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Virgin Media student broadband review

Wednesday, November 4th 2015

Virgin Media student broadband is an ideal choice for students looking to head home when the university term ends. It's available to buy during the summer and early autumn, and the nine-month contract means you won’t be paying out when you’re not using your broadband.

It’s worthwhile splitting the bill between everyone in your houseshare to make the monthly payments more affordable. If you’re still wondering whether Virgin Media student broadband is right for you or not, here is everything you need to know to make your decision.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.8

The nine-month contract length is ideal for students who won’t be staying at university for a whole year. Pricing is fair, and the choice of three download speeds – some of which are the fastest widely available in the UK – will keep even the most dedicated downloader happy. Usage is unlimited too, so no matter how much time you spend online ‘studying’, you’ll never be charged extra.

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Speed & usage

Rating

5

Student broadband from Virgin doesn’t have a fixed speed. Instead, there are three options to choose from. These are: up to 50Mbps, up to 100Mbps, and up to 200Mbps. You can take them with a phone plan or alone.

The speed you choose will depend on your circumstances. If your shared house is packed with film lovers and online gamers, you may want to consider a faster connection. However, a 50Mbps should be ample for the varied requirements of most shared houses. Plus, the considerable hike in price for the top speed is worth taking into consideration before you commit.

Advertised download speeds aren’t the actual speeds you’ll receive – merely a best effort estimate. We’ve included all three of the available speeds with Virgin Media's student broadband packages in the table below so you can see what you can do with all that speed.

All Virgin Media broadband packages have unlimited usage. You won’t be slowed down at any time – no matter how much you download. Upload speeds are subject to traffic management, but this will only impact you if you upload lots of files in one day.

Advertised download speed Up to 200Mbps
Average downloads (off-peak) 168Mbps – 179.9Mbps (200Mbps)
Average downloads (peak) 148Mbps – 164.4Mbps (200Mbps)
Advertised upload speed Up to 12Mbps
Monthly usage limit No
Traffic management Yes
Static IP No
Minimum contract 9 months
Router Super Hub
Public wi-fi Yes, London Underground only
Prices from from £34 per month
Info

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What you can do with it

50Mb

100Mb

200Mb

Call plan

Rating

0

This student package is a broadband-only plan, so there’s no home phone package included. However, you can get a Virgin Media broadband and calls plan if you’re prepared to pay more and commit to a longer contract. Adding a phone plan will automatically switch it to a standard residential broadband plan, with an 18-month contract.

Virgin Media has four call plans with different price points. The basic call plan (Talk Weekends), gives you unlimited calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers on weekends, from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday. The premium call plan (Talk Unlimited Extra) gives you unlimited free calls to UK landline and mobile numbers at anytime of the day.

Inclusive calls on talk plans are free – but only for the first 60 minutes. After this period you’ll be charged standard call rates, at 10.25p per minute. To avoid this charge you can hang up and redial before the 60-minute mark.

Extras

Rating

3

Virgin Media throws a few extras in with its nine-month student broadband plans. For students in London, the most important of these will be free access to wi-fi at Underground stations. If you find yourself stuck at Goodge Street waiting for the train, you can get online with your smartphone or tablet by logging into the Virgin wireless network. You’ll need your account details to get set up and establish a username and password.

The Virgin Super Hub is provided for free (though you’ll have to pay for delivery). This is an essential part of your broadband service and is required to get everyone in your student house online.

The basic monthly price of student broadband is relatively expensive. However, splitting the monthly bill between yourself and your housemates should help. The half-price periods and similar offers that you may find on Virgin’s standard residential broadband plans do not apply to student broadband packages.

Although student broadband is a broadband-only package, that does not make it considerably cheaper than taking it with a call plan. If you do add a call plan, your contact will automatically switch to a residential plan and your contract will double in length to 18 months. It’s worth noting that there are no installation charges on student broadband plans.

The Super Hub comes with student broadband. This router is a cut above the usual fare supplied by many providers, and is future-proofed against later changes to Virgin’s infrastructure. There are four GigE ports on the router’s reverse, providing physical, wired connections for speeds of up to 200Mbps. For wireless users, the Super Hub operates on two wi-fi frequencies at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, respectively. This ensures a reduction in interference to your wi-fi signal.

The router is provided for free, but you’ll have to pay for delivery and for installation. It can take upwards of two weeks from the date of sale for your broadband service to be installed and activated but if your house is already Virgin Media ready you could be up and running in four days.

Virgin Media Router

Overall Rating

2.8

For students who don’t want to be charged when they’re not using their telecoms services, Virgin’s student broadband is ideal. The choice of speeds and unlimited usage all make this a great choice. However, the absence of a call plan may be an issue for some.

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