Virgin Media - Broadband Only or a Package?
Virgin Media broadband is fast. That’s the first thing you should know. If you’ve got the need for speed and you don’t live in the lucky few parts of the country that niche providers such as Hyperoptic operate in, Virgin is the fastest provider available to you.
Virgin’s cable broadband packages are split into five speeds. The first (slowest) package is almost as fast as many of its competitors’ fastest deals. The last (fastest) package is only available as part of the Ultimate Oomph Bundle, and reaches the fastest widely available broadband speeds on the market in the UK.
Apart from M500, each of the speeds listed can be acquired across a range of deals from broadband only to a bundle of Virgin Media services. The price of each, then, depends on which deal you want it with. For a full list of broadband prices see Virgin Media’s main page. Let’s take a closer look at them.
With download speeds of 54Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps, this package gets close to most major providers’ fastest speeds, but it’s the slowest of the five Virgin offers. They recommend it for small households with four devices or fewer using the internet. Most providers will push an 11Mbps package on households with relatively low usage, leaving them frustrated when everyone in the house is connected - no such problems here.
This package gives download speeds of 108Mbps and upload speeds of 6Mbps. Only Virgin’s fourth-fastest package, it far exceeds the fastest speeds that other providers offer. It’s recommended on their website for busy households with between 5-9 devices using the internet at any given time.
M200 gives customers astronomical speeds of 212Mbps for downloads and 12Mbps for uploads. This will suffice for households of more than 10 devices using the internet as they please all at once - not many households have needs that outstrip this, but yes, the speed-ceiling stretches yet further into the sky...
This is the fastest speed available in Virgin’s ordinary packages and bundles, offering download speeds of 362Mbps and upload speeds of 35Mbps. Virgin is quite proud of stating that this is the fastest widely-available broadband package available on the UK market, and we’re not sure you could possibly have enough devices on the go to stretch it to its limits. If you manage to, let us know exactly what its limits are!
As we’ve mentioned before, M500 is available only with Virgin’s Ultimate Oomph bundle. We’re not sure anyone needs speeds this fast, but if you’re feeling extravagant and are interested in Virgin’s most comprehensive bundle then read more about it in our Virgin packages page (link coming soon!).
Pricing - are Virgin worth the money?
We’ve said it a hundred times and we’ll keep saying it - if you want fast speeds, the likelihood is that Virgin is your best bet. And, as their packages are each so much faster than their counterparts elsewhere, we have to be careful about how we compare them.
Price/speed comparison vs main providers
The difference in terms of speed between Virgin packages and others on the market makes this section difficult. It’s pointless, for example, to compare other providers’ basic broadband package (usually around 11Mbps) to any of Virgin’s. Instead, we would say M50 bears more comparison with a standard fibre package, normally within a range of 35-38Mbps.
With this in mind, we’ve taken the mean average of the cost of the major providers’ (BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and EE) standard fibre packages to compare with the cost of Virgin’s M50 + phone package. Bear in mind that M50’s 54Mbps still leave these deals trailing in terms of speed.
M50 + phone
Avg 35Mb~ + phone
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As you can see, the price of the M50 package come in a hair’s breadth more expensive than the average across the rest of the major providers. Not quite enough to draw your attention, maybe. When you consider, however, that Virgin’s speeds are almost 20Mbps faster than those we’re comparing them against, it starts to look considerably more interesting.
Most providers only offer one speed faster than standard fibre - usually calling this their “superfast fibre” package. These packages usually give you somewhere in the region of 60-65Mbps speeds. For want of another option, let’s compare prices between and Virgin’s M100 package, which gives average download speeds of 108Mbps:
M100 + phone
Avg 60Mb~ + phone
The difference in price here becomes slightly more pronounced, but for almost double the speed an extra couple of quid doesn’t seem to us to be at all unreasonable. So if your household really does put your super fast deal’s limits to the test, it might be worth upgrading! And for even faster deals, you can get M200 for an extra fiver a month or M350 for an extra tenner.
