Virgin Media does the lot. It’s a powerhouse of widely available super-fast broadband – and to seal the deal, you can bundle your broadband with calls, lots of TV, and even mobile plans. So is it worth getting? Let’s take a look at the details and find out.
Our rating: Four and a half out of five
Virgin Media is one of the best broadband providers in the UK. Here’s what you need to know.
Is Virgin Media broadband any good?
If speed is the name of the game, Virgin Media is a master player. Its download speeds can go up to an average of a whopping 630Mbps on its top package, letting you download big files in seconds and stream or play online games without a hitch.
You’ll see similar speeds – and even faster speeds, up to 1Gbps – from a few providers, such as Hyperoptic or Community Fibre. And BT and EE offer an ultrafast service too, with average speeds of up to 300Mbps available to four and a half million homes and businesses too.
The downside of those, however, is that compared to Virgin Media they’re far less widely available. If you want ultrafast broadband and you want it where you are, chances are you need Virgin Media.
Since it runs on its own network too, Virgin Media may be a good bet if you experience iffy broadband on Openreach-based providers (such as BT, Sky, or TalkTalk).
And with a comprehensive pay-TV proposition, complete with boxsets, movies, and sports channels, there’s a lot to enjoy in Virgin Media’s Big Bundles.
The downside? It’s not the cheapest. In a smaller household, all that bandwidth may be unnecessary, especially for the cost.
It’s also worth noting that Virgin Media’s inflexible packages mean you may have to shell out for TV as well if you want the fastest speeds.
All of which means that Virgin Media is a great choice of broadband for large households and families – just perhaps not for a home of 1-2 people, or anyone on a tight budget.
Average Virgin Media broadband speeds
M50 – 54Mbps
More than ample for small households and those keen on trying out fibre for the first time
M100 – 108Mbps
Perfect for households where streaming is king and some members work from home
M200 – 213Mbps
If there are gamer sin the house, M200 will see them right with rapid speeds ensuring no lag on those late night sessions
M350 – 362Mbps
Upping speeds to M350 will ensure excellent connections for multiple devices, great if you have a smart home.
M500 – 516Mbps
This is where things get super fast. For larger households, with each member using the internet throughout the day, it’s hard to go wrong.
M600 – 630Mbps
For those who have most at home products connected to the WiFi, M600 is where it’s at. Ideal for smart thermostats, consoles, streaming devices and tablets all being used simultaneously.
Gig 1 – 1.13Gbps
Only available in select areas, Gig 1 is aimed at power users and those who want to future proof their internet connections.
Virgin Media broadband packages review
Virgin Media’s broadband speeds are fast. They’re very, very fast. Here’s a snapshot of the average download speeds you can expect for each package:
- M50 package – average download speeds of 54Mbps
- M100 – 108Mbps
- M200 – 213Mbps
- M350 – 362Mbps
- M500 – 516Mbps
- M600 – 630Mbps
To put those in perspective, BT’s slowest fibre optic broadband package has average download speeds of 36Mbps, with its fastest up to 300Mbps. And bear in mind 36Mbps can easily handle the demands of a decent-sized household.
If you’re lucky to live in area where Virgin Media has upgraded its network, you may also have access to Virgin Media’s Gig1 Fibre Broadband – with download speeds of an eye-watering 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
All of Virgin Media’s broadband is fibre optic. It’s astoundingly fast. And reliable, to boot.
It works a little differently from Openreach-based providers such as BT. Virgin Media broadband has its own network that’s entirely independent of Openreach. For the most part, it consists of fibre optics up to your local street cabinet, then it’s coaxial cable from there to your home. (BT and Openreach providers use copper lines here.)
The benefit is a boost to speeds – coaxial cables are faster than copper – so you can enjoy very fast broadband with little lag.
Its cheapest, entry-level broadband package, M50, has average download speeds of a quite impressive 50Mbps. Meanwhile, the fastest of the fast, M600, has 630Mbps.
The other good news is that you can depend on it, too. Virgin Media boasts a recorded 99.88% reliability rating on its network.
In short – it’s ruddy good fibre broadband. While BT and Sky offer connections to rival Virgin, they’re relying on fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections, which are still rolling out slowly at the time of writing.
Virgin’s own network means that if you want 1Gbps internet, it’s the better bet, as long as you can get it where you live.
Our latest Virgin Media deals
*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.
Virgin Media coverage
Coverage is an area where Virgin Media comes slightly unstuck. As it uses its own network and not Openreach, coverage is around 60% of the entire UK.
That means it ranks well below BT and Sky. Its Gig 1 service is available to around seven million households.
That’s a lot more than many other rivals’ FTTP services though. It’s best to use our postcode checker to see if you can get Virgin Media broadband where you live.
Data limits, fair usage and traffic management
Virgin Media doesn’t limit data or apply traffic management and its only fair usage policy applies to dangerous material.
You can read about the specifics of its policy on the Virgin Media website.
Virgin Media offers it customers a free router. There are two currently available.
For all customers except those with Gig 1 broadband. The Hub 3 is a spec heavy piece of kit, with ac standard WiFi, four gigabit Ethernet ports, five antennae, smart channel selection, Intelligent WiFi to ensure connections are stable and dual band smarts.
