PlusNet accuses broadband rivals of misleading customers

Summary:Following the sudden departure of several top management figures and a major restructuring of its customer services, PlusNet claims to have risen above other ISPs who are 'mis-selling' broadband services

A senior PlusNet executive has hit out at those in the broadband industry who advertise free or unlimited connectivity, including partner Tiscali.

Marketing director Marco Potesta told ZDNet UK on Thursday that the industry was "mis-selling on free" and wrong to advertise services as "unlimited".

"There's no such thing as free and no such thing as unlimited," Potesta told ZDNet UK on Thursday. "By definition, network is finite, the resources in the network that can be applied to customers is finite. We came clean real quick on that one, but I don't see Tiscali coming clean on that, I don't see other people coming clean."

Potesta also confirmed that several senior PlusNet staff have recently left the company.

A spokeswoman for Tiscali insisted on Thursday that it was not misrepresenting its products. Like many ISPs, it advertises certain of its services as "unlimited" despite the inclusion of a "fair usage" clause that is designed to ease congestion at peak traffic times but effectively serves as a cap.

"We trialled some capped products about a year ago and we found customers really didn't understand what a cap meant," she told ZDNet UK. "We sell, within the ASA's guidelines, an unlimited product — that means we don't put a limit or a cap on our consumer products, but we do operate a fair usage policy".

PlusNet is a wholesale customer of Tiscali's in local loop unbundling (LLU), the process by which Internet service providers (ISPs) can install their own equipment in BT exchanges without themselves being wholesale customers of BT.

However, two weeks ago PlusNet announced it was pausing the migration of its customers onto Tiscali Wholesale's LLU platform so that it could "take stock of the situation". A number of PlusNet's customers had reported problems in the migration, and the company refunded those who had experienced more than seven days of downtime. It has yet to resume the process.

"The LLU implementation had its issues and, had we behaved as we used to behave as an organisation and had the customer at the centre of everything we did, then we firmly believe that these things wouldn't have happened," Potesta suggested.

"Culturally, transparency is a very difficult thing for businesses to get a hold of," he added.

As well as its renewed drive for transparency....

Topics: Networking


David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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