Virgin Media formed in 2006 when Virgin Mobile merged with NTL and Telewest. It was the first provider to offer a bundle that included broadband, TV and home phone and is now one of the powerhouse providers operating in the UK. Millions of customers now take advantage of its lightning-quick broadband, with top speeds of 300Mbps available.
If yours is one of the 60% of UK households that can get Virgin Media broadband, it’s definitely worth a place on your shortlist. Virgin Media broadband offers lots of extras that you won’t get with the no-frills providers but not surprisingly these come at a price, so make sure you’re not buying more than you need.
Virgin Media definitely earns its place among the ‘big four’ UK broadband providers. Not only does Virgin offer the fastest broadband speeds on the mainstream market, it was also the first to offer broadband, phone, TV and mobile contracts together, known as ‘quad play’. You can get some brilliant Virgin broadband deals if you’re looking to bundle together your home and mobile entertainment, and you’ll get free extras like internet security. Virgin Media certainly isn't the cheapest around, but as long as you make sure you’re not buying more than you need then it could add up to a great value package for you and your household.
*Reviews on this page are randomly selected and sourced from an anonymous feedback survey of 7,681 broadband customers conducted by BroadbandDeals.com in July 2020.
The Virgin brand needs little introduction to most people and neither does its founder, Sir Richard Branson. Virgin Media was actually formed in 2006 through the merger of cable companies NTL and Telewest, who then bought Virgin Mobile UK and signed a deal with Sir Richard to operate the combined companies under the Virgin brand. Since 2013 Virgin Media has been part of the world’s largest international TV and broadband company, Liberty Global plc. Due to its cable company roots, Virgin Media delivers broadband, TV and phone services through its own cable network, rather than using the Openreach network like most of the other UK broadband providers.
Once you’ve decided to switch, you’ll need to let your current provider know – Virgin can’t do this for you but does offer some helpful templates to make it easy. If the property you live in has had Virgin Media services in the past three years you may be eligible for QuickStart. This is where you’re sent everything you need to set up your new Virgin broadband yourself, and it’s usually dispatched within four working days. If you can’t use QuickStart, you’ll need an engineer to visit. This can usually be booked within 14 days of placing your order. The installation takes two to three hours and someone aged over 18 must be at home when the engineer calls.
You’ll get the Virgin Media Hub 3 router if you sign up to any of Virgin’s most widely available broadband packages. There are some mixed reviews out there for the Hub 3, but we think it does the job. It provides ‘intelligent Wi-Fi’, automatically switching between the router’s different signals to give the best available speed to your devices. You can also download the free Virgin Media Connect app and link it to your Hub 3 to check how well your Wi-Fi is working. When you’re away from home, you can use the app to get free Wi-Fi via millions of Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots. If you go for Virgin’s Gig1 package, currently only available in a few UK towns and cities, you’ll get the next-generation Hub 4 router.
Is a Virgin Media broadband package the right choice for you? We’ve pulled together an overview of what Virgin offers to help you make an informed decision.
Virgin offers fibre broadband deals only. It delivers these through a combination of fibre-optic and cable technology on its own network, which currently covers around 60% of households in the UK.
If yours is one of the 60%, this means you can get much greater speeds with Virgin than with most other providers, who use the UK’s Openreach network. For example, the fastest widely available package from Virgin Media is five times quicker than the fastest fibre deals you can get from BT and Sky. If you’d like to know more about how this works, check out our cable broadband guide.
You’ll get unlimited downloads with any Virgin broadband package, so you won’t get any nasty surprises on your bill, no matter how much you use your home internet. Virgin Media does use traffic management to limit the speed on some activities at peak times, but most customers will barely notice this as Virgin broadband generally operates at pretty fast speeds anyway.
The standard set-up fee is £35 on an 18-month Virgin broadband contract, with a higher fee if you opt for the flexibility of a 30-day rolling contract (also known as no-contract broadband). If you opt for an 18-month contract, your bill will increase to out-of-contract prices after the 18 months is up, so make sure you stay on top of timings if you’re keen to search out a new deal to avoid a price hike.
Your monthly cost will be more if you choose the rolling 30-day contract, but it means you’ll avoid any early cancellation fees. This could end up saving you money if you want to go with Virgin but can’t commit to a year’s contract, for example if you might be moving to an area that isn’t covered by Virgin.
