Of all the broadband and TV providers in the UK, choosing Virgin Media is probably the easiest case to argue. It is, quite simply, at the top of its game in most respects. Let’s take a look.
When you consider that the so-called ‘slowest’ broadband offered by Virgin right now (averaging 54Mbps) is almost as quick as the fastest (averaging around 67Mbps) offered by many other providers, you get a clear snapshot of just how far ahead Virgin Media is when it comes to broadband. Virgin’s top Gig1 speed meanwhile averages a whopping 1000Mbps.
Virgin Media broadband is also more reliable than the competition, and you’re more likely to get speeds meeting, or in many cases exceeding, those advertised.
Virgin does now have some competition when it comes to fast broadband speeds however, in the form of BT Ultrafast, EE Full Fibre, Vodafone Full Fibre and Sky Ultrafast, all of which offer speeds of 500Mbps to 900Mbps. However, these connections are still not as widely available as Virgin (currently only covering roughly 15% of UK homes against Virgin’s 60% coverage), so if you want lightning fast broadband, then Virgin should still be your first port of call.
When it comes to top-end subscription TV, it’s no longer a two-horse race between Virgin and Sky, as BT TV is now also up there in terms of comparable offerings. Virgin TV has only one major downside compared to Sky and BT – you can’t get Sky Atlantic. However, in most other respects Virgin TV either meets Sky head-on with a like-for-like service – or offers advantages.
For example, Virgin TV 360 set-top box is superior to the free Sky Q box you’ll get from Sky, able to deliver 4K content and offers greater recording capacity. You won’t need a satellite dish with Virgin TV either, and you can add BT Sport, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema just like you can on Sky.
There are a lot of broadband providers offering a so-called ‘broadband-only’ service, but Virgin is the only one that truly doesn’t require a telephone line. On those ‘broadband-only’ deals from other providers you’ll still need a phone line, with the cost of line rental folded into the price. With Virgin broadband delivered through its own cable, you require no such thing.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that you shouldn’t expect to save any money by taking a broadband-only deal. In fact, the same speed without a phone line will cost you almost double than that of an equivalent broadband and phone package.
Virgin was one of the first mobile providers to offer unlimited data, albeit only as a special offer for existing broadband customers. However, its unlimited data deal is now available to anyone, on a choice of 12 or 24 month contracts. Running on the O2 network, it offers 4G to 99% of the population and 5G across a large number of towns and cities across the UK.
Pretty much all providers have to offer some form of parental control so families can cordon off the more adult corners of the internet from their young ones. Virgin is no different, though we would say it offers more than most in this area with a complete suite of tools including adult content filtering and security in the form of F-Secure virus protection.
Virgin Media sits up high when it comes to overall satisfaction for customer service according tothe most recent report from Ofcom, with 80% of customers satisfied. This is in line with both Sky and BT. When it comes to speed of service, it ranks top, with 82% of customers satisfied, beating both Sky and BT.
Virgin Media currently covers around 60% of UK properties, not all of which can get the top speeds on offer. You can find out what's available in your area by entering your postcode in our coverage checker above.
In many cases, installation requires a visit from an engineer, which incurs a modest fee. Having said that, Virgin also offers its QuickStart self-installation packs for addresses previously connected to its services. The pack comes with instructions, and there are also video tutorials on Virgin's website.
Almost all providers in the UK are on the Openreach network (formerly owned by BT) and bring fibre to around 97% of UK homes and standard broadband to 100%. Virgin Media is the only widely available exception as it runs its own network.
Although it can provide extremely fast broadband, it is only available to around 60-65% of UK households, meaning there’s a strong chance you may not be able to get it. However, this is still considerably more widespread than the pure fibre speeds available from BT, Sky, Vodafone and EE, which currently only reach around 15% of the UK.
You can use our postcode checker at the top of this page to find out what’s available in your area.
All we can say here is that so long as you’re sure you’re going to want Virgin Media for the prescribed contract period, you’re not going to have to worry about this. If not, their cancellation fee policy differs little from that of other providers, albeit for one key detail.
Currently if you move house and can’t get Virgin Media at your new address Virgin will make you pay out your contract regardless. The only exception to this is if one member of your household is staying, in which case you can transfer the contract into their name.
