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Please please persuade me to stay.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Please please persuade me to stay.

See:
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,80625.0.html
And especially:
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,80625.msg662319.html#msg662319
I like it here. I've been here since early 2005, the customer service is second to none. Performance has (until recently - actually probably my change to unlimited may be related) been good. The support forums here are superb, and the facilities on the portal are also excellent. I've also got a reasonable discount built up from referrals.
However, all this is useless, if the service does not allow me to do what I want/need to do in the evenings. Iplayer not working, and if I want to *work* on fixing computer issues/installing stuff - which inevitably means downloads of some sort I SIMPLY CANNOT DO IT UNLESS I WAIT UNTIL THE WEEKEND.
It is sad, but I am feeling very let down, that I even have to consider this move. Please Please can someone convince me that Plusnet are capable of offering a service that meets my needs.
26 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 691
Registered: ‎12-04-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Hi Tony,
I'm sure you'll have been following our service status pretty closely, particularly over the last couple of weeks.  You know we are deeply aware of the problems you refer to.  We have collated the problems as reported to us and detailed what we are doing about each of them in a new support/info page here >>  http://www.plus.net/support/network_update.shtml .  I hope that answers many of your questions.  The network is now looking better and fingers crossed, we'll have a better experience from hereon.
Wheel_nut
Grafter
Posts: 886
Registered: ‎03-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Tony, Don't let your Referrals payments influence your decision. If you leave your DD details on file and downgrade your account to a Dial-up Payg, you will get your referrals paid directly to your Bank each time you accumulate £5 or more. I faced your dilemma in February 2007 and migrated to NewNet for a year until James convinced me to come back.
Peter, I can't say that your post or the Service Status give us much confidence that the problems have been identified and fixed. The penultimate paragraph of the Service Status says "Until we do resolve all the issues there still remains the potential for some slow downs and performance problems during peak hours, especially after 6.00pm. Having said that, web browsing should seem a lot more responsive now than it has been of late."  I think you have failed to realise that Tony (and others) have run out of patience.
xpcomputers
Grafter
Posts: 460
Registered: ‎13-04-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Tony,
Sounds like you've had a bad patch... I know how frustrating such a time can be!
I just noticed an update from Plusnet published this afternoon, on the state of their network, and discussing publically some of the problems they've been having since October:-
http://www.plus.net/support/network_update.shtml ; (that'll serve me right for being distracted by dinner mid posting... I was beaten to it 2 posts ago!)
The fact that they've published this document would suggest to me that things have turned a corner for the better. They hint that a few items still need some work doing, but it'll be interesting to see if you notice any significant improvement on your connection or not. I really hope the worst is behind us, and we can look forward to a return to the Plusnet quality of service we had come to expect!
I assume that you know about checking which gateway you are on, and checking packet drop congestion graphs so you can reboot to find a quieter gateway if you are stuck on a congested one (see my replies here for details).
After the problems Plusnet have recently had, I'd not be surprised if the network still need rebalancing in the coming days to redistribute an even load of customers across all gateways. By pre-empting this, and choosing to jump to a quiet gateway, you get ahead of the rest!
Hopefully someone from Plusnet will spot this thread, and drop by to offer some help, although with the weekend upon us, you might find this thread unloved until Monday.  Sad
Here's hoping things are on the mend....
On a separate issue, have you considered the "Premium" package which has now replaced "Unlimited"? This has reduced the traffic limits, so that they can offer higher speeds & priority on the traffic. You might find that since you are well within their limits, that jumping up to that package is a big win for you. Of course, you'd want to know that it really was going to make a difference, as I appreciate you are seriously considering jumping ship!
I wonder if someone at Plusnet could authorise a switch over to Premium for you, as a test, and if it doesn't work, you could still leave! (If you are in a ADSL2+ area, then the switch is a no-brainer in my opinion, as they'll shift you onto the faster speeds too!)
Mike
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Thanks for the replies folks. To put things into perspective - these issues have now been going on for well over a month, and we have heard time and again "hopefully things are fixed now" only for the problems to continue. Frankly I am amazed that an organisation with the reputation (and history of competence) are unable to identify what is going on, and fix it. It makes me worried that either they have lost some key know how, or are in some financial difficulties.
Regarding premium - I have heard frequently that it has more relaxed management - but I don't see it.
1 - Unlimited is line speed from 12 midnight to 12 noon - premium restrictions start at (effectively compared with unlimited) 9:00am.
2 - from 12 noon, until 10pm, the restrictions are exactly the same*
3 - only from 10pm to 12midnight are the restrictions *slightly* lighter than unlimited.
*except for vpn and gaming which have lighter restrictions throughout - but I don't have problems with gaming, or vpn.
It seems to me that premium has more restrictions than unlimited (much tighter 9:00am to 12 noon, only lighter 10pm to 12 midnight). I don't think it is going to significantly help me. My exchange is due for upgrade to 2+ from March next year.
And as far as gateway hopping is concerned - I am also amazed that a professional organisation can suggest that as a reasonable option without curling up in embarrassment. Rebooting in the hope of getting a randomly better gateway, while risking the reboots triggering the exchange to lower the profile. I do it - but I shouldn't even have to know what a gateway is!
I'll give it until the end of the month. My billing date is 9th. If things are better by then and stay better, I'll have no need to leave.

