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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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117 Comments
Not applicable
I'm impressed that Plusnet are now introducing 'truly' Unlimited broadband, especially as Sky appears to be the only other ISP to offer this. However, I'm far less impressed with the way the offer pricing is being pushed (i.e. £11.99 pm) rather than clearly showing the normal monthly price. The fact that some other ISP's do this does not make it right. How do I know if I'm in a low cost area? This isn't clear from the frontpage. Is 18 months a reasonable contract term, considering most are only 12 months?
Grafter
"Plusnet Unlimited broadband starts at £11.99 a month. If you live in one of our low cost areas you'll then pay £15.99 a month every month thereafter. If you live outside of one of these areas you'll then pay £19.99 a month thereafter." This ia NOT explained on your website, or at least I can't find it. What is a 'low cost area'? Some kind of social-class rating? I am very interested in the product, but a FAQ would help...
Not applicable
I am interested in the unlimited package, and also the pro package but the one reason I switched to Plusnet in the first place was because of the 1 month minimum contract, which no longer seems to be available on any package. I'm tempted to upgrade but I'm more likely to leave and find another provider that is sure enough of their product to offer short contract lengths.
Not applicable
Foxy, If you look at the sections above entitled 'Geographical Pricing' and 'Market Pricing', this shows the differences. Basically you are in one of the areas where there is more competition in the exchange between different providers, you'll find better pricing is available. Specifically, "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." HTH Gricey
Not applicable
Check out the Market Pricing paragaph and the Ofcom map that's linked to. It appears that "low-cost" is equivalent to "Market 3" and that is pretty much every major urban area according to the map (except Hull of course). If you think about economies of scale that would make sense. It would be useful to have some kind of postcode/phone number low-cost checker made available. However I imagine Ofcom have not made this level of detail available yet. I wait to be corrected or backed up by someone actually in the know Smiley
Grafter
Hi there, Putting your number in the line checker on our website (https://www.plus.net/apps/signup/standard) will tell you what Market your exchange is in, as will checking your number on Samknows (http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php). Regards Mand
Would the price decrease if my exchange changes to a 'Market 3' whilst i am in contract with Plusnet? My exchange is currently 'Market 2' which means i would pay the £19.99? I'm also having the same thoughts as Dave above who mentions the minimum 1 month contract - is that not the case with these unlimited packages?
Seasoned Pro
It would appear that the BBYW products are no more expensive - and much more flexible. (except for a small minority who downloads more than 30GB on a regular basis, doesn't need any web space and likes to be tied down to an 18 month contract). And that's if you live near a major exchange!
Community Gaffer
foxy - Thanks for your feedback. We're going to make sure we add links to more visible information (Product FAQs) that are in our Help & Support on the homepage. In the meatime you can find an FAQ on Unlimited at: http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/products/unlimited/unlimited_faq.shtml Check point 10 - that will give you some information/further links about geographic pricing/Market areas. Hope this helps
Community Veteran
Questions, which will no doubt be frequently asked! 1) How much will it cost on a Market 1 exchange? (I couldn't find the information out in less than 3 clicks and thus got bored of looking) 2) Is this product compatable with my existing Max Pro (812K Upload)? 3) I host websites (and its why I have the extra upload capacity), is this still suitable for me?
Grafter
Thanks for the info. I've now upgraded to unlimited! Cheers :-)
Not applicable
Hi How do I find out how traffic for a certain programme is classed? Specifically, I use Microsoft Mesh to remote to my PC at work, is that classed as web, vpn or peer2peer? More generally, is there a list of how traffic is classified for programmes like this? Cheers Dave
Grafter
So market 3 exchanges get cheaper broadband than market 1 exchanges. That's just fantastic -NOT. How can that be possibly fair? It's not the end users fault which market their exchange is deemed is it? '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.' Yeah I'm one of those customers as my exchange (though no fault of my own is only a market 1 exchange) and NO you can't and don't offer the best value broadband as O2 for a start, offer cheaper unlimited off-network broadband than Plus Net does.
