Dan Howdle | February 12th, 2024
Virgin Media is the leading provider of ultrafast broadband speeds in the UK, offering several speed options in the form of broadband only, broadband and phone, and broadband and TV bundles. It also now throws in an O2 SIM with its Volt packages – ideal for those customers keen to have all their services with Virgin Media, and to save some money in the process.
In this guide we take a look at the differences between each range of speeds available so you can decide which Virgin Media broadband package is the right choice for your home.
Virgin’s speeds are renowned for not just matching their advertised rate but even exceeding it. Offering six different download speeds in varying package configurations, Virgin Media has the capability to cater to the broadband requirements of any household, large or small. Customers can choose to sign up to the modest entry-level 50Mbps (which Virgin doesn't always make available) all the way up to the lightning-quick Gig1 package at 1130Mbps.
|M50 Fibre Broadband + Calls
|£28 per month
|M125 Fibre Broadband
|£29 per month
|M250 Fibre Broadband
|£33 per month
|M350 Fibre Broadband
|£37 per month
|M500 Fibre Broadband
|£41 per month
|Gig1 Fibre Broadband
|£48 per month
|Gig2 (coming soon)
|Up to symmetrical
|£84 per month
For most homes with around four household members, anything from M125 up to M350 is ideal, depending on your online habits. Gamers and other kids of heavy downloaders can benefit from more speed, but do bear in mind that nobody really 'needs' anything that fast.
Virgin Media's premium broadband offering, Gig1 Fibre, is in fact now available across its entire network. So if you can get the basic (but still very fast) M125, you can now also get the 1130Mbps average speed offered by Gig1. It's so fast it's comfortably capable of supporting a medium to large-size business, and makes Virgin Media the fastest widely available provider in the UK. You could argue that it’s not remotely necessary for an average home, but if you can get it, and you want it, then why not?
A quick side note: At the time of writing, Virgin Media is in the process of rolling out its 'Gig2' service, offering and absolutely bonkers 2Gbps, and with the option of symmetrical upload and download speeds for an additional monthly fee. However, Gig2 does not use the same cable system the rest of Virgin Media currently does, and so we expect rollout to be slow and availability very rare for now. Virgin Media is not yet advertising Gig2, instead preferring to offer it directly to residents where it's being tested.
With an average download speed of 54Mbps, Virgin’s entry-level speed is comparable to the top speeds available with BT Fibre 1, and considerably faster than the 36Mbps entry-level speed offered by BT and most other broadband providers. A download speed of 50Mbps is ideal for small households with only a handful of devices online. It comes with an average upload speed of just 5Mbps however, which, although perfectly sufficient for most homes, might not be enough for a home business, home worker or Twitch/YouTube streamer.
A step up from M50 brings you to Virgin’s M125 package, with average download speeds of around 132Mbps. This is an ideal speed for households that want that little bit extra, and that have up to ten devices connected to the internet. Its accompanying upload speed is also better, with 10Mbps rather than the 5Mbps that comes with the M50 package.
Remarkably, in spite of offering double the speed, it can sometimes cost less than the broadband-only M50. It's also available with a phone line, along with anytime weekend calls to both landlines and UK mobiles. Supplied with the Virgin Hub 3 router, M125 is also available as part of a TV bundle.
Busy with more people requiring an internet connection will benefit from the faster speed that comes with M250. Averaging 264Mbps, the M250 offers the reassurance that there will be no complaints from teenagers regarding internet slowdown. Gamers in the family will also be pleased with the 20Mbps upload speed and the Hub 3 router should keep everything online without issue.
Capable of downloading an HD film in around three minutes, obviously Virgin’s M250 costs a little more than the M125, with or without anytime weekend calls, but we think it offers a great compromise when it comes to balancing speed and cost.
For households that do a lot of gaming and 4K streaming, M350 is a good bet. Its average download speed of 362Mbps will comfortably support a modern family that is constantly online with several devices, and the accompanying upload speed of around 36Mbps will also come in handy for anyone who plans to be a YouTuber or a Twitch streamer, or needs to save a lot onto cloud storage.
The 362Mbps download speed will enable you to download a 70GB video game in around half an hour. M350 speeds will also support numerous devices downloading and streaming at once without any effort at all.
The M500 package offers serious download speeds, averaging 516Mbps, fast enough to download an HD film in one minute, or stream 25-odd 4K films at once (yes, it's really that unnecessarily fast). Gamers however will appreciate being able to download a 70GB game in around 20 minutes – this compares favourably to the one hour and 40 minutes it would take on an M125 connection.
The accompanying upload speed has recently been upgraded to 52Mbps – as was previously only available with the top of the line Gig1 package. As with most other speeds, the M500 is available bundled with a phone line and weekend calls, or bundled with TV in the Bigger Volt or the Volt Fibre packages, both of which also come with a 10GB O2 SIM.
Virgin’s premium speed is currently unrivalled, offering the fastest widely available broadband speed in the UK. With an average download speed of 1130Mbps, it beats even BT’s 900Mbps service. No household really needs this amount of speed, but it does offer total peace of mind when it comes to wanting an ultrafast, reliable broadband connection. It will literally cope with anything you throw at it, comfortably supporting several UHD streams, multiple gamers and a limitless number of connected devices at any one time.
As well as an ultrafast download speed, Gig1 also comes with an extremely healthy upload speed of 104Mbps and is supported by Virgin’s premium router, the Hub 5. Capable of downloading a 70GB video game in just nine minutes and supporting multiple streams of UHD films and TV shows, a 1Gbps connection makes everything happen seamlessly and almost instantaneously.
Virgin’s Gig1 is available on its own, as a broadband and phone package, with an unlimited O2 SIM thrown in, or as part of the range topping Virgin Media Ultimate Volt, which really is one of the most comprehensive packages you can find anywhere. And what's more, it's now available to every household within the Virgin Media broadband network – making it the fastest broadband you're likely to find right now.
Lines open 8am-10pm Monday to Sunday
All Virgin Media broadband packages come with the Hub 3 router with the exception of the Gig1 package, which comes with Virgin’s premium Hub 5 router. The Hub 4 was rolled out to early Gig1 adopters but has since been discontinued.
Yes. It's easy to upgrade. You can do it online or over the phone as soon as you're up and running with your services. Bear in mind that if you upgrade mid-term, you will be required to restart your 18-month contract.
Yes. Virgin Media offers comprehensive protection in the form of Child Safe, the parental controls that come as part of Web Safe. Child Safe is activated automatically when you purchase a Virgin Media broadband package.
The main draw of Virgin Media is its exceptionally fast speeds and also its availability – currently available to over 60% of UK properties, Virgin services are currently far more widely available than comparable ultrafast speeds on offer via the Openreach network, from providers such as BT. Customers also benefit from the Virgin Media Connect app that enables customers to access over 3.5 million+ wifi hotspots, both in the UK and abroad. You can even access the internet on the London Underground.