Virgin Media broadband review 2023
|Value for Money||3/5|
Virgin Media offers some of the fastest broadband deals around, including ultrafast broadband without a phone line. You can also sign up to some great broadband and TV bundles, with hundreds of channels.
But it’s not cheap, it has a poor reputation for customer service, and it’s only an option if you live within its network area.
|We like||We don't like|
Virgin Media broadband: In summary
|Download Speeds (Average)||54Mb / 132Mb / 264Mb / 362Mb / 516Mb / 1.1Gb|
|Upload Speeds (Average)||5Mb / 20Mb / 25Mb / 42Mb / 52Mb / 104Mb|
|Data Usage Limit||Truly unlimited|
|Type of Broadband||HFC and FTTP|
|Home Phone Line?||Yes (optional)|
|Inclusive phone calls?||Call bundles available as an add-on|
|Bundled Wi-Fi Router?||Virgin Media Hub 3, 4, 5 or 5x (depending on package)|
Sold on Virgin and their super speeds already? You can find a summary of the very best deals below:
Virgin Media Speed
Speed Score: 3.4 out of 5
Virgin Media offers a broad choice of speeds to suit any household, including those that need ultrafast broadband.
Virgin Media M50
- Download speed: 54Mb
- Upload speed: 5Mb
The M50 package will be enough for many homes. Especially if there is just one or two of you using the internet.
However, despite being the slowest Virgin service, this isn’t usually the cheapest option. That often makes it poor value for money in comparison to M125.
Virgin Media M125
- Download speed: 132Mb
- Upload speed: 20Mb
This is a good option for busier homes, although the slower upload speed could be a problem for some.
The M125 package is competitively priced. It’s frequently the cheapest Virgin Media package. You can often get it for less than £30 per month, with a voucher or bill credits too. This is pretty decent considering the speed!
Virgin Media M250
- Download speed: 264Mb
- Upload speed: 25Mb
The upload speed with M250 is comparable to the best upload rate available with many BT Openreach fibre services. This is something which a lot of Virgin's cheaper broadband packages struggle with. On top of that, it also provides much better download speeds.
Virgin Media M350
- Download speed: 362Mb
- Upload speed: 36Mb
This service offers upload speeds better than those available to most homes using fibre on the Openreach lines. If you want to know why Virgin Media can come highly recommended, this is when you start to see why.
Virgin Media M500
- Download speed: 516Mb
- Upload speed: 52Mb
With M500, you’ll get a 35% increase in your download speed for only a little extra cost.
These kinds of download speeds will suit homes where several people may be streaming and downloading at the same time.
Virgin Media Gig1
- Download speed: 1.1Gb
- Upload speed: 104Mb
The fastest Virgin Media package can deliver 1.1 gigabits per second download speed. Few people truly need this, but if you want to make short work of huge downloads while streaming multiple 4K videos at the same time, this will let you do that.
Virgin Media customers on the Gig1 got an upload speed increase in May 2023 from 52Mb to 104Mb. However, comparable full fibre (or FTTP, Fibre To The Premises) services can comfortably outpace Gig1 on uploads, with some offering a broadband connection where upload and download speeds are the same.
You can read more about this in our guide to upload speeds.
Virgin Media speed summary
Virgin Media subscribers seem pretty happy with their broadband performance. User reviews have given it a speed satisfaction score above the overall average of 3.4 and ranking it in second place in our 2023 Broadband Awards. This is reinforced by some excellent Ofcom speed data results.
Ofcom average speed data: Virgin Media vs. TalkTalk, Vodafone, Plusnet, Sky, BT and EE
Ofcom data from September 2023's UK Home Broadband Performance Report shows Virgin Media is consistently over-delivering across its whole range of broadband products, when it comes to download speeds. This means, with Virgin, you've got a good chance of getting the (high) speeds you sign up for.
Virgin Media network vs. Openreach
Virgin works a little differently from most other providers. Rather than sharing Openreach lines, it operates its own network, which covers more than 50% of the UK population.