Grafter
@ Richard - if your exchange becomes Market 3 during the contract you would get Market 3 pricing from the end of your contracted period. This works in reverse too (so if you went from Market 3 to Market 2 you would pay the lower price until the end of your contract). The new products have an 18 month contract as standard, with the exception of Pro, which has a 12 month contract. @ darkskye - Market 1 pricing is detailed on the sales pages. You can still use Max Premium and web hosting on the new products, if you have these already they will be automatically carried over. @woboz - the best way to find out is to run a Wireshark capture, you can find out how to do this here: http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/troubleshooting/wireshark.shtml @ James Mitchell - We can get cheaper broadband in those areas due to the deregulation by Ofcom, so we choose to pass those savings on in order to be more competitive when compared with LLU providers.
Grafter
@ Mand 'so we choose to pass those savings on in order to be more competitive when compared with LLU providers.' ...in other words market 1 exchange users are now subsibising market 3 exchange users. Why should a user who just so happens to be on a market 1 exchange not pay the same as a user on a market 3 exchange? It NOT the users fault nor choice which exchange they are connected too. Yes if users had a choice of exchanges this might work but as users don't have a choice it's totally and utterly unfair for all market 1 exchange users. You are just feeding and making the gap even bigger between inner city and rural exchanges. Yet again, users on smaller exchanges are losing out to users on larger exchanges. The product you are selling is EXACTLY the same so charging different users different prices based on location is making broadband a post code lottery. I've already asked for my MAC (which I'm still waiting for) as this really is the final straw now with Plus Net.
Grafter
Hi James, I'm in a totally different department to Mand (I'm in Networks) so I may be wrong, but I don't see the negative side with geographic pricing... The way I see it is like this (caveat: I am not a product manager or in finance!): - PN launch a set of new products. They determine the profit per account is going to be X (X is never a big amount on any competitive BB product, because the market is very competitive) - PN get some of these lines cheaper because of deregulation. - Rather than make extra money off the lines that are cheaper, they discount the customers who are on these lines and end up making the same profit, but the customer pays less. The way I see it is that PN are doing good here (charging less where it costs them less), but maybe thats just my view Smiley The whole tiered market pricing thing is run by OFCOM to make the market more competitive... other ISPs will pick this up if they don't already (or they will decide to just make more money off the people in Market 3... their product choice). I don't see how that is a reason to dislike Plusnet, when they are just passing on the savings where their costs are lower. Maybe they could have done something like average out the price of all the products. But then as people realise they are in Market 3, they will simply move to the providers that are passing on the wholesale discounts for the lines in their area. Mike.
Not applicable
Have I read this correctly - if I change from Option 1 plus Homephone Anytime to Vale plus Homephone Anytime I save £5 per month, and gain more internet time. But do I stay on the CN21 trial which has given me a slightly faster speed than what I had [nothing like most people's] or do I revert back to being on very slow speed? Am considering doing so but need to know these things first!
Seasoned Pro
Correct me if I'm wrong, but someone like me on a Market 3 exchange living in London who not surprisingly lives reasonably close to the exchange gets a high speed. Someone living in a rural area is unlikely to have cable etc on their exchange and will be market 1 or 2. It is likely that they live far from their exchange and get fairly slow download performance. So those suffering poor performance will be subsidising those with a reasonably good performance!
Grafter
How can this possibly make broadband more competitive for market 1 exchanges? There's ONE provider in my exchange and that's BT. No LLU. It's a market 1 exchange and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. There's also no cable in by area. I have NO CHOICE at all when it comes when it comes to broadband. There's ZERO competition in my exchange so how on earth are you new products or OFCOMS tiered pricing going to make things more competitive in my area? Simple - It wont It only makes broadband more competitive in market 3 exchanges, where there's already A CHOICE of one of more provider. Explain to me exactly how this system will benefit any market 1 exchange user?
Grafter
'The way I see it is that PN are doing good here (charging less where it costs them less), but maybe thats just my view' But why should someone with a different post code to me pay £5 less for exactly the same product I'm paying for? Like I said earlier, it's not the users fault that they are on a market 1 exchange. You can't choose which market exchange you want to connect to. The market nomination of the exchange is not based on the end user either. The end user has no say what so ever in this.
