Dan Howdle | November 10th, 2021
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 packages (or 'bundles'). It also now throws in a 5GB, or even unlimited usage O2 SIM with several packages, thereby offering a mobile option to those customers keen to have all their services with Virgin Media.
In this guide we take a look at the differences between each speed 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 don't always make available) or the lightning-quick 1000Mbps – as well as various options in between depending on the needs of your household.
For most homes with around four household members, anything from M100 to M500 is ideal, depending on the online habits of your household. Streamers and downloaders will all benefit from faster download speeds, while online gamers and anyone who uploads large files to social media or the cloud on a regular basis will want to look at a package with as fast an upload speed as possible.
Virgin Media's premium broadband offering, Gig1, is now availble across their entire network. So if you can get the basic M50, you can now also get the 1130Mbps average speeds offered by Gig1. It's so fast it's even comfortably capable of supporting a medium to large-size business, and makes Virgin 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? And when it comes to speed, sometimes it's better to have too much than too little.
|Average download speed||54Mbps||108Mbps||213Mbps||362Mbps||516Mbps||1130Mbps|
|Average upload speed||5Mbps||10Mbps||20Mbps||36Mbps||36Mbps||52Mbps|
|Router||Hub 3||Hub 3||Hub 3||Hub 3||Hub 3||Hub 4|
|Contract length||18 months||18 months||18 months||18 months||18 months||18 months|
With an average download speed of 54Mbps, Virgin’s entry-level speed is comparable to BT Fibre 1, and considerably faster than the 36Mbps entry-level speed offered by 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, is unlikely to be enough for an avid gamer.
It's not always available, but when it is, the M50 package is usually only available as a broadband only option or as part of a bundle with TV. It is not available only with a phone line. Strangely – and frustratingly – Virgin charges more for its broadband-only options than it does for its broadband and phone packages, which makes M50 a rather unnecessarily expensive way to get the entry-level package, unless you want to pay for the TV package as well, in the form of Virgin’s Big Bundle.
A step up from M50 brings you to Virgin’s M100 package, with average download speeds of 108Mbps or more. 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 4 router, M100 is also available as part of a TV package with the Virgin Media Big Bundle.
Busy households with over 10 devices connected online will benefit from the faster speed that comes with M200. Averaging 213Mbps, the M200 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 4 router should keep everything online without issue.
Capable of downloading an HD film in around three minutes, obviously Virgin’s M200 costs a little more than the M100, with or without anytime weekend calls, but we think it offers a great compromise when it comes to balancing speeds and costs.
Customers can choose to take the M200 either on its own, with a Virgin Mobile 5GB SIM or bundled up with TV in the Virgin Media Bigger Bundle TV package.
For households that do a lot of gaming and streaming in HD, 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, either for gamers or anyone who frequently uploads large amounts of data, such as making regular video calls or saving files onto cloud storage.
The 362Mbps download speed will enable you to download a 70GB videogame in half an hour, and support numerous devices all downloading and streaming at once without any effort at all.
As with the M200, it is also available as part of a phone and broadband bundle with a 5GB SIM, or as part of the Virgin Media TV Bigger Bundle, which includes BT Sport in UHD and a free 5GB SIM.
The M500 package comes with serious amounts of speed, averaging 516Mbps, fast enough to download an HD film in one minute, or stream several UHD films at once. Gamers 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 M100 connection.
The accompanying upload speed is still just 36Mbps however – the same as that on offer with the M350 package. As with most other speeds, the M500 is available bundled with a phone line and weekend calls, and with a 5GB SIM, but not as part of a TV bundle.
Virgin’s premium speed is currently unrivalled and it's the fastest widely available broadband speed in the UK, with an average download speed of 1130Mbps that beats even BT’s 900Mbps service. No household 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 52Mbps and is supported by Virgin’s premium router, the Hub 5. Capable of downloading a 70GB videogame in just nine minutes and supporting multiple streams of UHD films and TV shows, a 1Gbps connection makes everything happen seamlessly and nigh-on instantaneously.
Virgin’s Gig1 is available as broadband and phone package, with a 10GB 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, by a long shot.
Lines open 8am-10pm Monday to Sunday
All Virgin Media broadband packages come with the Hub 4 router with the exception of the Gig1 package, which comes with the Hub 5 router.
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 accessibility – accesible to over 55% 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 20 million wifi hotspots, both in the UK and abroad. You can even access the internet on the London Underground!
Virgin Media is also one of the very few providers that offer a 30-day contract, ideal if you are looking for a flexible service without commitment.