Price/speed comparison vs cheapest providers
We’re aware that, in terms of pricing, you may want to look away from the pool of major providers chosen as a comparison above. Everyone knows that the cheapest deals are not to be expected from the six biggest ISPs. Here’s how Virgin compares to Origin Broadband, one of our recommended budget providers:
M50 + phone
Origin 36Mb~ + phone
Origin does offer quite the saving over Virgin here, and on this occasion even faster speeds can’t really be said to compensate - Origin’s fastest (67Mbps) package also comes in cheaper than M50 at £26.99 per month. This is certainly worth considering if what you’re looking for is the best price for great internet speeds.
If, however, you’ll only settle for the very fastest, Virgin’s M200 and M350 don’t have much competition at the top regardless of price. Speeds to match these are simply not widely available from other providers.
Historic price increases
Virgin has a history of putting up prices. Reports of their prices rising surfaced both last year and the year before by 4.5% and 4.7% respectively. It seems safe to say that anyone signing up to Virgin should go into it knowing that there’s a good chance they could be paying more before long.
Price increases in the news
Virgin customers will know perfectly well what the score is in terms of price hikes. When you sign up to a Virgin contract it is fairly well sign-posted that your bill will go up when your 12-month contract ends. When your contract is almost up we suggest contacting Virgin (link coming soon) to see what your options are, and if you’re not happy with their solution then consider switching!
Virgin Media routers and WiFi Booster
New Virgin customers receive the latest router, the Superhub 3, as standard when they begin their contract. Existing customers may have one of their older hubs, and information on interpreting the blinking light-language of each of them is available in Virgin’s help centre. Here’s the full list of routers you may have as a Virgin customer:
- Superhub 2
- Superhub 2ac
- Hub 3.0
If your hub isn’t quite up to it and you need to extend your connection, you can connect those difficult-to-reach spots using one of Virgin’s three ‘Powerlines’. You need to be an existing customer and sign into My Virgin Media to get one of these pieces of kit:
- Netgear Powerline 1000 - £35 + £7p&p Features an ethernet port and works for connecting devices like a Virgin TV box, smart TV or games consoles.
- Netgear Powerline 1200 + extra outlet - £43 + £7p&p Also has an ethernet port, but with the addition of a filtered power outlet so you don’t lose the use of one of your sockets.
- Netgear Powerline WiFi 100 - £51 + £7p&p Extends the reach of your WiFi network, allowing you to connect devices without the need for extra cables (though it has an ethernet cable as well just in case).
My Virgin Media app
As a Virgin broadband customer, you’ll have access to the My Virgin Media app, which has a few really handy features. With your My Virgin Media account you can also access several other apps for free. The main app’s features are as follows:
- Managing your bills and packages.
- Making payments.
- Checking service status in your area.
The last feature allows you to see if there is anything wrong with the service in your area and, most importantly, let you know when it’s going to be fixed. It’s a favourite of ours and worth mentioning as a big plus!
For more info on the My Virgin Media app, see our dedicated page on it.
Virgin broadband FAQs
Have questions about Virgin broadband? These are a few we’ve seen asked a million times. If yours isn’t covered, try Virgin’s help centre to see if they’ve got the info you’re after.
Is Virgin Media the fastest available broadband?
Yes and no. Speeds to beat Virgin do exist, such as Hyperoptic’s 1Gbps fibre package, but these will only be available to you if you’re very lucky and live in specific parts of the UK. For most of us, Virgin has the fastest speeds you can expect to get for your home.
Will my internet slow down at peak times?
Virgin say that speeds are affected by how many customers are using the network at one time. The average speeds they’re selling you are the speeds available at least 50% of the time during peak times, which are between 8pm-10pm from Monday to Saturday. They are keen to mention in the small print, however, that the speeds they quote are average speeds and are not guaranteed.
Are Virgin M350 and M500 available in my area?
To find this out, you’ll need to type your postcode into Virgin’s postcode checker to see if cable has been laid already. Remember that if you don’t plan on getting Ultimate Oomph this won’t even matter - M500 is exclusive to this bundle.