Grafter
James, as I see it, it makes broadband more competitive 'for people who are selling broadband against LLU operators in that exchange'. You're right in that the people who aren't on M3 aren't seeing increased competition at the exchange, but it would seem that the OFCOM have taken the decision to deregulate based on the multiple providers selling against each other... meaning ultimately a better deal for the consumer *where this competition exists*. I guess (again all my own uninformed opinion Smiley) that OFCOM can't deregulate where there aren't multiple providers because they are all commercial entities and it would give one a commercial advantage over the other, which is one of the things OFCOM watch out for. From the ISP perspective, the price of the wholesale product has gone down in some areas and they can choose to pass on those savings to who it applies. From the user perspective, they will see a price reduction where the ISP can pass on the cost, but this is as you say different per postcode (but ultimately the responsibility of those who regulate the market). So basically, you have OFCOM making sure you don't have a monopoly/price fixing/whatever, but those same checks and balances have a downside in that it has to work both ways, and sometimes that works out worse for some people. As I said above, I don't really see a scenario where individual providers would average out the price across all their geographic areas to compensate, as the the way common sense works would just see all the M3 customers go join an ISP that has geographic pricing to get the best available deal for them. axisofevil, I dont see how its one subsidisng the other, its a change in the wholesale cost, I dont think profit margins are affected as the price goes down both ways, ie the wholesale provider (eg bt) can sell it X cheaper, they will then pass on that saving to the ISP who will then pass on that saving to the customer. There's no 'extra money' floating round to subsidise the other bands. The issue here is regulatory and OFCOM driven, really. My (possibly now a bit more than) 2p, Mike.
Not applicable
Frankly I still think it's an abuse of the term unlimited if the service is throttled (more so than ever before it seems). Unlimited is unlimited. Nothing less. If the service has restrictions, it is not unlimited. In fact the throttling by definition will limit how much you can download (more so than just line speed). Anyway, will have to pick over this carefully to compare to the old premier package (which has a favourable off-peak period). However, it's rather sneaky that these new cheaper packages have sprung up not that long after Plus hooked a load of us into a fixed term contract to get an extra discount for "free" ! Wink.
Not applicable
Mand said: "Putting your number in the line checker on our website (https://www.plus.net/apps/signup/standard) will tell you what Market your exchange is in" Not if you're already a PlusNet subscriber, it won't. It just says the exchange name. "as will checking your number on Samknows (http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php)." Yes, that one does.
Not applicable
Using the upgrade process gives this link, so I can compare Option 2 to the new packages :- https://portal.plus.net/support/broadband/quality_broadband/speed.shtml#Option2speeds But the #Option2speeds anchor is dead, and there's nothing about Option 2 on that page. I expect it's buried on the site ... somewhere. Besides, why can't we have a nice AJAXy selector which instantly summarises the differences between any two packages (old or new)?
Not applicable
On this page: http://portal.plus.net/support/broadband/quality_broadband/speed.shtml The index at the top includes this :- "3. Plusnet Pro Expected maximum downstream speeds" Which should be linked to this :- http://portal.plus.net/support/broadband/quality_broadband/speed.shtml#prospeeds But is linked to this in error :- http://portal.plus.net/support/broadband/quality_broadband/speed.shtml#valueprospeeds As for the new offers, not everyone wants or needs a new router, and removing *any* month-by-month offer for new customer seems short-sighted to me. Maybe you'll add that once you've soaked up all the new "unlimited! must have that" punters.
Community Gaffer
@axisofevil The products are not cross subsided market to market, we simply offer the lowest price point we can in each market. Cheers.
Grafter
@deadkenny - The product is unlimited in that there is no cap, or FUP. There'll always be a debate surrounding management, but IMO as long as the management is clear, and the product sold based on that I don't see any major issues with that. Regarding the recontracting offers, you can still move to the new products if you took one of these, or you can stay put at the discounted price. I don't see that we've been sneaky there at all. @helpful subscriber - We are looking at the contract options, but for the initial launch the new products are 18 months, with the exception of Pro which is 12. Regards Mand
Grafter
Hi Chris, --- @axisofevil The products are not cross subsided market to market, we simply offer the lowest price point we can in each market. --- Is that totally true? Plusnet Pro is the same price market 1 and 2 as market 3 - yet Plusnet's costs are lower in Market 3?
