About broadband allowances

All our broadband is now unlimited. So you can go online as much as you like without worrying about having to pay extra.

We haven't always offered unlimited broadband, so if you signed up for Plusnet a while ago you might still have a limit on how much you can use. If you've got Broadband Your Way or Broadband PAYG, you can adjust your allowance. But our older broadband options have fixed allowances.

Why not upgrade to one of our unlimited broadband options? It might be cheaper than keeping what you've got and paying extra charges for going over your allowance.

Not sure what broadband you've got at the moment? Just log in to your account to check.

You can see how much broadband you've used since your last bill, by going to View My Broadband Usage and logging in to your account.

You can see more details about how much you've used by going to Usage this month, and Usage history.

Usage breakdown shows how much data you've used for every different activity. Here's what they all mean.

  • Web – browsing online using a web browser like Internet Explorer or Safari.
  • Email – sending and receiving emails using an email application like Outlook or Mac Mail.
  • Broadband phone calls – making calls over the Internet, e.g. Skype or Facebook Messenger.
  • Gaming – playing online multi-player games like World of Warcraft or Xbox Live.
  • Streaming – watching TV and movies online, or listening to music e.g. Netflix, Amazon, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, Deezer.
  • Plusnet FTP – this is mainly used for things like uploading webpages.
  • Peer to Peer – downloading files using file sharing applications e.g. BitTorrent.
  • Usenet – using or downloading posts from newsgroup discussion forums or downloading files from binary newsgroups.
  • FTP (Non Plusnet) – moving files to servers that aren't run by Plusnet e.g. if you're working from home and uploading files to your office server.
  • Other – anything else.

When your router's switched on, it always uses a little bit of data. This is known as 'background traffic' and is a very small amount. It's nothing to worry about and you certainly shouldn't switch your router off because of it. In fact, we recommend leaving your router on all the time because it helps you get the best broadband speed.

If you've used a lot more than you were expecting (and by 'a lot' we mean 1GB or more) one of these might be the reason.

  • Using lots of devices – it's not just laptops and desktop computers that use the Internet. If you've been using Wi-Fi on your mobile, tablet or games console, that will count towards your allowance too.
  • Using an unsecured Wi-Fi network – if you haven't password-protected your Wi-Fi, someone else might be using it without you knowing. Take a look at our tips for making sure your Wi-Fi is secure.
  • Having a virus or malware – these use a lot of broadband data. It's worth scanning your computer with an anti-virus scanner to make sure your computer hasn't picked up anything nasty. And you should always make sure you're using anti-virus software. We recommend Plusnet Protect.

Yes, if you want to avoid charges for going over your allowance, you can set a maximum spend for each month. To do that, go to Manage My Usage and log in to your account.

When you set a maximum spend and you use this allowance, we limit your usage by reducing your speed to 256kb/s and blocking Usenet, peer to peer services and Plusnet FTP. So it might still look like you've used more than your maximum spend limit. But don't worry, you won't have to pay for anything over your maximum spend.

What is caching?

Caching is a way to bring Internet content that users regularly request closer to them within our network, so that you can more easily and quickly access the content you need. For example if you were streaming a film from Netflix, if this content were cached on the Plusnet network, it would reduce any possible "buffering" and ensure you get a quality picture experience.

We do this by hosting the content on the Plusnet network, rather than you having to request it from servers further away over the Internet.

What does it mean for me?

That will depend upon the type of product that you have purchased from Plusnet, as only certain products will benefit from the caching capability.

Which type of product have you purchased?

Unlimited product Product with usage limits

If you're on one of our unlimited products, the way we deliver cached content means it doesn't come into contact with the part of our network that tracks usage for customers, and therefore it affects the accuracy of your reported usage. For example, on the "View My Broadband Usage" page of our Member Centre, you may now see that your usage of streamed content e.g. Netflix has decreased because this is being delivered from the cache and not from the internet. You will still see non-cached content being counted on the View My Broadband Usage page, but it will not be as accurate overall.

If you are on one of our capped products, you won't be affected by this change. Because all your usage is non-cached, the reported usage you see in the "View My Broadband Usage" page will remain accurate.