If you’re keen on speed, a Virgin fibre broadband service is frequently the fastest you can get.
What is Openreach?
Openreach is the company that maintains the former British Telecom Network used for the majority of broadband and phone services. If a repair or installation is required, it’s Openreach who will send an engineer, not your provider.
More than 650 service providers using the Openreach network. That’s the majority of the UK’s broadband providers. This includes Sky, TalkTalk and BT. The exception to this is Virgin Media - it uses its own, separate cable network.
It's disappointing that Virgin Media's upload rates are noticeably slower than the download speeds. This could frustrate users who upload lots of files.
A good upload speed is important if you work from home, or you like to stream on Twitch or YouTube. Sadly, Virgin Media lags far behind its downstream rates.
It’s particularly noticeable on the 300Mb+ packages, especially the gigabit Gig1 service that grants a 52Mb average upload. This is an odd decision when these ultrafast services will often appeal to precisely the kind of user who would care about a decent upload speed.
For many people, this won’t matter much, as faster upload speeds won’t impact typical day-to-day activities. But this is a notable drawback if your usage could involve lots of uploading.
Virgin Media Customer Service
Customer Service Score: 3.3 out of 5
Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service, there’s a great deal of room for improvement. Our own survey respondents rate Virgin customer service below average (3.25 vs 3.35 average), and it has some very disappointing results from Ofcom, too.
Virgin Media is one of the providers studied in the Ofcom customer service report. It received the following scores in the most recent publication (18th May 2023):
- Overall satisfaction: 81% (average broadband score 82%)
- Satisfaction with speed of service: 82% (average broadband score 80%)
- Customers with a reason to complain: 25% (average broadband score 20%)
- Overall complaint handling satisfaction: 46% (average broadband score 51%)
- Complaints per 100,000 subscribers: 66
- Call waiting time: 3:07 (average waiting time 2:37)
This is a worrying outcome. Several of these results are flagged by Ofcom for being “statistically significantly worse than the sector average”. And several of these statistics have worsened since 2021, dropping even more since 2022.
In Ofcom's October 2023 Report: Complaints about broadband, landline, mobile and pay-TV services, Virgin Media was one of the most complained about broadband providers. Between April and June 2023, it received 25% more complaints than the industry average.
Virgin Media Broadband Value for Money
Value for Money Score: 3 out of 5
Virgin Media isn’t the provider to choose if you’re trying to get cheap broadband. You’ll be able to get a much cheaper deal with a basic fibre package on the Openreach network.
But given the speeds, we think it represents pretty good value for money.
You can get 132Mb broadband for the same price as many 65Mb fibre deals, so you can't really get fairer than that.
TV and broadband bundles
The TV and broadband bundles can be expensive, but you do get a really great TV box and can get a huge number of channels. There are cheaper TV and broadband deals out there, but only Sky can deliver the same kind of premium entertainment package (and it can’t match Virgin’s speeds unless you have access to full fibre in your area).
We recommend avoiding the Virgin Media M50 package unless you get it on a special offer, as it tends to be more expensive than the much faster M125.
Customer ratings for value sadly fall below the overall average of 3.25. One reason for this may be Virgin’s habit of increasing prices quite a lot at the end of each contract term.
In our experience, you can keep costs down by calling and negotiating a better deal, but you’ll need to keep on top of this and be prepared to switch if you can’t get one.
Phone line rental and inclusive calls
It's not necessary to pay for phone line rental or inclusive calls with Virgin Media. This makes it one of the few providers that sells broadband without a phone line. Thanks to this, many of its cheapest deals are broadband only.
If you do need phone service, it offers a variety of inclusive call options, and you’ll also find calls included with most of its broadband and TV bundles.
Virgin Media rewards
Virgin Media usually offer bill credits with their broadband, making them even more cost-effective. You can also normally get a free setup with Virgin Media broadband packages.