These are Virgin’s fibre broadband packages:
With an average download speed of 54Mbps, Virgin Media’s entry-level package is almost as quick as many other providers’ top fibre speeds. Virgin Media M50 Fibre Broadband also includes landline phone rental and weekend calls.
Virgin Media M100 Fibre Broadband gives average download speeds of 108Mbps. This would be a good choice for busy households with five to nine devices, according to Virgin. It includes line rental and weekend calls.
Houses with 10 or more devices to connect to their internet might want to look at Virgin Media M200 Fibre Broadband. This package averages 213Mbps download speeds. It also includes line rental and weekend calls.
Virgin Media M500 Fibre Broadband boasts an average speed of 516Mbps, which is much faster than BT and Sky’s fastest fibre deals and makes it the fastest widely available broadband you can currently get in the UK. As with Virgin’s other fibre packages, you’ll get line rental and weekend calls included. Virgin Media will soon upgrade this package to 600Mbps speeds.
If you’re really keen to future-proof your home broadband with a supercharged speed averaging 1Gbps, Virgin Media Gig1 Fibre Broadband is now available in a few cities and towns in the UK.
If you’re looking for business broadband, you can get download speeds of up to 350Mbps or 500Mbps with Virgin Media’s business packages. Virgin will also help you customise your package to suit the needs of your business with extra hardware such as phone lines and mobile handsets.
Check our Virgin Media provider’s page to find out which of the latest Virgin broadband packages are available in your area.
When you sign up to any Virgin Media broadband deal you’ll have access to its two security software packages, WebSafe and F-Secure SAFE, absolutely free.
Once you switch on WebSafe, it will stop anyone on your home internet from accessing any content it deems to be unsuitable for children. It will do the same for anything it considers fraudulent or that may contain viruses. It’s easy to switch on this feature via your router settings.
You’ll get the virus protection software F-Secure SAFE with your Virgin broadband package. You can install it on up to five devices, including smartphones and tablets.
You can choose broadband only when you sign up to Virgin Media, but not having a phone line won’t actually save you any money. If you have all the call time you’ll ever need on your mobile then you can join the growing number of UK households who choose not to use their landline.
Your Virgin Media package will include line rental and weekend calls to UK landlines, Virgin Mobile numbers and 0870 numbers anyway, though. For those who enjoy using their landline, Virgin Media offers a range of extra packages that can be bundled in to give you inclusive calls.
Whatever your viewing habits you should find something to suit you with Virgin Media, as long as you’re not hooked on Sky Atlantic, as that’s pretty much the only channel you won’t get with Virgin that you can get with Sky.
You can choose from the following range of different TV packages and bundle in extras such as Sky Sports, BT Sport and Sky Movies, for the ultimate home entertainment deal:
Big (114 channels)
Big + Drama (147 channels)
Bigger (222 channels)
Bigger + movies (245 channels)
Ultimate Oomph (261 channels)
You’ll get the free Virgin V6 set-top box, no matter which Virgin TV package you choose. This lets you record and pause live TV and you can also watch Netflix and Amazon Prime through the V6, if you have subscriptions to these services. You can also watch 4K Ultra HD shows via the V6 if you have a 4K Ultra HD compatible TV.
Virgin Mobile operates on the EE network, which has great 4G coverage. When you sign up to Virgin Media broadband or TV you can get exclusive Virgin Mobile deals, which are certainly worth a look if you’re not already tied into a long contract with another mobile provider. You can roll over any unused data to the next month with all Virgin Mobile pay monthly or SIM-only contracts.
In the most recent Ofcom Comparing Service Quality report, Virgin Media’s volume of broadband, pay TV, landline and mobile complaints were all above the industry average, although to be fair it’s a close call with some of the other providers so Virgin is by no means bottom of the pile when it comes to customer service.
Just as with most broadband providers, you can contact Virgin Media’s customer service team via phone or live web chat. There are also many FAQs and articles on its website that may answer your queries without needing to contact anyone, and an active online community of more than half a million members ready and willing to share their experience.
You won’t get 24/7 support from a Virgin Media customer support agent, but you can access live web chat from 7am to 11pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm at weekends. Its phone lines are open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.