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Virgin Media broadband review

By Emma Lunn
Tuesday, January 15th 2019
5/5

Virgin Media provides, hands-down, the fastest widely available broadband in the UK. It simply cannot be beaten on speed. But a good broadband service doesn't depend on speed alone. There are other factors. On balance then, is Virgin broadband any good?

Overview

Average download speed 362Mbps
Upload speed 21Mbps
Broadband Fibre
Home Phone Yes
Digital TV Yes
Prices from £25 per month

Broadband speeds

Virgin Media is all about speed. It’s miles ahead of the top speeds offered by the likes of BT and Sky with its top VIVID package offering average speeds of an awesome 362Mbps. According to Ofcom, Virgin Media offers the top speeds in the UK, and no one’s arguing.

Even Virgin’s slowest product is faster than many 'fast fibre' deals from other UK providers.

Other VIVID broadband deals offer average speeds of 108Mbps, 213Mbps and 350Mbps. These are lightning-quick speeds. On any of these packages you could have a busy household streaming multiple movies, gaming, doing some good old-fashioned surfing, and you’d still have plenty left over.

A big selling point with Virgin Media is that you’re more than likely to get the speed you're paying for than with other providers. Ofcom's 2017 figures show that those taking out basic broadband deals (previously shown as up to 17Mbps) average, in fact, only 8.4Mbps at peak times. Virgin Media 50Mbps customers get an average of 54Mbps.

Upload speeds

The average upload speed on Virgin’s 50Mb deal is 3.04Mbps, and 5.99Mbps on the 100Mb package. Even on the 362Mb package you’ll only get upload speeds averaging 20.6Mbps (all speeds are for February 2018 and taken from Virgin Media Broadband Performance Panel powered by SamKnows).

As a comparison, Plusnet’s entry-level fibre deal has upload speeds averaging at 9.5Mbps, while you can get 19Mbps upload speeds on its top-end fibre package.

Do upload speeds matter? With most tasks, no. Hanging around waiting for photos to upload or big emails to send can be pretty frustrating, however.

Compare Virgin broadband deals

Deals and offers

Each broadband provider in the UK tends to have its own way of drawing in new customers. IN Virgin Media's case, it tends not to offer the sort of cashback, voucher and free gift-type deals you often see with BT, Sky and TalkTalk. Instead, it puts its packages on at 'sale' prices – for much of the year.

It's a good idea, then, if you see a Virgin broadband deal you like, to go for it without hesitation, as the price may not be the same if you wait. Below is a sample of the Virgin broadband deals currently on offer.

Router and installation

Router

Virgin Media Hub 3.0

In our opinion Virgin Media’s router is pretty impressive. All broadband customers get the same router: the Hub 3.0. Sky and BT, on the other hand, offer a lower-end router for their entry-level bundles, meaning if you want to upgrade or downgrade, you might need a different bit of kit.

The Hub 3.0 gives superfast wi-fi speeds that stay fast across loads of devices. It also has fantastic range, so ideal for larger homes. You can also stay safe online with the included security tech: Web Safe, F-Secure SAFE™ and parental controls.

Installation

You’ll need to pay a fee to get your Virgin Media broadband set up and, as we mentioned before, you’ll pay a higher fee on 30-day broadband deals than if you commit for a year.

If you’re switching from BT or another network that uses Openreach (pretty much all of them) you’ll need to cease that connection and have Virgin Media install a line at your property – you can’t just switch it over.

Virgin’s QuickStart should be available if your home has been connected to the Virgin network in the past three years. With QuickStart you install your equipment yourself.

Customer service

In Ofcom’s latest customer service satisfaction survey, Virgin Media customers reported the highest levels of overall satisfaction with their broadband service at 91%. Customers also reported higher than average levels of satisfaction for both reliability (90%) and speed (91%).

However, Virgin Media had the highest proportion of broadband customers with a reason to complain in 2016 at 16% (the same as TalkTalk).

Our final verdict

The good

  • Faster than any other service
  • More reliable than others
  • Don't need a phone line

The bad

  • Can be pricey outside of sale time
  • Not available everywhere
  • Harsh cancellation fee policy

Virgin Media is the leader in the UK when it comes to broadband speeds. BT is working on delivering its Ultrafast fibre connections with speeds up to 314Mb – but when this will be widely available, we don’t know. We would guess it's going to be years, rather than months.

Virgin's broadband is not only fast, it's also the most reliable. Basically, then, it's the best broadband money can buy.

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