Ben
Newbie
@deadkenny: If you want super awesome broadband that has no limits and no throttling, perhaps this would be better suited to your needs? http://www.superawesomebroadband.com/ Super Awesome = Not Cheap.
Not applicable
[...] you are still keen to torrent your bits, then Plusnet is also offering an unlimited broadband package, as in… unlimited. The ISP claims that advances in traffic management mean it can offer truly [...]
Community Gaffer
@Liam Pro is slightly different to Value and Unlimited as all the traffic is prioritised across our network, obviously this comes at a premium and therefore will cost more across the board. I don't actually know the intimate details of the pricing of this product so therefore can't comment really further on it.
Grafter
That doesn't really answer the point though, does it? The point is Market 3 customers cost you less. Yet on Plusnet Pro you're charging them the same as Market 1 or 2 customers. Yet you're saying that the products are not subsidised market to market - yet 'you're' charging market 3 customers more on Pro when 'your' own wholesale costs are lower? From the blog post above :- "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." There's no consistency in the message you're giving across here...
Not applicable
how will unlimited use affect me?
Not applicable
So now Plus Net has gone the way of most other ISPs and set a 12 or 18 month minimum contract term, why then can you offer monthly terms after this period and not to start off with as previously? Just one other point, it may have been fairer to pass on the savings you get from Market 3 low cost exchanges across the whole customer base and make prices the same wherever they are located.
Not applicable
Another poorly thought out and executed change to the service provided I've seen a number of changes and I have stayed on my old account costing me £15 a month, Your latest offerings still don't inspire me. Value , unlimited or Pro !! Come on straight a way your creating a Tier system based on peoples ability to pay and nothing else. I'm in area 2 according to your site and I'm hardly likely to move to Hull so basically you have created a discriminatory system just like the post code lottery of other services that fail to provide a good value service year after year. Congratulations you have managed to annoy about 95% of your customer base.
Grafter
@leanord j wilson - the customers on the unlimited product will not adversely affect existing customers. The traffic management implementation and the bandwidth forecasting we have in place will ensure that this is the case. @ Darren J - it's possible to have a monthly contract after the initial term as the acquisition costs will have been paid off during the contract term. With regards to geographic pricing, this is not new practice across the industry, some providers have been doing this for a long time now. To slightly reduce costs across the whole base instead would mean that we still weren't competitive enough to compete properly with the LLU providers. Given that approx 80% of the UK is covered by a Market 3 exchange the majority of customers will be able to take advantage of the lower prices.
Not applicable
Am I the only one who can't believe the speed caps that are being imposed? I still can't get my head around why this is a good deal. Surely everybody wants faster broadband these days with ADSL2 being offered by LLU providers and soon from 21CN etc and yet this unlimited offer is at the expense of the very speed increases we all want. I'm sure that there are a number of people like me who like to stream adverts and shows from the Apple film trailer site, BBC iplayer, Channel 4 OD, Sky etc, or get 1GB+ game demos from Xbox live / Playstation network, but if these are classed as download sites or download servers, we'll be getting a 'maximum' speed of 256Kbps or 512Kbps at peak times, (ie, in the evenings when people will want to use them!). It looks even worse for peer to peer at 128Kbps!! I recently downloaded a mod for Oblivion that had new textures and changes to the game and was a large file, so the site used BitTorrent as their preferred method of download rather than mirror servers, (in fact I think I read somewhere that Sky were doing this too for their movies), at this speed, it'll take all night to get the file(s)! So, we can choose to upgrade to an unlimited service but suffer when we want to use it with 'real' download speeds of 16KBps (128Kbps) to 64KBps (512Kbps) complete with the constant buffering when streaming video or downloads that take all night to finish? No thanks, I'll stick with what I've got, I thought broadband speeds were moving forward with increasing speeds, not going back to the days of ISDN!! What's next? a new 56Kbps service so we can re-live the good old days of modem speeds!!?Huh
Grafter
How can you possibly expect to even come close to competing with LLU in Market 3 exchanges when PN doesn't offer anything faster than upto 8MBHuh There's absolutely no two ways about it - if LLU was available in my exchange, I certainly would not use Plus Net. So what your saying is the other 20% of the UK which are either M1 or M2 can go and stick it. It's blatantly obvious, PN are now only interested in M3 exchange customers.
