One of the UK’s most recognised internet service providers (ISPs), Virgin Media broadband is distinguished by its performance. Founded in 1989 by Richard Branson, Virgin utilises its own underground cable infrastructure, delivering superfast and ultrafast connections directly into customer homes without buffering or slowdowns at peak periods. In addition to broadband, Virgin Media bundles home phone, mobile phone and pay TV services into quad-play family entertainment packages.
Virgin Media offers its own cable broadband service, with a variety of additional phone, mobile and TV services. All packages provide a state-of-the-art Super Hub. If you’re after basic ADSL broadband, you’ll need to look elsewhere, since Virgin only offers Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) cable services. The company employs DOCSIS 3 technology, with an insulated cable extending from the nearest pavement cabinet right into your home for genuinely impressive FTTP speeds.
Virgin broadband doesn’t come with free gifts or cashback vouchers like other ISPS, but new customers can choose from several line speeds:
With average download speeds of 54Mbps and upload speeds of 5Mbps, this is Virgin Media’s entry-level package, ideal for smaller households and still eclipsing many FTTC connections in terms of performance.
The M100 package has average download speeds of 108Mbps and upload speeds of 10Mbps, and could be a perfect fit for busy households supporting anywhere between five and nine connected devices at any given moment.
The M200 platform can power even the biggest homes with average download speeds of 213Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps, enabling ten or more devices simultaneously using the internet.
Perfect for serious gamers and large households where people spend a significant amount of time streaming HD content, this package boasts average download speeds of 362Mbps and upload speeds of 36Mbps. If you want to upload large files to the cloud, or stream in 4K on multiple devices, this is the package for you.
Only available as part of Virgin Media’s Ultimate Oomph bundle, this top-of-the-line internet service is suitable for large homes with multiple gamers, with average download speeds of 516Mbps and upload speeds of 36 Mbps.
Virgin’s newest, fastest broadband is Gig1 Fibre, with download speeds averaging over 1Gpbs and no traffic management to slow you down. At the moment, Gig1 Broadband is only available in Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Reading, and Southampton, though it will be rolled out elsewhere in due course.
Broadband and phone bundles include a Virgin phone line and inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines or Virgin Mobile numbers. This basic package may be augmented with evening or anytime calls, as well as international call packages.
Virgin Media TV supports streaming and browsing across multiple devices. TV packages give access to over 220 channels, including Sky services in HD and BT Sport in 4K Ultra HD. Virgin will supply a V6 TV box, which allows you to stream anywhere with an internet connection and find programming on-demand.
If you don’t want to take advantage of the phone and TV packages, Virgin Media broadband-only deals are available with 12-month contracts. This ISP also offers 30-day rolling contracts aimed at students, which you won’t find elsewhere.
All packages come with a free Super Hub router. The Hub 3.0 offers superfast Wi-Fi speeds with a very high range, making it suitable for larger homes or buildings. It comes with Web Safe, F-Secure SAFE and parental controls, all designed to protect domestic broadband connections against intrusion or unwanted content.
New customers will need to pay an installation fee, while customers formerly with Openreach-powered ISPs will need their existing connection replaced with a new line. If your property has been connected to the Virgin network within the past three years, you can install equipment yourself using the Virgin QuickStart programme.
Another benefit of Virgin broadband installation is free servicing and repairs. Customers rent the equipment, so the hub will need to be sent back to Virgin Media at the end of the contract, but free hardware support means Virgin offers assistance if anything goes wrong.
Broadband speeds are where Virgin Media truly shines, with average speeds ranging from 54Mbps to 1Gbps. The network is entirely fibre optic, meaning Virgin’s slowest speeds are still faster than anything available across copper ADSL telephone lines. This means any package is more than adequate for a busy household, allowing all residents to stream movies, use the internet and enjoy gaming without lag time.
When it comes to upload speeds, Virgin isn’t quite as dynamic. Average upload speeds on the 108Mbps package are 10Mbps. While this won’t matter for many online tasks, it could be frustrating for people who regularly upload media files, or residents of a house with lots of people working from home and making video calls.
Reported speeds are ‘average’, which means they may be slower in certain areas. As Virgin Media continues to expand and improve its network, expect real-life speeds to approach quoted averages. According to Ofcom’s 2018 figures, Virgin Media customers are likely to receive reported average speeds, and all packages come with unlimited downloads without any usage caps to slow things down.
According to the latest Ofcom customer satisfaction survey, 85 percent of Virgin Media customers reported being satisfied with their service and speed, though there were high wait times to reach a web chat representative.
On TrustPilot, 88 per cent of reviews are one-star and only four per cent are five-star. There are numerous complaints about poor customer service and billing errors, though there’s plenty of positive feedback relating to broadband speeds living up to their promise.
|Superfast and ultrafast broadband speeds||Not all services available nationwide|
|Broadband only deals||Higher prices than some competitors|
|Reliable service||Installation and cancellation fees apply|
|High-quality router included||Complicated installation process|
|Quad-play TV, phone, mobile and web deals|
There are some areas where Virgin Media broadband clearly excels, particularly regarding broadband speeds and entertainment packages. By providing landline, mobile, broadband, and TV under one account, you can create a highly individual quad play package tailored to your household needs. Virgin is one of the best ISPs for students, or households with multiple gamers. Virgin customers can access Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots on London Underground trains and in other public spaces, though this public Wi-Fi network isn’t as widespread as BT hotspots.
However, Virgin Media broadband isn’t available in all areas, while smaller households requiring a basic connection for casual browsing and emails may not need lightning-fast speeds. There are also fewer perks provided compared to some ISPs, which is worth considering when searching for the best broadband deals.
If your budget allows for it, and if your household demands it, Virgin Media is a reliable and rapid broadband option.
Last updated: 28 January 2021