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BT Infinity vs Virgin Media broadband

Wednesday, November 8th 2017

It's the battle of the giants. BT Infinity and Virgin Media are competing for your fibre optic pound. So arm yourself with all the facts you need to make up your own mind, including download speeds, usage limits, traffic management and line rental.

Our guide pits two of the UK’s heavyweight fibre optic broadband providers against each other – BT and Virgin Media.

At a glance

BT's entry-level speed is 52Mbps whereas Virgin's is 50Mb. Virgin wins hands down on price however, but doesn't offer extras such as BT's free BT Wi-fi and free BT Sport. Virgin's TV offering is better and it offers free Facebook and WhatsApp messaging to its mobile customers. If you can get Virgin, we recommend that you do.

  • BT Unlimited Infinity 1 + Calls

    BT
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • UK's best Wi-Fi router
    Offer ends 14th December & Activation fee discount worth £30
    £31 .99
    £29.99 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal
  • Virgin Media VIVID 50 Fibre Broadband + Calls

    Virgin Media
    • Pay nothing today
    • Weekend calls
    • Free WiFi router
    £29
    £20 set-up cost includes line rental See Deal

Speed

BT

BT has two levels of service: Infinity 1, with download speeds of up to 52Mbps, and Infinity 2, up to 76Mbps. According to Ofcom’s speed report, you can expect to get speeds between 59.9Mbps to 63.1Mbps on on BT’s premium fibre package. BT’s top upload speed is 19Mb, with actual average upload speeds coming in at 16Mbps-16.4Mbps – satisfying close to the advertised speed.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media has four speeds: 50Mb, Vivid 100, Vivid 200 and Vivid 300. Virgin Media is currently way ahead on speed and provides the fastest widely available broadband in the country.

Historically, Virgin's actual speeds have been very close to those advertised, so you should have no issues on that front.

For uploads, you will be looking at a maximum speed of around 20Mb with Vivid 300. Vivid 200 comes with 12Mb and Vivid 100 with just 6Mb upload. 50Mb comes with a mere 3Mbps.

Download speed 76Mb
up to
300Mb
up to
Upload speed 19Mbps
up to
20Mbps
up to
See deals → See deals →
BT
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Virgin Media
Download speed
Up to 300Mb
Upload speed
Up to 12Mbps

Package comparison

BT

BT Infinity is widely available at two different speeds. BT Infinity 1 has a download speed of up to 38Mbps, and comes with unlimited usage. Unlimited BT Infinity 2 has download speeds of up to 76Mbps with unlimited usage. All packages come with free weekend calls and are on 18-month contracts.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers four packages (up to 50Mbps, up to 100Mbps, up to 200Mbps and up to 300Mbps) and, unlike BT, does not require its customers to have a phone line. Virgin’s contracts are 12-months long. It also offers 30-day contracts for both broadband and calls, and broadband-only.

  • Broadband
    Max download speed52Mb
    Max upload speed9.5Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls10.24ppm
    Evening calls10.24ppm
    Weekend callsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£29.99
    Contract length18 months
    First year cost £413.87

    £31.99
    per month
    includes line rental

  • Broadband
    Max download speed100Mb
    Max upload speed6Mb
    Monthly usageUnlimited
    Home Phone
    Daytime calls9.94ppm
    Evening calls9.94ppm
    Weekend callsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Set-up cost£20
    Contract length12 months
    First year cost £428

    £34
    per month
    includes line rental

    0808 168 4947 0808 168 4947

Customer service

BT

According to the most recent Ofcom report, BT scored 60% for broadband customer satisfaction in comparison to the sector average of 67%.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media meanwhile, has been doing consistently well. Compared to a sector average of 67% Virgin Media scored 70% in the most recent Ofcom report.

Technology and equipment

BT

As a new BT customer you’ll be supplied with a BT Smart Hub wireless router. Note that you’ll be charged £9.99 for postage and packing.

The Smart Hub uses a combination of B/G/N technology, and can support several wireless connections at a time. It uses ‘Smart Wireless’ technology to detect interference and automatically select an alternate channel with a better signal. It boasts the greatest wi-fi coverage of all routers currently on the market, meaning you should always receive an excellent signal around your home.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media supplies all broadband customers with its Hub 3.0 router, which uses ‘N’ wireless technology. It’s capable of handling broadband speeds above 300Mbps and can support up to four wired and up to 20 wireless connections at a time. There is no postage and packing charge for the Hub 3.0.

Extra features

BT

All BT Infinity packages include access to the BT Sport app and online player, BT SmartTalk, BT Parental Control, storage on the BT Cloud and a 4G BT Mobile SIM at a discounted price. The packages also come with BT NetProtect Plus which will guard your computer against viruses and spyware.

Whichever BT Infinity package you choose, you’ll get free and unlimited access to BT’s network of more than four million public wi-fi hotspots at hotels, restaurants and shopping centres.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media offers its customers similar extras, including security, Virgin Media Mail, a PC Healthcheck and the Virgin Media Toolbar. Unfortunately Virgin Media does not currently offer any public wi-fi usage with any broadband packages except at some London Underground stations. Virgin Mobile customers can however enjoy free wi-fi via The Cloud at over two million locations as well as enjoy free WhatsApp and Facebook messaging, all on 4G.

Availability

To check which BT and Virgin Media services are available in your area just enter your postcode into our availability checker below. It’s free, fast and approved by Ofcom.

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Conclusion

If you are in the happy position of having both BT and Virgin to choose from, it really depends on where your priorities lie. BT offers an extensive public wi-fi network, but Virgin's top download speeds are way faster. If you want an all-round package with extras, we would suggest BT, but if you are after purely reliable, superfast broadband, and want a better deal for your money, go with Virgin.

And don’t forget, Cable.co.uk now produces in-depth broadband reviews of every major UK broadband package, so check them out if you need more information.

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