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Virgin Media broadband review 2022

Is Virgin Media any good?

Our Virgin Media Broadband rating: 3.5 / 5

Virgin Media has incredible speeds, and a great range of packages. But you must be in a Virgin network area to get it, and customer service needs work.

Virgin Media broadband review

Virgin Media offers some of the fastest broadband deals around, including broadband without a phone line, plus amazing broadband and TV bundles with hundreds of channels. But it’s not cheap, customer service has a poor reputation, and it’s only an option if you live within its network area.

We like

  • Very fast download speeds.
  • No traffic management or fair use policy.
  • Offers broadband without a phone line.
  • Get internet, phone, TV, and mobile from the same provider.

We don’t like

  • Upload speeds aren’t as impressive as download rates.
  • You must be in a Virgin Media network area.
  • Can be expensive.
  • Poor customer service record.

Virgin Media broadband: in summary

  • Download speeds (average): 54Mb / 108Mb / 213Mb / 362Mb / 516Mb / 630Mb / 1.1Gb
  • Upload speeds (average): 5Mb / 10Mb / 20Mb / 36Mb / 45Mb / 52Mb
  • Data usage limit: Truly unlimited
  • Type of broadband: HFC & FTTP
  • Home phone line: Yes (optional)
  • Inclusive phone calls: Optional extra
  • Router: Virgin Media Super Hub

You can find a summary of the very best Virgin deals below:

Dynamic deal panel

Virgin Media broadband speeds

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 sharing the broadband.

However, despite being the slowest Virgin service, this is often not the cheapest option, making it poor value for money in comparison to M100.

Virgin Media M100

  • Download speed: 108Mb
  • Upload speed: 10Mb

This is a good option for busier homes, although the upload speed could be a hindrance for some.

M100 is competitively priced. It is frequently the cheapest Virgin Media package, often starting from less than £25 per month.

Virgin Media M200

  • Download speed: 213Mb
  • Upload speed: 20Mb

The upload speed with M200 is comparable to the best upload rate available with many BT Openreach fibre services, while also providing much better download speeds.

Virgin Media M300

  • Download speed: 362Mb
  • Upload speed: 36Mb

This is the first Virgin Media service to exceed the best upload speeds available to most homes using fibre on a BT Openreach telephone line.

Virgin Media M500

  • Download speed: 516Mb
  • Upload speed: 36Mb

This provides the same upload speed as M300, but a 42% improvement in download speed for very little extra money.

These kinds of download speeds will suit large, busy homes where multiple devices may be streaming and downloading at the same time.

Virgin Media Ultimate Volt

  • Download speed: 630Mb
  • Upload speed: 45Mb

At present, the 630Mb speed is only available with Ultimate Volt TV, broadband, phone, and mobile bundle. It comes at a significant cost and is only worth considering if you are going to make full use of all the components of this package. 

Virgin Media Gig1

  • Download speed: 1.1Gb
  • Upload speed: 52Mb

The fastest Virgin Media package can deliver an outrageous 1.1 gigabits per second download speed. Few of us could claim to truly need this, but if you want to make short work of huge downloads while simultaneously streaming multiple 4K videos, this will fit the bill.

However, its upload speed of just 52Mb is a disappointment. Comparable full-fibre (or FTTP, Fibre To The Premises) services can comfortably outpace Gig1 on uploads, with some offering a symmetrical broadband connection where upload and download speeds are the same.

Virgin Media speed summary

Virgin Media user Speed Satisfaction score: 3.91 / 5

The speed satisfaction score is taken from the feedback of Virgin Media customers, who are asked to rate the performance of their Virgin Media broadband service on a scale of one (very dissatisfied) to five (very satisfied). The score is an average of all results, updated on a monthly basis.

Virgin Media subscribers seem reasonably happy with their performance, giving it a speed satisfaction score above the overall average of 3.77.

Ofcom average speed data: Virgin Media 54Mb vs BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk

Average broadband download speed recorded by Ofcom during a 24-hour period. 

  • Virgin Media 54Mb average speed: 51.7Mb (96% of advertised rate)
  • BT 36Mb average speed: 25.9Mb (72% of advertised rate)
  • EE 36Mb average speed: 31.6Mb (88% of advertised rate)
  • Plusnet 36Mb average speed: 28.8Mb (80% of advertised rate)
  • Sky 59Mb average speed: 28.8Mb (76% of advertised rate)
  • TalkTalk 38Mb average speed: 31.6Mb (83% of advertised rate)

Ofcom data shows the average speed of Virgin Media M50 was 51.7Mb or 96% of its advertised speed.

This is an extremely good ratio of advertised vs actual speed, and it’s a similar story across the whole Virgin Media range. In some cases, Virgin Media’s Ofcom average speeds exceeded its advertised rates.

Virgin works a little differently to most other providers, as rather than sharing Openreach lines it operates its own network.

Although the new generation of full-fibre services can challenge it, their availability is far more limited at present (around 20% coverage, compared to approximately 53% for Virgin).