For Gig 1 customers, the Hub 4 takes things up a notch. It has almost all of the same features as the Hub 3, but features 11 antennae, meaning its connection has far greater reach. Ideal if you have a larger property.
Virgin Media TV review
Virgin Media is one of the leading TV providers in the country, with up to 230+ channels in its arsenal. Ultra HD content is available, as is Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, and BT Sport.
The downside is that the packages aren’t very flexible. To get Sky Sports, for example, you’d need to shell out for the biggest Ultimate Bundle.
You’re also tied in to specific broadband + TV combos. There’s no mixing and matching.
Some other providers such as Sky and BT have a modular approach, letting you pick and choose the broadband, calls, and channel packs you want – but there’s no such thing with Virgin Media.
Of course, if you’re after a large amount of telly with sports channels and Sky Cinema, plus speedy broadband to deliver it, you’re well served. It’s certainly more comprehensive than, say, BT TV.
You’ll also get some great tech. The set top box is one of the best in the biz, and you’ll get Virgin TV Go, to download and stream your shows from any device.
Virgin Media calls review
As Virgin Media doesn’t use Openreach, you aren’t obliged to have a phone line in order to get connected. However, you can get inclusive call packages for as little as £1 extra a month.
You can choose anytime or evening and weekend deals. Great if you still want a landline but don’t want to break the bank in order to keep it.
Virgin Media pricing
Virgin Media does not come cheap, but sits in broadly the same price bracket as Sky and BT.
At the time of writing, an entry level M50 broadband deal with weekend calls is £28 per month for 18 months. By comparison, BT’s Fibre 1, with the same speeds, is £34.99 a month for two years.
M500 can be snagged for £49 a month with an O2 SIM and home phone calls. Sky’s equivalent deal is £43 a month.
Any extras with Virgin Media broadband?
Virgin Media broadband comes with either a Hub 3 or Hub 4 router, depending on the package you choose.
They’re powerful enough to deliver speedy Wi-Fi to plenty of devices at once, and feature Intelligent Wi-Fi.
This is a nice little bit of smart tech, that adapts to the devices you’ve connected to gives more reliable speeds.
You’ll also get web security in the form of an F-Secure Safe package.
And to top it off, you can connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots around the country with your Virgin Media account – including on the London Underground.
Customer service with Virgin Media broadband
Virgin Media does fall down when it comes to customer services. Anecdotal reviews online suggest its interactions are poor and customers are not satisfied with the service they get.
That’s backed up by Ofcom. Its latest broadband report shows that only 78% of customers are satisfied, against BT’s 88%. Only Vodafone rated worse.
What are the pros and cons of Virgin Media broadband?
- It’s fast: even the cheapest, entry-level package can more than handle a big household
- Good bundling options – get your broadband, home phone, TV, and mobile all in one place and save a pretty penny
- Hardware and tech are good, including its Intelligent Wi-Fi
- Available without a phone line
- 30-day rolling contracts are available
- Free repairs
- Expensive – you may find it’s great value for the speed you get, but there are certainly much cheaper packages out there
- Bundles aren’t flexible – you can’t mix and match your broadband and TV choices
- It’s not as widely available as Openreach providers (such as BT, Sky, or TalkTalk)
How does Virgin Media compare with other providers?
Compared with other broadband providers, Virgin Media is one of the leaders in the game. It’s generally on the expensive side, but also on the fast side. Its bundles are bigger than many other providers’ and are packed with lots of telly and extras.
Virgin Media vs Sky
Sky is Virgin Media’s main rival, offering comparable broadband-phone-TV-mobile packages with similarly up-to-the-minute tech.
Broadband-wise, Virgin Media’s speeds blow Sky’s out of the water. Of course, you’d hardly be disappointed with Sky broadband – even its slower package has average download speeds of 60Mbps. But it just simply doesn’t clock speeds as high as Virgin’s.
On the other hand, Sky TV offers more channels, including the elusive Sky Atlantic. Its bundles are also far more flexible, with mixing and matching allowed.
Virgin Media vs BT
BT broadband is much more widely available than Virgin Media. You can get it pretty much anywhere that has a phone line, while Virgin Media is only available where its network reaches.
Again, BT’s download speeds won’t disappoint (its slowest averages a respectable 36Mbps), but when you compare similar price points, Virgin’s the winner.
That said, selected areas can get BT’s fastest speeds of all: average downloads of 900Mbps. It’s more expensive than a Virgin Media broadband deal… but honestly, not by much.
With BT broadband, helpful extras are thrown in too – notably, free Wi-Fi when you’re out and about from its 5 million (!) public hotspots.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a bundle, Virgin Media’s TV offering is much more broad than BT TV.
Virgin Media vs TalkTalk
One major difference between Virgin Media and TalkTalk will be immediately clear. Virgin Media costs a heck of a lot more than TalkTalk – one of the cheapest broadband providers around.
But the reason for that will be just as clear. It’s because Virgin Media gives you a heck of a lot more than TalkTalk.
Broadband speeds are significantly faster, TV packages are more comprehensive, and even the hardware and technology are streets ahead with Virgin Media.
If cost is a concern, you’re better off with TalkTalk. Its packages are fast enough to get even large households online. But if that household wants blistering speeds and a lot of quality telly, go for Virgin Media