Virgin Media broadband - the Broadband Genie review
|We like||We don’t like|
Virgin Media broadband speed
Virgin Media average download speeds vs BT, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk
|ADSL download speed||N/A||10Mb||10Mb||11Mb||11Mb|
|ADSL upload speed||N/A||1Mb||1Mb||1Mb||1Mb|
|Fibre download speed||54Mb / 108Mb / 213Mb / 362Mb / 516Mb / 630Mb||36Mb / 50Mb / 67Mb||36Mb / 66Mb||59Mb||38Mb / 67Mb|
|Fibre upload speed||5Mb / 10Mb / 20Mb / 36Mb / 41Mb||9.5Mb / 19.5Mb||9.5Mb / 19Mb||19Mb||5Mb / 10Mb / 20Mb / 36Mb|
Virgin Media is unique among the major broadband ISPs as it operates its own network, and uses a different technology to the Openreach telephone lines which supply most internet connections. It is able to offer much higher download speeds as a result, with the fastest Virgin Media broadband deals delivering average speeds more than five times as quick as the competition.
If you’re primarily interested in speed, then a Virgin fibre broadband service is probably the fastest you can get.
Unfortunately, upload speeds aren’t quite as impressive. To match the upload speeds of a typical 65Mb BT network fibre service you need the M200 package, and even the speedy 630Mb service only delivers a relatively meagre 41Mb average upload speed.
Virgin Media broadband value for money
Virgin Media broadband cheapest package vs BT, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk
|Virgin Media M100 (108Mb)||BT Fibre Essential (36Mb)||Plusnet Unlimited Broadband (10Mb)||Sky Superfast (59Mb)||TalkTalk Fibre 35 (38Mb)|
Virgin Media broadband fastest package vs Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media
|Virgin Media M500 (516Mb)||BT Fibre 2 (67Mb)||Plusnet Fibre Extra Line Only (66Mb)||Sky Superfast (59Mb)||TalkTalk Fibre 65 (67Mb)|
Last checked September 2021. The prices displayed above are the initial contract cost for new customers; charges may increase after renewal. The cheapest price is the lowest monthly cost regardless of speed. The fastest price is the fastest service available on Broadband Genie for the lowest monthly cost.
Virgin’s entry-level M50 package (without TV) delivers a 54Mb download speed, dwarfing the typical 10-11Mb entry-level deals from competing providers, But you will often find that the faster M100 service is actually a little cheaper than M50, making it excellent value for money.
However, Virgin Media is not the ISP to choose if you’re trying to get broadband on a budget. If the price is the number you’re most worried about, then you’ll be able to get a much cheaper deal with a standard ADSL or fibre optic service on the Openreach network.
That’s not to say that Virgin is poor value for money. When you consider the speed, it stacks up very well against the competition. For example, the Virgin Media M500 package provides a download speed of 516Mb; that’s nearly 8x faster than the 67Mb offered by BT Fibre 2. And the M200 package offers speeds around 3x higher (213Mb) for only a small additional cost.
Ready to buy? Check out the latest Virgin Media offers:
Virgin broadband features and extras
Virgin Media Super Hub
All new Virgin customers will receive the latest Super Hub 3 Wi-Fi router. This is a dual-band router that supports the 802.11ac standard, as well as the older 802.11b/g/n protocols. It also includes 4x gigabit network ports for wired connectivity.
However, Virgin customers may wish to consider purchasing their own router, as reviews of the Super Hub 3 complain about poor Wi-Fi speeds and a very limited set of options. It does offer a guest network feature, but there are no parental controls and no capability to set up dynamic DNS. If you do wish to use another router, you’ll need to keep hold of the Super Hub and use it in “modem mode” for internet access only.
Virgin is a leading provider of TV services, and Sky’s only competitor when it comes to premium TV packages.
Virgin Media broadband and TV bundles are available from around £30 per month for the Big TV bundle. While this doesn’t provide any additional channels beyond Freeview, it does still include the Virgin 360 TV box with recording, live pause and streaming, so it’s good value if you want a decent TV box but aren’t too fussed about paying for more channels.
Beyond that, you can choose from a variety of premium TV bundles that deliver hundreds of channels, including HD content and Sky TV broadcasts, as well as BT Sport. You’ll also get access to a vast library of TV to view on-demand, and be able to watch selected channels on the go with Virgin TV Anywhere.
Virgin Media and O2 VOLT
In partnership with its sibling O2, Virgin Media also offers "quad-play" bundles that combine broadband, TV, home phone, and mobile phone services. With a VOLT package, you get free double data on O2 pay monthly mobile plans (which includes all O2 plans in your household, under your name), a free Virgin broadband upgrade to the next fastest speed, and free Wi-Fi boosters to help improve coverage in your home.
Virgin Media broadband review conclusion
Our Virgin Media broadband rating: 4 / 5
Virgin’s biggest advantage is undoubtedly its excellent broadband speeds. Another huge plus point in Virgin’s favour is the option to take broadband without a phone line, something no BT Openreach provider can offer. And there’s a massive choice of bundles that allow you to add premium TV services, a phone line with inclusive calls, and even mobile broadband and phone combos.
However, Virgin’s network is not as widespread as the BT Openreach connections which dominate the UK. It is available to approximately 53% of premises, but that means there are still many homes and businesses which cannot access it. Virgin can be expensive too, although you do benefit from speeds that few other ISPs can match.
It’s also a shame that while it provides fast downloads, the upload speeds are comparatively sluggish. With upstream performance becoming more critical we’d like to see Virgin give upload a boost instead of solely concentrating on ramping up the download speed.
If you like what you hear, you can head to our Virgin Media broadband page for up-to-date deals.
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