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Virgin Media broadband review 2020

Is Virgin Media any good?

Our Virgin Media rating: 4/5

Virgin Media offers some of the fastest broadband deals around, plus incredible broadband and TV bundles. But is it any good? Read our Virgin Media review to find out what it offers and if Virgin is right for you.

Virgin Media broadband user review

The following ratings from Virgin Media customers are taken from our annual home broadband survey. Customers were asked to rate their provider in each category; the score is the percentage of positive answers and the overall rating is the combined average score.

Customer care: 74%
(average: 81%)

Value for money: 59% 
(average: 70%)

Trust: 73%
(average: 80%)

Would recommend?: 71%
(average: 74%)

Overall Virgin Media broadband customer rating: 69%
(average: 76%)

In previous years Virgin Media has received numerous awards in our survey, largely for speed. But with 2020 featuring the debut of many new high-speed providers, Virgin no longer stands out in that regard. And, unfortunately, it performed poorly in other areas too. It was second to last for customer care, value, trust, and was only prevented from being last overall by the weak ratings of Hull's KCOM.

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Virgin Media broadband - the Broadband Genie review

We like We don't like
  • Very fast download speeds
  • No traffic management or fair use policy
  • Option for broadband without a phone line
  • Student broadband deals available
  • Get internet, phone, TV and mobile from the same provider
  • Upload speeds aren't as impressive as download speeds
  • Available to fewer homes than competing providers
  • Relatively expensive

Virgin Media broadband value for money

Virgin Media broadband cheapest package vs BT, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk

Virgin Media M50 (50Mb) BT Broadband (10Mb) Plusnet Unlimited Broadband (10Mb) Sky Broadband Essential (11Mb) TalkTalk Fast Broadband (11Mb)
£28 £26.99 £17.99 £22 £22.95

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 Broadband Superfast (59Mb) TalkTalk Superfast Fibre (67Mb)
£46 £31.99 £25.99 £27 £26

Last checked 07/20. Prices displayed above are the initial contract cost for new customers; price may increase after renewal. Cheapest price is the lowest monthly cost regardless of speed, fastest price is the fastest service available on Broadband Genie for the lowest cost. Does not include TV bundles or special offers.

Virgin’s cheapest broadband package (without TV) delivers a 54Mb download speed, dwarfing the 10-11Mb entry-level deals from competing providers. But that speed comes with a higher price to match.  

Virgin Media is not the ISP to choose if you’re trying to get broadband on a budget. If 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.

But that’s not to say that Virgin is poor value for money because 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 Superfast Fibre 2 for a relatively small difference in price.

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Virgin Media broadband speed

Virgin Media average download speeds vs BT, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk

  Virgin Media BT Plusnet Sky TalkTalk
ADSL N/A 10Mb 10Mb 11Mb 11Mb
Fibre optic 54Mb / 108Mb / 213Mb / 362Mb / 516Mb 36Mb / 50Mb / 67Mb 36Mb / 63Mb 36Mb / 59Mb 36Mb / 67Mb

Virgin Media upload speeds vs BT, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk

  BT Plusnet Sky TalkTalk Virgin Media
ADSL 2Mb 1Mb 1Mb 1Mb N/A
Fibre optic 9.5Mb / 19.5Mb 9.5Mb / 19.5Mb 9.5Mb / 19Mb 9.5Mb / 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. While its top speed is slightly faster than the rest, the difference is not as overwhelming as Virgin’s download performance.

Virgin broadband features and extras

Virgin Media Super Hub

All Virgin customers joining now will receive the latest Super Hub 3 Wi-Fi router. This is a dual-band router which 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 TV

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 under £30 per month for the Big TV bundle. While this doesn’t provide any additional channels beyond Freeview, it does still include the Virgin V6 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 which deliver hundreds of channels, including HD content and Sky TV broadcasts, as well as BT Sport. You’ll also get access to a huge library of TV to view on-demand, and be able to watch selected channels on the go with Virgin TV Anywhere.

Virgin Media broadband review conclusion

Our Virgin Media broadband rating: 4 / 5

Virgin’s biggest advantage is undoubtedly its excellent broadband speeds. At its best, the download rate is more than five times as fast as any of the competition. 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 which 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 more than 60% of premises, but that means there are still many homes and business 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 very fast download rates the upload speeds are comparatively sluggish and barely an improvement over the performance offered by much slower (and cheaper) Openreach network fibre services. With upstream performance becoming more important 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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