Plusnet has announced a new bolt-on to help heavy broadband users make sure that no matter how busy the network is, their service will remain consistent.
Plusnet Pro is a new service available to Plusnet Value and Extra customers costing £5-a-month extra and promises to prioritise your traffic and maintain a “reliable and stable connection at full speed across the entire day.” The service is aimed at gamers and home workers and having a prioritisation service means customers are guaranteed lower latency, so no matter how busy the network gets there will be no slowdown to their service. Of course what this means for everyone else’s service remains to be seen. Jamie Ford, CEO of Plusnet, said: “Just like paying a little extra to do a fast check-in at the airport, Plusnet Pro is for users who want to ensure the best possible internet experience even at busy times. With Fibre not yet available in many areas of the country this is the best service accessible to all the market to ensure lower latency and that you get the fastest speeds available to you regardless of when you're online.”
Managing capacity at peak times is a serious issue for all ISPs with most users experience a severe slow down during those hours. The area of traffic management or net neutrality has become more and more important in recent years and the policies of various ISPs regarding this have been scrutinised by Ofcom as the broadband infrastructure in the UK has come under a lot of strain. Plusnet published its Traffic Management Policy on its website and it says it uses “traffic management extensively to ensure our customers get a reliable home service that at the same time is cost effective.” It currently prioritises VoIP services such as Skype or FaceTime over browsing or streaming to ensure continued service. However with the new Plusnet Pro service now on offer, it remains to be seen how this will affect non-subscribers.
We’ve been in touch with Plusnet regarding the possible impact the Pro service will have on other regular users and we’ll let you know what they say as soon as we hear from them.
Update: Plusnet has been back onto us and assured customers that the Pro bolt-on won't affect the regular users:
boosted our network and increased the bandwidth available to provide
Pro. Our core products will not suffer as a result of this development,
it is about offering customers more choice. We continue to actively
use traffic management over our network so that users needing more time
dependent services, e.g. iPlayer, Skype have priority over those using
less time dependent services."