Virgin is what some refer to as a ‘quad-play’ provider. That is, it offers broadband, TV, home phone and mobile. Here are its services with brief descriptions.
Virgin Media offers some of the fastest widely available broadband in the UK, with its top speed coming in at 1GB (1000Mbps) or more. Virgin Media broadband is also more reliable than that supplied by other providers with less downtime across its network than anyone else.
Virgin TV offers an enormous number of channels, the 360 box is one of the best free set-top boxes out there, and you can bolt on Sky Sports, BT Sport, Sky Cinema and a host of other specialist channels. Also, you don’t need a satellite dish as it’s all delivered through the same cable as your broadband.
Virgin Media started life as Virgin Mobile, believe it or not. Now it’s a separate arm of the company offering pay monthly and SIM-only deals on the O2 network. You can get unlimited 4G or 5G data (where available) if you have a SIM-only or pay monthly phone deal from Virgin Mobile while at the same time being a Virgin broadband and/or TV customer.
For the sake of simplicity, we’re applying the term ‘bundle’ to a combination of broadband, TV and home phone. In this category, Virgin Media has three core offerings that can be adapted as personalised with differing channel packs and broadband speeds as required.
This is Virgin Media’s most basic bundle, but is nevertheless substantial. In it, you’ll get M50 broadband (with an average speed of 54Mbps) as standard, Talk Weekends (free weekend calls on your landline), and Mixit TV (Virgin TV's basic 100+ channel package).
In the Bigger Bundle you kind of get everything. You get M100 broadband (with an average speed of 108bps), Maxit TV (190+ channels, including BT Sport in 4K and Sky channels in HD), and Talk Weekends (free calls from your landline on weekends).
The Ultimate Volt Bundle is absolutely everything you could want in one package. It comes with the insanely fast Gig1 broadband (with an average download speed of 1130Mbps and an upload speed of 52Mbps), over 230 channels including Sky Sports, BT Sport and Sky Cinema, an O2 SIM with unlimited data, and Talk More Anytime – free calls from your landline, all the time.
On top of all that, you will receive one 360 mini box to watch TV in a second room, and you can also request up to three WiFi Pods at no extra cost to resolve any wi-fi blackspots in your home with Virgin’s Intelligent Wi-Fi Plus.
Lines open 8am-10pm Monday to Sunday
‘Expensive’ is a relative term. Virgin Media charges moderately more than budget providers, (such as Plusnet, TalkTalk or Direct Save Telecom) but offers a premium service. On a cost per megabit (or per channel in terms of TV), it offers some of the best value in the country.
All Virgin Media contracts are for 18 months, after which you will have the opportunity to switch. Don’t forget you can back out in the first 14 days after your services are activated if you’re not happy.
At the time of writing, Virgin Media is not charging set-up fees, but it has done so in the past and they may be reintroduced in the future.
Yes, if it’s within the first 14 days of your service. Beyond that, you will have to receive consistently unfit-for-purpose services and give Virgin Media every opportunity to fix it. If it fails to address your problem, you have the right to leave free of charge. One quirk of Virgin Media is that you cannot leave your contract mid-term if you move house – even to somewhere where Virgin Media services aren’t available. If this sounds terrifically unfair that’s because it is. Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, is currently looking into this issue.
Yes. In fact if you get the Bigger Bundle, the Bigger Bundle with Sport or Ultimate Volt Bundle, you’ll get it thrown in for free. Otherwise you can simply add it on for a small monthly fee.
Yes. You can add it on to any bundle or TV-only deal, and it comes free with either the Bigger Bundle plus Sport or the Ultimate Volt Bundle.
Yes. As with Sky Sports you can add it on to any TV package or TV and broadband bundle, and it comes free with both the Bigger Bundle plus Movies and the Ultimate Volt Bundle.
No. Sky Atlantic is currently only available on Sky services.
Yes. Provided you can get the mobile coverage, Virgin Media offers MiFi dongles and data plans.
Yes, Virgin Media has around 3.5 million mobile hotspots around the UK and there is an app to help Virgin Media customers find them called Virgin Media Connect.
For complete transparency, we've included non-affiliated links to listed providers on this page. We don't earn a commission if you choose the following links and you may not get the best deal. Providers: Virgin Media