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Another one bites the dust.

wisty
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Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Another one bites the dust.

After 13 years as a loyal customer, I am leaving Plusnet. I have had decent deals and service from them over the years, but this time the negatives have far outweighed the positives. I was in Market 1, and what I consider a fairly high end customer. Unlimited Fibre Extra, Anytime calls, caller ID, BT TV, BT Sport and HD. I am a fair way from the cabinet so get 65/11 on the 80/20 product.

I have spoken to the retention team on a couple of occasions, but get the distinct impression that they really don't want Market 1 customers.

I am leaving for two reasons both associated with Plusnet's business strategy in Market 1 rather than their service which has always been good.

The first is strictly financial

Plusnet's best offer for a one year renewal of my current deal was £24.99 for the Broadband component alone - plus line rental and extras. A total with all the other add-on's of almost £65/month. This compared with £61/month from BT for a similar package (albeit 55/10), £59.50/month for a new Mkt 1 customer, and £52/month for a new non-mkt1 customer.

As a bonus, in exchange for a £9.99 delivery charge, BT throws in a new router, a 1TB 4k capable YouView box and a £75 cash card. So about £100/year cheaper, plus some new kit. Interestingly, the financial delta (if you factor in the LRS difference) is about the same as the Mkt 1 premium.

The second is psychological. As a Market 1 Customer, I feel ripped off, and have done for the last few years. I am paying - before discount - £7.50/month over and above the prices other Plusnet customers pay, for exactly the same service. BT Wholesale list price for VDSL does not discriminate between Markets, leaving me with the impression that I am being used to subsidise Plusnet's headline deals. BT do not differentiate and hence do not make me feel the same way, and I would have been willing to pay a small premium for that. As it is I get both the financial and psychological benefit.

An offer at £57.50 - the same deal without the Mkt 1 premium, even though it was higher than a new customer would pay, and more expensive (after the cashback) than BT would probably have kept me. But as I said - Plusnet simply don't seem to want Mkt 1 customers.

I plan to keep my E-mail, and membership of this forum if I can. But I find it sad that Plusnet's strategy relative to Mkt 1 is so bizarre. I accept that they have the right to make this call, but I also have the right to react to it in the way I have.

20 REPLIES
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

 I am in general agreement with @wisty that PlusNet should be looking after its long standing customers, if/when they decide it is time to leave, because they feel they are being ripped off, comparing deals that new customers get,.... the same customer service....(or lack of)... the same wiring/fibre to deliver the "service".... etc... I agree, that there are deals on the open market, that appear to be better than the current deal. 

Have just skimmed reading the post.. ( as there is a lot to take in).. but it seems to me to be " a lot of bother"... to save  £2 per week on the cost of the service ...( with a slight loss of speeds ) by moving to BT... (and all the inconvenience of the change over....  ).. ( will it be better experience to change to BT from Plusnet...than it is from other isp`s TO plusnet  ? ? ? ??  )    Better the devil you know........ comes into play, here.... ! ! !

OK.... so you get a new router.. and a few other give aways... but you won`t get them next year... so factor that into the costings, and the inevitable increase in line charges... The only other advantage that I can see with moving to BT is all the "free" wifi hotspots that you can tap into around the country.... great if you do a lot of travelling... but hey.... there`s a lot of free wifi in places like cafe`s pubs hotels, etc.... If you are " a bit canny"... you can always find out the free wifi passwords of these places and keep them in a little book for future reference if you are in the area ..

 

As has been said, on a couple of other  "I`m leaving! " type posts..... have another go at the retentions department.... and see if you can get  a better deal from another "customer service agent"...   maybe a early morning call.... rather than later in the day...... earlier calls possibly get better deals, due to pressure to maintain the number of  target retentions .. as opposed to later in the day, when they may have reached the daily target... or be well and truly fed up of people moaning at them, so really more interested in "going home time"... than keeping you on the line whingeing at them..... ! ! ! ! ...

 

Good Luck, whichever result you achieve... Wink

 

 

 

wisty
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

Thanks Shutter.

I don't really expect loyalty from suppliers these days, and I don't really expect a  better discount than they would give to a new customer. What I do expect from suppliers is to treat me fairly and not rip me off to subsidise their new customer offers.

So to be honest it wasn't the £2/month that swung the deal. It will probably cost me most of that to retain my PlusNet E-mail account and the free domain I occasionally use. If the £2/month had been the other way, I would probably still have gone.

It was the Market 1 "arrogance" of the company as a whole that has eaten away at my trust in Plusnet. On both occasions when I rang customer retentions the deal on offer was - at first fair. Then they noticed I was Market 1, apologised for making a mistake and slapped on the extra £7.50/month.

No one from PlusNet has ever explained WHY they still differentially charge in Market 1. NO other ISP chooses to discriminate in this way. I understood the issue when it was first introduced with ADSL, and OFCOM were attempting to bribe LLU suppliers to fit their own kit in more exchanges by constraining the discount Openreach could give to ISP's in places where they were (at the time) the only provider. Those days are long gone. Some of the LLU providers (e.g. Talk Talk) will not offer service if they don't have kit in the exchange, but that is understandable. 

I can just about rationalise an uplift (but not £7.50/month) for ADSL as that needs backhaul from each small exchange's DSLAM, and I can see that backhaul from a small rural exchange with few customers would potentially be more expensive per customer than in a larger exchange. However my understanding of the FTTC product topology in rural areas is that the Fibre cabinets are not connected to the little local exchange (except for voice), but are daisy chained on a fibre backbone that goes back to one of the major fibre enabled exchanges from where the ISP's backhaul takes over. In my case I think that is Thatcham - and Thatcham itself is market 3. So the ISP backhaul from these fibre exchanges is shared between market 1 and market 2/3 customers and the market 1 customers probably use less as their speeds, generally, will be lower.

