Virgin Media Broadband
Buyers guide to Virgin Media broadband
Thinking about buying a Virgin Media broadband package? Read our impartial and comprehensive buyers guide to help you decide which package is right for you.
We’ll look at the different options including speed, availability, switching, equipment, billing and much more.
Why choose Virgin broadband?
We think the most appealing aspects about Virgin Media broadband are the fast fibre optic broadband speeds and unlimited usage as standard.
In some areas speeds are available up to 120Mbps, and industry regulator Ofcom has consistently found Virgin Media to have the highest average download speeds of any UK provider. And because it's fibre optic it can deliver actual speeds close to those advertised.
All Virgin broadband packages include unlimited monthly usage allowance, which makes them ideal for people who want the freedom to download as much as they like without worrying about restrictions.
What are my options?
There are three packages with different speeds to choose from:
- Up to 30Mbps
- Up to 60Mbps
- Up to 100Mbps, and in some areas up to 120Mbps
Your broadband options will depend upon what’s available in your area, and when you sign up you’ll also have the option to add TV and phone to your broadband package.
Which package is right for me?
All Virgin broadband packages have unlimited usage, so the right package for you will be determined by:
- Your budget
- What you’ll be using your broadband connection for
- The number of people using the broadband connection
The up to 30Mbps package is a good all-rounder which is suitable for most online tasks, and is ideal for families who play online console games, download movies and upload photos.
The up to 60Mbps package is aimed at serious broadband users. It can support several users at a time, whether they’re playing online console games, downloading music or streaming movies.
The up to 100Mbps package is the top-level option, and is aimed at the most demanding users. This package is ideal if multiple users will be sharing the connection at any given time for tasks such as streaming HD video and uploading large files.
We think that the up to 30Mbps package is the ideal option for most users. It’s fast enough to handle a wide range of online activities, has a good upload speed and is one of the cheaper options.
Six essential questions before you buy
You're almost ready to start comparing, but before you do, take some time to consider these six essential questions:
- Do I need an unlimited broadband package?
- How many people will I be sharing my broadband with?
- Would I really see a benefit by paying extra for one of the faster packages?
- Am I happy to switch my phone line?
- Can I commit to an 18 month minimum term contract?
- Do I want to add TV or phone?
What will I need?
To get Virgin broadband you’ll need:
- A fibre optic line coming into your home
- A cable modem/broadband router
- To sign up for a minimum term of 18 months
All the hardware you’ll need will be provided by Virgin Media, and will be installed by one of their engineers in a single visit.
How do I switch to Virgin Media?
Unless you take a broadband only package you’ll need to switch your phone line to Virgin Media. Switching should be straightforward as Virgin Media will do everything for you, and will usually arrange for you to keep your existing phone number. You don’t need a MAC code when switching to Virgin Media.
If you do switch your phone line, you’ll start paying Virgin Media line rental at £14.99 a month. You’ll stop paying line rental to your existing provider.
If you don’t want a phone line, or you’ve got an existing phone line that you want to keep, you can sign up for Virgin broadband without a phone line.
Inclusive phone calls
The cost of Virgin Media line rental includes unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and 0870 numbers. For an additional monthly fee you can upgrade to unlimited evening and weekend, or unlimited anytime calls. Calls to customer services and the Virgin Media directory enquiries line are also included.
All Virgin Media fibre optic broadband customers receive a Virgin Media Super Hub wireless router. This router has been designed to handle broadband speeds of 100Mbps and above, and can support up to four wired and four wireless connections at a time. A Virgin Media engineer will set it up for you on your installation day.
You also have the option to request a free ‘N’ wireless adapter when placing your order for either up to 60Mb or up to 100Mb broadband (£30 for up to 30Mb customers). This is a USB dongle that connects to your computer to allow it to receive the Wi-Fi signal being broadcast by the Super Hub. If your computer or laptop already has Wi-Fi built in you won’t need an adapter, although using it may increase the speed of your wireless broadband connection. To request an adapter you’ll need to select the relevant option under “Add your extras” in the Virgin Media basket.
What is Virgin Media’s traffic management policy?
Virgin Media operates a traffic management policy to ensure a consistent level of service for all customers. Under the policy the 5% of Virgin’s heaviest users may find that certain online activities slow down at the busiest times of the day.
How the traffic management policy will affect you depends upon which package you’re on, and what you’re doing online. At the busiest times:
- File sharing speeds will be greatly reduced for all customers
- Customers with either up to 30Mb or up to 60Mb broadband may have their download and upload speeds reduced
- Customers with up to 100Mb may have their upload speeds reduced
Customers who use their broadband at a level that Virgin considers to be “normal” are unlikely to ever be affected by traffic management activities.
Static IP addresses
Virgin Media doesn’t offer static IP addresses to home broadband customers, and there are no plans to begin doing so. Static or “fixed” IP addresses are available as an optional extra with all Virgin Media Business broadband packages.
Virgin Media announced in early 2012 that a programme was underway to double speeds for most of its broadband customers, with the exception being those with the up to 100Mb package who will be upgraded to 120Mbps and receive a monthly discount.
Bills and payments
Virgin Media will bill you once a month for your broadband and any other services you take from them. You can receive your bills electronically or as paper bills through the post. There is a £1.75 per month administration charge for paper billing.
You can pay your Virgin broadband bill by Direct Debit, credit or debit card, cheque, via online banking or by cash at the Post Office. Virgin Media prefers Direct Debit, and if you choose to pay by any other method you’ll be charged a monthly payment handling fee, which is currently £5.
Can I make changes to my services?
If you want to change your package you can usually do so after 30 days, but you may lose any discounts or special offers that you got when you signed up. You can add TV and phone to your Virgin broadband account at any time. If you do you’ll begin either a new 12 or 18 month contract for all your services, depending on what you're adding.
How do I sign up?
- Before you can sign up for Virgin broadband you’ll need to check availability in your area with our Virgin postcode checker at the top of this page.
- Compare the different packages in your area. Take into account everything that we’ve covered in this guide, and keep an eye out for any special offers.
- Click the See Deal button next to your chosen package. We’ll transfer you to the Virgin Media online shop where you’ll complete the sign up process. Virgin uses a secure ordering system, so your personal information will remain completely protected throughout.
What if I can’t get Virgin broadband in my area?
If our postcode checker tells you that you can’t get Virgin Media cable in your area you may like to sign up for our availability alerts. Once the Virgin Media cable network reaches you we’ll send you an email to let you know.
We hope you’ll find our guide useful but if you’ve got any questions or comments about this guide or anything else why not email us?