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.
Virgin Media broadband review: 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
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).
Virgin Media broadband packages review
Virgin Media broadband comes in the following types of package:
- Broadband only (no phone line)
- Broadband and phone
- Big Bundles – packages of broadband, phone, and TV
- Bundles with Oomph – ‘oomph’ being an added mobile phone plan
Some are also available on 30-day rolling contracts – a rarity in the broadband world.
There’s a lot on offer. You can get the whole of your household’s telecoms in one place, including mobiles.
The sheer range of options can be a bit bewildering, however, and the packages aren’t very flexible. For example, the very fastest broadband is only available in a bundle with TV and/or mobile, and not on its own.
If a package has all the components you need, that’s great news. You’ll save money by grouping them all in one bill. But if not, you may be paying extra for services you don’t really need.
On the plus side, however, there’s one big selling point with Virgin Media. Unlike most providers, you can get a broadband-only package without a phone line.
Virgin Media fibre review
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.
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 Nickelodeon for the kids, 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 broadband cost
All that download speed doesn’t come cheap. Virgin Media broadband costs a little more than most other providers.
It also has setup costs associated with its broadband. Though not bank-breaking, they’re a little higher than most.
That said, it doesn’t mean it’s bad value. Virgin Media packs a lot into its packages – especially if you bundle services together.
So while you might be paying a little more, you’ll be getting download speeds far in excess of other providers’, and an awful lot of telly if you pick that too.
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
Ofcom reports that, looking at the main UK telecoms providers, Virgin Media customer service is about average. It isn’t among the worst, per se – but it isn’t top choice either.
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)
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.
How does Virgin Media compare against other providers?
Compared to 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.
BT also leads on price – but you do get less speed. 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.