EDIT: I've just tried Iplayer again - continual pauses again - so no improvement there.
"Plusnet and Iplayer - making the unmissable................. -  unwatchable"   Cheesy
xpcomputers
Grafter
Posts: 460
Registered: ‎13-04-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

In fairness to Plusnet, it was me who suggested "gateway hopping".... not them. And of course you are right, us customers shouldn't have to know about "gateway hopping".... but there will always be ways to improve your connection with any provider for those in the know!
The reason it is particularly pertinent advice at the moment, is that with most problems published in the list issued by Plusnet, there has been reasons to rebalance the network afterwards. Getting ahead of that (with any provider) will always give you the potential to be on a less contested gateway, until such time as the ISP can do a network balance (this will always be the case with any ISP - it is just that most don't even notify of Network Balances beforehand - let alone publish graphs so the customers can see the packet drops for themselves!).
I don't think anyone will try to pretend that this has been a "business as usual" experience for Plusnet. If it is, then Plusnet will have more than just you leaving to worry about... it will be a mass exodus! It has been a poor 4 - 6 weeks, by anyone's standards, caused, by looks of things, several unfortunate issues coming together at once. You are right to set yourself a deadline.... you should be able to just use and enjoy your broadband... lets hope Plusnet's announcement today really was the corner turned they urgently need it to have been! And that they can prove that to you by then!!!
I haven't tried either "Unlimited" or "Premium" so can't talk about the differences with any confidence, maybe someone else can advise here...
I know Plusnet have arranged for customers to have a trial on "Premium", with the option to return to "Unlimited" if it doesn't work out, so if you wanted to try it risk free, I'm sure if you asked for a test of it, you could see how it impacted your own usage patterns, and decide if it helps or not yourself. This would at least give you more info to help base your decision before leaving for good.
I am guessing you are not on ADSL2+ enabled exchange? (or it would be an easier choice!)
Mike
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Quote from: xpcomputers
In fairness to Plusnet, it was me who suggested "gateway hopping".... not them. And of course you are right, us customers shouldn't have to know about "gateway hopping".... but there will always be ways to improve your connection with any provider for those in the know!

Understood - and your advice is welcome. I have, however, also seen the same advice directly from plusnet staff.
And no, I am not yet on an adsl2+ exchange - scheduled for March.
Zap
Grafter
Posts: 284
Registered: ‎22-11-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

As sad as it is, it seems to me that your usage is exceeding the designed service level of your product and that you should seek a product and SLA that meets your requirements.
Good luck with that!  This is the UK, unlimited does not mean unlimited, 8mb can mean anything from 0.5mb to 6mb and "fair use" is the get out clause for everything.
Plusnet has improved considerably over the years both in customer service and offerings, the reality is that if you want a cheap and cheerful product then if Plusnet as a subsidiary of BT can't deliver then your only option is an SLA with someone who is capable of delivering high performance broadband.
If you are not prepared to pay more then you don't really have a leg to stand on.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

No problem with that. I am prepared to pay what is necessary to get an acceptable service.
I've checked out pro. For my usage, pro would cost about £25 to £30 per month. There is a lot about in the market for £30.
LiamM
Grafter
Posts: 5,636
Registered: ‎12-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Hi Tony,
Bear with things!  Would be my advice.  Maybe give PN until Christmas.  We in PUG have been discussing these issues with Plusnet lately and I promise you things are being done. 
The Network Update posted yesterday mentions many of the issues and what is being done about them.  I think to some extent Plusnet have become a bit of a victim of their own success but the important thing is that it certainly seems the focus on service is still there - otherwise Plusnet just become another Tiscali.  And instead of just letting things ride the way they are they are doing something about the problems being experienced - but it's just not an overnight fix and it's not just one problem contributing to a similar set of symptoms.
The proof will be in the pudding, of course, once all the changes and improvements have had a chance to filter through and things stabalise.  It's going to take a little while but Plusnet are so focussed on the 'design' of the product and making sure that the product lives up to what it says it does (hence why being so openly explicit about expected performance).
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

