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Operating on its own network, Virgin Media broadband has the fastest, most widely available broadband in the UK. But aside from incredibly fast broadband, what else do they have to offer? Let’s take a look.
|Average Download Speeds||54Mbps – 1130Mbps|
|Average Upload Speeds||5 Mbps – 52Mbps|
|Home Phone-line Rental||Yes|
|Cost||from £26.00 per month|
When it comes to broadband speeds, Virgin Media is the UK’s industry leader, boasting average download speeds of 1130Mbps on its top-tier package. And when it comes to fastest speeds, they’re the most widely available broadband provider in the country.
Rather than a Full Fibre connection – which uses fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange to your home – Virgin employs the use of multi-core copper from the cabinet to your home, meaning the broadband service they provide is technically ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’ (FTTC). However, because this type of cable technology is substantially different to standard copper telephone cables, the speeds are quicker than even Full Fibre ‘Fibre to the Premises’ (FTTP) broadband.
But the downside to Virgin Media operating on its own network is that its services aren’t quite available to everyone in the UK just yet. At the time of writing, around 55% of households will be able to sign-up for a Virgin Media broadband package.
That being said, if you’re after Ultrafast broadband, Virgin Media may be your best bet as other Ultrafast broadband providers such as Hyperoptic Broadband, and CommunityFibre aren’t nearly as widely available as Virgin.
Virgin’s broadband packages on offer are as follows:-
|Package||Average Download Speeds||Average Upload Speeds|
Other providers – such as Vodafone and CommunityFibre – offer Ultrafast, Full Fibre broadband with symmetrical speeds – meaning both download and upload rates are the same. By comparison, and relative to its own download speeds on offer, Virgin’s upload rates are relatively slow.
For most people, upload speeds likely won’t matter. However, if you are someone who regularly uploads content to the internet (e.g. videos to YouTube), streams content on sites like Twitch, or frequently sends emails containing large files, you may want to pay attention to the upload speeds of the broadband deals you’re looking at.
Virgin Media includes phone line rental as standard on all its broadband packages.
If you’d like to use your home phone to make calls, and want more than Pay As You Go (PAYG), Virgin offers a few call plan options which can be bolted on to your broadband deal:-
|Talk Weekends||Unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines, 0870 and Virgin Mobiles|
|Talk More Weekends||Unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and all UK Mobiles.|
|Talk More Evening & Weekends||Unlimited calls to UK landlines and UK Mobiles. 7pm to 7am weekdays, all day Saturday & Sunday.|
|Talk More Anytime||Unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines and all UK Mobiles.|
|Talk More international Anytime|
Unlimited calls to landlines abroad in 50 destinations. Plus unlimited calls to UK landlines and UK Mobiles.
Virgin Media offers a number of TV services which can be bundled with just broadband, broadband and home phone, or broadband with home phone and mobile (known as a ‘quad play’ bundle):-
|Bundle name||Includes||Price per month|
|Big Bundle||M200 Fibre broadband, Virgin TV 360 Box, 100+ TV Channels, access to streaming apps such as Netflix||£33.00|
|Bigger Bundle + Movies||M350 Fibre Broadband, Sky Cinema HD, 200+ TV channels & Talk Weekends||£57.00|
|Bigger Bundle + Sports||M500 Fibre Broadband, Spy Sports, 195+ TV Channels, & Talk Weekends||£65.00|
|Ultimate Volt Bundle||Gig1 Fibre Broadband, 230+ TV Channels, Anytime Calls, Netflix Standard Subscription, O2 SIM||£85.00|
|Biggest TV Bundle||M100 Fibre Broadband, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema HD, 210+ TV Channels, Talk Weekends, Netflix Standard Subscription||£87.00|
Most broadband packages on offer from Virgin are for 18 months. However, they do also offer 30-day rolling contracts.
Although ultimately more expensive and not as comprehensive in choice for bundles, they are a good option for those who don’t wish to be tied down to a lengthy contract period.
Virgin media are one of a handful of providers that have annual price increases baked into their contract’s terms and conditions. This means that, on or after the 31st of March every year, the price of your broadband package will increase in-line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation. An additional fee of 3.9% also applies.
All new Virgin Media customers receive a free router. Most will get the Virgin Media Hub 3, while those who opt for the Gig1 package will receive the Virgin Media Hub 4.
Both routers are capable of providing superfast Wi-Fi speeds across a number of devices, and, with its Smart Channel Selection, the router will automatically connect your devices to the fastest WiFi channel and frequency available.
Although they will occasionally run promotions where the fee is waived, Virgin Media will usually charge a fee of £15.00 in set-up costs to all new customers.
And because Virgin operates its own network, if you’re switching to them from a provider on BT’s Openreach network, you will need to inform your current provider that you’re leaving. You will then need to arrange with Virgin to have a new line installed at your property.
Virgin Media offers a range of options for its customers to reach out, including via phone or live chat. Simply answer a few questions about the nature of your enquiry, and Virgin will put you through to the correct department.
In terms of customer satisfaction, a recent report from Ofcom indicates that Virgin Media’s customers ranked lower than average in satisfaction for the broadband and home phone services they received (78% and 69% respectively). By comparison, main competitor BT ranked higher than average with satisfaction scores of 88% for broadband and 81% for home phone.
Virgin Media offers a decent array of broadband and telecommunications packages – like quad play bundles – that could save you a significant amount of money instead of paying for these services separately.
Virgin Media, like a growing number of broadband providers, is one that has baked in annual price hikes into its contracts. Depending on the broadband package you choose, this could be a significant amount, so its important to budget for this added rise in price before committing to a full-term contract.
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