If you’re primarily interested in speed, then a Virgin fibre broadband service is probably the fastest you can get.

Our only complaint is that the meagre upload rates are significantly slower than the download speeds.

This is often a factor that’s given little attention, but with changing online behaviours — especially the popularity of streaming services such as Twitch and the rise in home working — upload speed is increasingly important. Yet upload performance on Virgin Media lags far behind its downstream rates. 

It’s particularly noticeable on the 300Mb+ packages, especially the gigabit Gig1 service that grants a relatively puny 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 is of little consequence, as faster upload speeds will not have an impact on typical day-to-day activities. But if your usage could involve lots of uploading this is a notable drawback.

Virgin Media broadband value for money

Virgin Media value for money user score: 3.25 / 5

The Virgin Media user value for money score is the average rating from customers, who are asked to rank Virgin for value between one (very poor value) to five (very good value). 

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.

But given the speeds, we don’t think it represents poor value for money, in general.

You can get 100Mb broadband for under £30 per month, while many other providers can’t do any better than speeds of around 65Mb at a similar cost.

The TV and broadband bundles can be expensive, but you do get a really great TV box and 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 FTTP in your area).

However, we recommend avoiding the Virgin Media M50 package unless you get it on a special offer, as it’s often more expensive than the much faster M100. 

Also pricey is the 630Mb Ultimate Volt bundle. It’s often around £99 per month, and while it does come with an awful lot of extras, it’s only worthwhile if you are certain that you’re going to make full use of its key features (broadband, TV, home phone, and mobile phone). If you’re primarily interested in fast broadband, either Virgin M500 or Gig1 are better options.

Customer ratings for value, unfortunately, fall below the overall average of 3.47. One reason for this may be Virgin’s propensity to sharply increase prices 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 it can’t meet your requirements.

It is not necessary to pay for phone line rental or inclusive calls with Virgin Media; it’s one of the few providers which sells broadband without a phone line and 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 does not offer rewards as often as some other providers. It’s not unknown to find a shopping voucher, cashback, or even unusual freebies like a box of wine with a Virgin package, but its deals most frequently provide a discounted monthly rate or free setup. 

However, as Virgin’s prices for both setup and monthly fees can be higher than other providers these deals are still welcome. You might not get an Amazon voucher but the saving on setup fees can be a similar value to deals with a free gift.

You can compare the latest Virgin Media offers on our Virgin Media cashback and rewards page. For general help with rewards, visit our guide to claiming free gifts and vouchers.

Virgin Media customer service

Virgin Media customer service user score: 3.41 / 5

Virgin Media users were asked to rate their provider for customer service, on a scale of one (terrible) to five (excellent). The user score is the overall average for each provider.

Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service there’s a great deal of room for improvement. Our own survey respondents rate it below average (3.41 vs 3.69 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 (7th May 2021): 

  • Overall satisfaction: 80% (average: 80%)
  • Customers with a reason to complain: 29% (average: 26%)
  • Overall complaint handling satisfaction: 48% (average: 52%)
  • Complaints per 100,000 subscribers: 69 (average 50)
  • Call waiting time: 7:40 (average 4:09)

This is a worrying outcome. Several of these results are flagged by Ofcom for being “statistically significantly worse than the sector average”. Its call handling time is also by far the longest of the nine providers included in the report.

Virgin Media Wi-Fi router

All Virgin Media broadband deals include a free Virgin Media Wi-Fi router. Most customers will receive the Virgin Media Hub 3, while Gig1 subscribers will get the Virgin Media Hub 4.

There is also a new Virgin Media Hub 5. You may receive this instead of the Hub 3 or Hub 4. If you’re an existing customer you can request a free upgrade from Virgin.

Virgin Media Hub 3 specifications

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11ac (5Ghz)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x gigabit LAN

Virgin Media Hub 4 specifications

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11ac (5Ghz)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 4x gigabit LAN

Virgin Media Hub 5 specifications

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz), 802.11ac (5Ghz) & 802.11ax (5Ghz)
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi: No
  • Ethernet: 1x 2.2Gb LAN, 3x gigabit LAN
  • Extras: WPA3

The Hub 3 and 4 are very similar in terms of specification. The Hub 4 has a few more Wi-Fi antennas and so should provide slightly better Wi-Fi performance, but the key difference is its support for the Virgin Media Gig1 service. 

However, the Hub 5 is a substantial improvement as it provides Virgin Media customers with 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) support for the first time. This will enable faster wireless speeds when connecting compatible devices. It also supports the newer WPA3 security standard, which helps to protect your Wi-Fi network.

Virgin Media broadband extras

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 start from around £30 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 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. 

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: our verdict

Broadband Genie rating: 3.5 / 5

Virgin’s biggest advantage is undoubtedly its excellent broadband speeds. Another big plus point in Virgin’s favour is the option to take broadband without a phone line, something that is not possible for most homes with any other provider. 

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 is 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 concentrating on ramping up the download speed.

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.

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More about Virgin Media