusnet is pay-as-you-talk, with the option to bump it up to include evening and weekend, anytime international, or unlimited calls (to UK landlines and mobiles). You don't even have to have a Plusnet landline, actually - its broadband can be paired with line rental from any other Openreach provider, such as BT or Sky.

With BT, you get weekend calls thrown in as standard, and you can upgrade that to cover weekend calls as well, or go for unlimited anytime calls. That doesn't include calls to mobiles, but you can buy an extra add-on of mobile minutes. There are add-ons galore, in fact, covering everything from international calls to big packs of calling features.

Verdict: BT has a far wider range of options for your home phone, but Plusnet is more flexible. This one depends on how much you use your landline phone.

TV

Family watching TV

Sign up for BT broadband, and you can get BT TV too. You get a YouView box - or a YouView+ box that can record up to 300 hours, or a YouView+ Ultra HD box that lets you watch 4K shows - with up to 140+ channels, depending which package you choose. 30-day bolt-ons are available with extra channels too, including HD ones, Sky Cinema, and kids' TV.

You can add TV to Plusnet, too - again, with either a YouView or YouView+ box. You'll get basic Freeview (70-ish channels) plus some bonus entertainment channels, including Comedy Central, Eurosport, and Gold. Like BT, you can add on more channels packs if you like, though there's less choice.

Verdict: BT is the clear winner here - there are more options, more channels, and the chance to watch in 4K.

What else?

 

Sport

Armchair sportsperson? BT has more to offer you. It's cheap and easy to add BT Sport, and BT TV's Max package is the only way to watch it in 4K Ultra HD. You can also add Sky Sports, but only Sky Sports 1 and 2 - no other channels are included.

BT Sport's available on Plusnet too, though not in 4K. You can't get Sky Sports on Plusnet at all, unfortunately.

Customer service

Plusnet is renowned for its top quality, Sheffield-based customer service - so if you have a problem or a technical issue, you can call up and know you'll get advice from a real person with a lovely Northern accent.

For what it's worth, BT is making strides in its level of customer service too, generally scoring above average for the industry in Ofcom reports. Can't guarantee a charming accent when you phone them, though.

Wi-Fi hotspots

A BT broadband subscription lets you access the provider's public Wi-Fi hotspots, of which there are over 5 million across the country. That's a nice bonus, as it means you can get online via Wi-Fi juuuust about anywhere, especially in a big town or city. It isn't currently available with Plusnet.

Final verdict

If cost is your main concern, this is easy: go for Plusnet. For a low price, you can get decent quality broadband, with good hardware no less, and excellent customer service - always a plus.

However, there's a reason why BT is a bit more expensive - and that's because you get just that bit more. At a basic level, its standard fibre optic package has faster speeds; it offers the cheapest way of getting BT Sport; and there are tons of other extras like home phone features and use of Wi-Fi hotspots.

So, it comes down to what you need from your connection. For the technologically minded - and the sports fans - BT broadband is fantastic. But for those of us who just want top-notch broadband without spending a bomb, Plusnet won't disappoint.

Compare broadband deals

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