Not applicable
once again those of us on rural exchanges are losing out. We get lower speeds, we are among the last to go onto the new faster packages and now we are expected to pay more for this privilege. Perhaps if we are going to get into post code lottery pricing the products should be priced on the download speed available. That would only seem fair.
Not applicable
Of the traffic classes identified above, into which do Streaming and VoIP fit? These protocols are more time-critical than a normal download and so surely need to be seperately classed with different speed caps. What's more I know that iPlayer uses in the environment of 768kbps when it is streamed through a Flash 7 client, like on the Nintendo Wii. If you include Streaming in Download Servers, as I think you probably do, this would render this service unusable at certain times of the day even though the limit of bandwidth usage over the billing month has been removed. Can you please clarify this and dispell my worries.
Plusnet Staff
@ Lionel, because of Ofcom deregulation we can offer customers in Market 3 areas a lower price because the lower wholesale costs in those areas allow us to. It's unfortunate, for those in rural areas such as yourself, that deregulation could only take place in exchanges where multiple competitors are located. To do otherwise would, I'm sure, be considered to provide an unfair compeitive advantage. But you're not paying 'more' in a non-Market 3 area (ie you're not subsidising other customers) it's simply that we can't offer the same lower price. It's not a case of semantics either, simply of economics. I'm not so sure that £11.99 per month for 'up to 8Mb' with 10Gb included is that bad - is it? @ Des, if you want up to line speed perfomance on those protocols then you might like to consider Pro. Value and Unlimited use traffic management as described in order to provide a low-cost, sustainable product suitable for most peoples' average use. If it's not for you then by all means stick with your existing product or try Pro.
Grafter
'But you're not paying 'more' in a non-Market 3 area (ie you're not subsidising other customers) it's simply that we can't offer the same lower price. It's not a case of semantics either, simply of economics. I'm not so sure that £11.99 per month for 'up to 8Mb' with 10Gb included is that bad - is it?' So why not spread the cost savings across all your customers then regardless of post code? Which ever way you look at this and no matter how much marketing twist you put on this, M3 customers are paying less than M1 customers for exactly the same product - fact; so M1 customers *are* paying more than M3 customers for exactly the same product.
Not applicable
Could I confirm please that these new throttled speeds only apply to the Value and Unlimited packages. In particular, that they're not going to apply to existing packages (e.g. BBYW) Up to now I have always recommended Plusnet to friends and customers. However at the speeds mentioned for these packages, I don't think I can honestly do so any more. Unless they sign up to the Pro package (twice the price of what used to be the cheapest standard option), they will end up with these slower speeds. I agree with what Des said about going backwards. In fact, on the Value package, Peer to Peer between 6pm - 10pm is only 50Kbps - slower than dial up!
Newbie
"So why not spread the cost savings across all your customers then regardless of post code?" Because if PN became Friend of the Bumpkin tomorrow (me included), their products would instantly become less competitive in the towns and cities, and everyone would switch. That would leave PN with 10 per cent of its customer base (in M1), whose net price averaged with other Bumpkins (M1s) would be, er, the same as now. Outcome: PN goes bust. It happens in all sorts of regulated markets. In some, we Bumpkins win (train fares from Shropshire to Birmingham at about a quarter of the price of those from Cambs to London), in others, we lose. I guess you (a) shrug and accept it, (b) move or (c) elect a government with stronger socialist ideals than this one. I don't see how PN can be cast as the villain here. Ofcom's effectively set (or allowed) different wholesale prices in each market - retailers either follow or die.