Virgin Media Reliability
Reliability Score: 3.5 out of 5
Unfortunately, in 2023 Virgin Media was plagued by a number of outages, some of which lasted hours at a time, leaving customers unable to get online or access their Virgin Media emails. In our Broadband Survey, it scored an acceptable 70.2% satisfaction. However, we anticipate these scores to drop in 2024 if these technical hiccups become a regular issue. For now, we'll give it the benefit of the doubt these won't carry on to be a regular occurrence.
Virgin Media has a clear service status page, so there should be no need to head to a third-party site such as Downdetector if you're having issues. Although this gives a good general overview of wider reports if you're choosing whether to sign up to a Virgin Media package.
Virgin Media Bundled Wi-Fi routers
Router Score: 3.5 out of 5
All Virgin Media broadband deals include a free Virgin Media Wi-Fi router. Most customers will receive the Virgin Media Hub 3, while new Gig1 subscribers will now get the Virgin Media Hub 5 or 5x.
If you’re an existing customer, you can request a free upgrade from Virgin.
For more information on these Hubs, you can read our full Virgin Media router round-up.
Setting up your Virgin Media Hubs shouldn't be difficult and, unless you need to have a line installed, you'll be able to do this yourself. It's estimated this should take you around 30 minutes. There are clear instructions online, should you need them. If you do need technical support, you'll be able to make use of Live Chat, or call between 8am-9pm on weekdays, or 8am-6pm at the weekend.
Virgin Media broadband extras
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 start from around £38 for the Big Bundle. While this doesn’t provide any additional channels beyond Freeview, it still includes the Virgin 360 TV box. You can use this to record, live pause and stream. 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. This includes 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 the ability to watch selected channels on the go with Virgin TV Anywhere.
Virgin Media and O2 VOLT
In partnership with its sibling O2, Virgin Media offers "quad-play" bundles that combine broadband, TV, home phone, and mobile phone services.
There are a few Broadband and SIM options available from Virgin Media. The cheapest is Volt M250 Fibre Broadband. For just over £40 per month, you get an average home broadband download speed of 264Mb. You also receive a 5G SIM, including 10GB of data per month, with the ability to roam in 75 destinations.
More generally, volt means that customers with both Virgin and O2 services can double both their data and their speeds! A great value option if this is avialable to you.
Virgin Media Broadband: Expert Summary
Virgin Media Overall Score: 3.3 out of 5
Virgin’s biggest advantage is undoubtedly its excellent speeds. Another big plus point in Virgin’s favour is the option to have broadband without having to fork out for a phone line rental. This isn't possible for most homes with any other provider.
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 isn't as widespread as the BT Openreach connections that dominate the UK. It’s available to approximately 53% of premises, but that means there are still many homes and businesses that can’t access it.
It is a shame that while it provides fast downloads, the upload speeds are slow compared to its download speed. With upstream performance becoming a necessity for more people, we’d like to see Virgin give upload a boost.
Our biggest area of concern is Virgin Media's aftersales care. The Ofcom data and our own survey suggest there are some major problems here, with a service that seems to generate higher than average complaints and can leave you waiting for long periods before someone picks up the phone.
Reliability has been questionable in 2023, with customers experiencing widespread and lengthy downtime, and unable to access their Virgin Media emails.
Switching broadband providers
You can easily check which Virgin Media packages are available in your area by popping your address into this checker. Don't forget to use our filters, so you can sort by price, speed or contract length. Our tables will also show you if there are any great reward offers available, too. You'll be able to see how much money these can save you in the long-run with our clear 'Effective Monthly Price' summary.
Virgin Media Broadband Deals Checker
If you’re out of contract, switching between any provider is easy. You shouldn’t even need to speak to your current provider - your new one should do all the admin for you.
Check out our guide on ‘how to switch broadband and get an amazing deal’ for more hints and tricks, learn how to save money and upgrade your home's internet connection with little fuss.
More broadband reviews
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