The hassle itself is fairly low. Ordering from BT took 15 minutes. I mainly use the PlusNet mail account, and the "free" domain  for "disposable" addresses. Anything important is done via my own domain and mail service - hosted by someone else. I am expecting to simply switch the username on my existing Router on the handover date. 

A neighbour has BT FTTC. His service is just as reliable as mine has been from PlusNet. Each year he rings BT and asks for a new deal. They have always immediately discounted his renewal down to the then current new customer price (without sending out any new kit or charging setup fees) which seems fair to me. That impression of fair and reasonable was enhanced by BT switching him - at no cost and little fanfare - from his original 40/10 to the 55/10 product. Contrast that with PlusNet's ham fisted switching of existing 40/20 customers, on renewal, down to the 40/2 product.

It remains to be seen if there are any other gotcha's. I am expecting more hassle from PlusNet's billing system once I have left than I am from BT.

I will  document my experience on the changeover to this thread - once it happens.

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): Two identical posts released from Spam Filter and removed.

bmc
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

I believe you can keep your PlusNet e-mail if you pay £1.06 a month but you need to set this up before you leave.

 

Brian

newagetraveller
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

Totally irrelevant I know but "However my understanding of the FTTC product topology in rural areas is that the Fibre cabinets are not connected to the little local exchange " is probably not definite.

I'm in a rural location and my village has been FTTC enabled for 18 months now and I'm 100% sure that mine and other local cabinets are connected to the small exchange - it's not even situated in a building, more like a lean to shed! They all look to be combined cabs too (all in one) and the old ones have gone.

I know what you mean re Mkt 1(Mkt A) though. In spite of there being two LLU operators at the exchange for a couple of years, PN still treated it as a Mkt 1 until the classifications were revised not too long ago. As a result I had to pay more until that change had officilly happened. My protestations about there being LLU services available fell on deaf ears. However, the PN reps in CO could only go by wht was in front of them because of OFCOM's tardiness.

I would have movd to one of the LLU services if it wasn't for who they were.Roll eyes

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Gel
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

wisty
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

 

No. They have a fibre in the village, but they only passed and provided access points for  those properties that were over a certain distance from the cabinet. Presumably that was all that BDUK paid for (3km of trenches and fibre for 6-8 houses!).


Someone I know lives in one of those properties, and they took the 50M/50M deal including VOIP voice services. It works fine.

Moderator's note by Mike (Mav): Full quote of preceding post removed as per Forum rules.

wisty
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

newagetraveller,

Two comments to add.

I'm not sure an exchange which serves enough potential customers to attract two LLU operators would fit my definition of a  "small rural" exchange. Mine,Great Shefford, only serves 700 premises and many of the others in the area are similar in size.

 

I attach a diagram I found online of the FTTC architecture. It would be interesting to know what kit was in your local shed. I would guess it is acting as an aggregation node rather than a handover node, although public info at that level of detail seems very hard to come by - presumably for security reasons.

bmc
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

@newagetraveller

FTTC cannot be connected direct to an Exchange - it must be connected to a cabinet which is "paired" with the original phone cabinet.

 

In certain cases, a "onesie" cabinet is installed - normally when there is a cluster of Exchange Only lines near an Exchange when both an original cabinet and a FTTC one is needed so they can transfer the EO lines from the Exchange to the new setup. I gather the "onesie" cabinet has also been used in areas were it is difficult to get permission for a second cab.

 

If you put your exchange name into the CodeLook website you can see the status of connections to the exchange.

https://www.telecom-tariffs.co.uk/codelook.htm

 

Brian

wisty
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

bmc,

 

You are the wrong side of the FTTC cabinet. You were describing the link between the consumer premises and the cabinet. what BT call D side.

newagetraveller and I were talking about what BT call the E side - the link between the FTTC cabinet and the exchange where the connection is handed over to the ISP backhaul.

bmc
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

@wisty

It is my understanding that the "E" side of a FTTC cabinet is connected directly to an Internet "Head End" (terminology may be wrong) and may go nowhere near the Exchange. Depending on the number of Cabinets involved and the distance to the "head end" there may well be an aggregation node involved - but these can be in an underground chamber or hanging from a pole.

 

Brian

 

wisty
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

That was what I suggested in my original post. 

newagetraveller, said that his cabinet was routed to his local "rural exchange"

I was arguing that his exchange was not really a "small rural" exchange, and the connection his cabinet made to the local exchange was a connection to an aggregation node rather than a handover node - what you call a head end.

I think therefore that we are agreeing. FTTC cabs are connected to head end nodes, which in small rural environments will not necessarily ( probably not ) be the local exchange.

Head end nodes will most likely serve both Mkt 1 and Mkt 2/3 exchanges - eliminating the argument for higher backhaul costs for FTTC customers. 

 

 

 

 

newagetraveller
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

To bmc, I and others connected to my exchange, 1000 subscribers, receive my fibre and voice through one of these  https://www.cable.co.uk/news/all-in-one-cabinet-taking-fibre-broadband-to-county-durham-village-7000...

The "all in one" cabs replaced the existing when fibre was installed and connected. I am 100% connected to the shed that is called an exchange.

 

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newagetraveller
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

Looking up the link bmc provided shows that all nine cabinets are indeed connected to the local exchange. I am served by cabinet 9.

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bmc
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Re: Another one bites the dust.

Whether it is a new "onesie" cabinet or the traditional phone cabinet "paired" with a new fibre cabinet the setup is the same.

 

Your phone line is provided through the Exchange and this is what's shown when you do a check.

 

Internet is provided via a fibre optic cable run from the nearest "head end" node. It may, or may not, pass through the Exchange.

 

Brian