Not applicable
Currently on Pro and market 3. I understand that Pro give non restricted download speeds but confused how if the line is cheaper that the cost is not slightly cheaper too. I would also like an explanation on why the cost for pro is the same across all 4 markets if all pro customers have the same unrestricted speeds but the line is cheaper then how does this work. The explanation given for the reduction in speeds due to the market type means that pro should logically be cheaper. Podman
Grafter
There is no justification at all for Plusnet charging different prices in the different Market 1, 2, 3 areas when Plusnet delivers its entire service through BT Wholesale who charge Plusnet precisely the same amount per customer for the connection and the Centrals in all these areas so far as I am aware. This is quite different to Sky, Be/O2, Tiscali, Talktalk etc who have installed their own LLU equipment in certain Market 2 and Market 3 exchanges with their own backhaul links so have a genuine reason they can offer cheaper prices in those exchanges. As a Market 1 exchange area customer I was about to switch to Plusnet on the basis of the 10Gb Broadband Your Way Option 1 deal it was promoting through USwitch in January that included phone line rental too at £19.50 per month including evening and weekend calls and with the first 3 months at £5 and £15 cashback for not taking a router. But now I find the price has gone up because I am in a Market 1 area. It is quite clear Market 1 customers are paying an excessive price to subsidise Plusnet offering cheap prices in Market 3 areas that are not a fair reflection of its own costs - this is because for Plusnet these costs are just the same as in Market 1 areas . Or are we saying that Plusnet will no longer use BT Wholesale for backhaul in Market 2 and 3 areas and will use Virgin/NTL, Cable & Wireless or whoever will provide it the backhaul most cheaply in those areas? I can't understand how Plusnet can bring in pricing that pretends it has its own LLU equipment in Market 2 and 3 exchanges that lets it offer lower prices when in fact it uses BT Wholesale at all phone exchanges. This suggests Plusnet will now make huge profits on customers in Market 1 areas on its unlimited product (for which read in reality read massively throttled for heavy downloaders if anyone actually tries to make use of the so called unlimited as per Virgin, Tiscali and co - the only unlimited will in reality be the fact that the amount you can download once you are throttled to 128kbps or whatever and stuck on your own specially slow pipe with other heavy downloaders is not specified). By the way I am not a heavy downloader but it is obvious that Plusnet's claims to be offering genuinely unlimited are dishonest and led by the BT marketing tail now wagging the Plusnet dog. Surely BT's 21st Century Network is coming to all phone exchanges and not those in just Market 3 so I don't see what Plusnet's justification is for this new pricing structure that discriminates against those of us living in Market 1 areas without any difference in Plusnet's operating cost base in those areas that justifies it doing so.
Not applicable
@Rich, the rate limits detailed in this post apply to the 'Unlimited' package only. The rate limits that have always been applied to BBYW products can be seen here - http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/products/archive/bbyw/speed.shtml
Grafter
The so called "unlimited" packages are basically saying that oh well Tiscali, TalkTalk, Sky etc have been allowed by the ASA and Ofcom to get away with calling massively throttled connections unlimited so now we intend to join them. It is clearly dishonest to call them unlimited when they are heavily limited by throttling at any peak time. "No data limit but heavily throttled for any intensive download use at peak times" would be an accurate description. As to 12 month contracts if a customer is migrating and has their own router there is no justification at all for it. This is anti-competitive behaviour of the worst kind which the cretins at Ofcom should stop in the name of competition - it isn't allowed for energy suppliers to lock you in for 12 months. A 12 month contract is only possibly justified if a customer gets a free new broadband connection and free router in the deal. Lets face it the 12 month contract lock ins clearly indicate that BT is reigning in any freedom by Plusnet to behave differently and next year the whole thing will probably be re-branded as BT. Even their CEO is directly ex BT now. Also thinking about it again given the stupid pricing in Market 1 surely anyone living in Market 1 who wants Unlimited should move to Pro instead as the price is the same. Either that or move to www.idnet.co.uk, www.newnet.co.uk or www.zen.co.uk who do not discriminate against those of us living in the countryside. BT still has over 50% of the broadband marketplace so why should their pricing be derestricted when they still have Significant Market Power that means it should still be in place. People living in the countryside don't pay more for gas or electricity so why should they have to pay more for phone or broadband?
Grafter
Also as you are just BT by another name these days why are you still not including 0845 and 0870 calls in your bundled minutes phone line rental packages, especially for people living in Market 3 areas. Surely this is BT policy now.
Grafter
Even in a Market 1 area you can get a massively throttled at peak times (misleading called unlimited) broadband connection from numerous other suppliers such as Sky, Tiscali, TalkTalk, Orange etc for less than £19.99 per month. So why would anyone living in the countryside select one of Plusnet's sc called unlimited packages?