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Unlimited Broadband - The myth becomes reality

Unlimited Broadband - The myth becomes reality

Unlimited Broadband - The myth becomes reality

Plusnet Unlimited Broadband If we said your broadband was unlimited and meant it, what would you say? If you've been a Plusnet customer for a while now, then there's a good chance that you'll be familiar with our thoughts on 'unlimited broadband' and our opinion of 'unlimited' with hidden fair usage policies.  We're still very passionate about this and we're of the firm opinion that customers should be told exactly what product they're buying and what they're going to get for their money. Because we have explained before that a service provider has to have a sustainable product and because we've gone into some considerable detail about the commercial realities of the ISP industry, some of you are going to be a bit surprised that we've just launched an unlimited broadband product. Yes, you read that right. Plusnet Unlimited Broadband.  Yes, really! Before you start thinking we've lost the plot let's take a look at where we were a couple of years ago and where we are now. The market and the economics have changed significantly since our last residential product revision, and we believe that now, at long last, we can deliver a truly unlimited product.  We know that a lot of new and existing customers are looking for broadband with no caps or 'fair usage limits'.  In an extremely competitive and maturing market (a 'switchers' market the marketing people call it), we've been able to design an unlimited broadband product that is sustainable and at a realistic price for the cost-conscious. And you know that we're open and more transparent than most companies.  So when we put 'unlimited' in a table of competitor products you know that we mean it. How do we intend doing that? Smart traffic management is how. Most ISPs tend to shy away from the subject of traffic management. Not so Plusnet. We've explained how we use traffic management to identify and prioritise traffic on our network. We've done this for several years now, and through intelligent product design we've always used our traffic management platform to ensure that the experience our customers get is as good as it can be. This involves prioritising time-sensitive activities like VoIP and gaming traffic, whilst ensuring that bandwidth-hungry protocols like Peer to Peer are not allowed to harm the performance of the network. With our expertise in the area, we know that we can continue to deliver to our customers the quality experience they expect from us. The unlimited product will be managed accordingly to ensure that time-sensitive applications like web-browsing, streaming and VoIP continue to run at an optimum level alongside the more bandwidth- intensive activities like Peer to Peer and binary newsgroup downloads. How it works

Plusnet Unlimited expected maximum downstream speeds

  2am to 12pm 12pm to 2pm 2pm to 4pm 4pm to 6pm 6pm to 8pm 8pm to 10pm 10pm to 11pm 11pm to 12am 12am to 2am
Peer-to-Peer Line speed 512Kbps 256Kbps 164Kbps 128Kbps 128Kbps 256Kbps 512Kbps Line speed
Binary USENET Line speed 512Kbps 256Kbps 164Kbps 128Kbps 128Kbps 256Kbps 512Kbps Line speed
External FTP Line speed 512Kbps 256Kbps 256Kbps 256Kbps 164Kbps 256Kbps 512Kbps Line speed
VPN 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps
Download sites Line speed 1Mbps 1Mbps 512Kbps 256Kbps 256Kbps 256Kbps 512Kbps Line speed
Download servers Line speed 2Mbps 2Mbps 1Mbps 756Kbps 512Kbps 756Kbps 1Mbps Line speed
Gaming* 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps 2Mbps
* Most games need low latency which is why we prioritise gaming traffic. If a game needs more than 2Mb of bandwith, we can address these games on an individual basis, so performance should not be affected.

Of course, not everyone needs or wants to pay for unlimited usage.  That's why we're also launching Plusnet Value and Plusnet Pro.  Value is cheaper than the other two accounts and offers 10GB per month - that's plenty for many people. Pro gives you 15GB of line-speed usage at all times. Average usage When designing products we calculate a usage allowance, which is arrived at by deducting the supply costs, tax, support costs, systems costs (mail, billing etc) and profit (we are a business after all!) from the product price. We also base this allowance on the usage habits of customers, some will use it a lot and some won't. All of this data is factored in and the products we are launching today are the result of all of that analysis.  With defined usage products, it's very straightforward to forecast usage trends, and whilst it's not always the case, they're fairly easy to predict alongside costing. With an unlimited product we have to make a judgement as to the amount of bandwidth that customers will use, and the effect that this has on the performance of the network. Bearing this in mind, it's important to get our forecasts right as this directly affects the amount of capacity we need to add to the network. Having the right forecasting and capacity planning means we can be sure that we are offering a service that you'll want to use and recommend to your friends and family. Geographical Pricing Some broadband providers offer prices dependent on where you live. So far this has tended to be those with an LLU presence in the busier telephone exchanges (Sky, O2, Orange, Tiscali and TalkTalk have done this for some time). For providers who use the BT Wholesale network to supply broadband (like ourselves), the pricing has largely been the same regardless of where you live. The telecommunications regulator Ofcom has recently announced the removal of certain regulatory obligations that applied to the broadband market. This deregulation means that we benefit from reduced supply costs in these areas (also known as 'Market 3' exchanges - see below) and allows us to compete more actively with LLU providers like the ones mentioned above. It also means that our customers get to benefit from lower baseline pricing.   Market Pricing Under Ofcom regulations introduced in May 2008, telephone exchanges are graded in one of four categories.

  • Market 1 - BT Wholesale are the only broadband provider
  • Market 2 - Broadband is available from 2 or 3 providers (including BT)
  • Market 3 - Broadband is available from 4 or more providers (including BT)
  • Hull Area - Exchanges that are served exclusively by Kingston Communications

If an exchange is scheduled to offer broadband from 4 or more providers in the future then it'll be Market 2 if it serves less than 10,000 lines and Market 3 if it serves more than 10,000. Not everyone will be able to benefit from these price cuts (take a look on the Ofcom map). However, we're confident that we'll be able to offer our customers the best value broadband in their area.   21CN Much has been said about the next generation of BT Wholesale products and BT's new 21CN network. If you've not heard anything about this (where have you been?), then you can bring yourself up to speed by reading the blog posts here and here. These products will allow us to offer ADSL2+ to our customers. The nationwide rollout is currently ongoing, and we've been running a trial for customers in the areas that have already been upgraded. You may wonder how this helps us to provide an unlimited product, given that faster speeds mean customers can download more, right? The main advantage for us here is that the price per Mbps of data is lower on 21CN, meaning you get a heck of a lot more bandwidth for your money. This on top of other savings lets us offer more bandwidth at lower prices than we've been able to in the past. We're very excited about our new broadband products and what they mean for our customers and for Plusnet. If you'd like to discuss our new products with us, then please head over to our forums where you'll find our customer community and Plusnet staff, who'll be only too happy to welcome you and answer your questions. More information about the design and expected speeds of our Value, Unlimited and Pro products can be found here. see also: Residential Broadband Products FAQ Plusnet Unlimited FAQ

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