If I can convince myself things are going to get better, then I'll wait a little longer - but there are three separate problems.
1 - Current capacity problems - OK, we've heard a lot about this, and probably they are going to be fixed sooner or later.  Hopefully soon enough.
2 - incorrect traffic management. My perception at the moment is that everything is restricted by default, unless it is specifically identified as interactive. In other words, the equipment used is not intelligent enough to automatically identify services as interactive. The problem with this is that new or less popular interactive services are unusable until someone can sort them out - even if this is possible. Recent examples include spotify, and all the akamai stuff. I also have posts in the forums about less popular video sites (probably also akamai), and Iplayer on Wii, where I believe there is more incorrect throttling. Point is - I don't want to find half the stuff I do doesn't work properly, and then have to raise tickets, or debate endlessly in the forums every time it happens. Then be asked to provide wireshark captures etc. Plusnet tells me it should work - I want it to just work.
3 - Even if 1 & 2 are solved I am not sure that unlimited (or premium) are *designed* to meet my needs. I (like most) work during the day. I also spend a proportion of my evenings during the week keeping our home network of 6 machines working correctly. That inevitably means I need to download updates and drivers etc. With the current definition of expected speeds, first I don't know what speed any download will come in at, because it is impossible to know if it will be classed as FTP, download site/download server/other etc. Second if it turns out that the item I need is one of the more heavily throttled, then more often than not it will not arrive within sufficient time to continue and resolve the problem that day. This is no good to me. Especially if diagnosing problems, where I need to try something, and if that doesn't fix it try something else. The throttling can turn that into a process that takes days, rather than hours. I don't need line speed all the time, but I need something better than only "double or triple dial up" for some of the stuff I need to download.

So I am reaching the conclusion that the only service Plus can offer which meets my speed needs is pro - but for my bandwidth consumption that is going to cost up to £30/month. And then, as stated above, there is a lot on offer at that price point. To be honest, the only reason I am still here (and frankly desperate to find a way to stay) are all the Plusnet side benefits - these forums, good support, the portal facilities etc.
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re:Please please persuade me to stay.

Tony,
I've tried to call you today, but guess you're at work. If you can send me a number I can call you on during the day I'd be happy to, or feel free to drop me an email.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Sadly I never got to talk to Mand - but not sure what she would have done.
Anyway - here is another example of why the plusnet service sometimes badly lets me down.
I am rebuilding a PC for my father in law. At the moment, as a result he has no connection to the internet. It should have been a job of a couple of hours at most. Re-install the OS and drivers, let windows update itself, and install Chrome, Thunderbird, and MS Word - he doesn't need much.
However, the restore CD I have for the machine is pre service pack 2. So part of the operation is to let windows update install service pack 2, and then service pack 3. I kicked off this process at 3:00pm, and 3 hours later I am still waiting for the 79Mb service pack 2 to down load. Unthrottled it would only take a couple of minutes. Even throttled to 1mb/s it would only take about 15 minutes.
I had promised him I would deliver the PC this evening. Now, due to Plusnet's woeful speed on MS updates, he will have to wait a further week (I can't get over there during the week) before he gets connected again. Please remind me again, why I am putting up with this!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,125
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎14-08-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Plusnet may be interested in how this sort of thing effects their reputation. See:
http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=28977.msg531250#msg531250
Unfortunately, much as I would have liked (and would in the past) to have given an unequivocal recommendation - I am no longer able to do so.

EDIT: And sorry - I don't care where the download is coming from, but 10 to 20Kb/s is FAR outside of product specification (I've just installed net limiter monitor). Should I try to dial in with a modem for these downloads?
Zap
Grafter
Posts: 284
Registered: ‎22-11-2007

Re: Please please persuade me to stay.

Don't know the spec of your PC or your line history but what you are doing is NOT a good idea.
Connecting an unprotected PC to the Internet is like putting a target on your back and saying attack me.
Service Packs include all the security fixes for months, I read about a test where they connected a unprotected dozen PC's to the web for exactly the purpose you specify, it took an average of less than 5 minutes for them to become infected.
You should download service packs with another PC and make a slipstream disk so you can build your PC offline.
You will then have that as part of your toolkit and will be able to deliver an install in a predictable period of time.
I don't think your speeds are acceptable, I think you need to reset your router and checkout your exchange to see if the problem is with Plusnet or BT.