Virgin Media offers cable broadband in the UK with plans including M500 and Gig1Fibre broadband.
In the UK, Virgin Media offers a high-speed home broadband service, with download speeds of 1,104Mbps on Gig1Fibre (or up to 516Mbps on the M500 plan for customers not living in a Gig1-enabled area). Virgin’s broadband service is available in around 15 million homes which are connected to the Virgin Media cable-based network.
In this article, we’ll review Virgin Media’s broadband service, including all of their fibre broadband plans and their new gigabit fibre service. We’ll also look at Virgin’s Oomph bundles, their TV service and the routers and hubs they supply.
Plans & Pricing
Fibre Broadband Plans
On Virgin Media, most people will be able to choose from the following home broadband plans with average download speeds between 54Mbps and 516Mbps:
- M50 Fibre has an average download speed of 54Mbps and an average upload speed of 5Mbps.
- M100 Fibre has an average download speed of 108Mbps and an average upload speed of 10Mbps.
- M200 Fibre has an average download speed of 213Mbps and an average upload speed of 20Mbps.
- M350 Fibre has an average download speed of 362Mbps and an average upload speed of 36Mbps.
- M500 Fibre has an average download speed of 516Mbps and an average upload speed of 36Mbps.
The price you’ll pay for your internet connection depends on the plan and download speeds you choose. For instance, the entry-level M50 plan is available from just £28/month. This increases to £52/month for the fastest M500 plan:
|Service||Average Speed||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|54Mbps download||18 month contract||£35||£28/month|
|108Mbps download||18 month contract||£35||£34/month|
|213Mbps download||18 month contract||£35||£40/month|
|516Mbps download||18 month contract||£35||£52/month|
You’ll get the Virgin Media Hub 3 router when you take any of these broadband plans from Virgin.
The M500 plan was introduced in June 2020 and replaces the older M350 plan that used to be offered by Virgin. Nowadays, the M350 package is still available but only as part of a speed boost when taking an Oomph bundle. Alternatively, if you want the extra flexibility, you can also take the M350 plan on a 30-day rolling contract.
Although the Virgin Media service is advertised as “fibre broadband”, it’s important to note that it’s actually a cable broadband service, using fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology. It uses a fibre optic connection to your nearest Virgin Media street cabinet with a co-axial (coax) cable running between the cabinet and your home. Compared to the copper phone lines used by other broadband internet providers, it has a thicker copper core with more insulation so can handle faster broadband speeds. In comparison, full fibre services like Hyperoptic, Vodafone Gigafast and BT Full Fibre use a fibre optic connection all the way into your home.
If you’re connected to the Virgin Media network around five major cities (Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Reading and Southampton), you’ll have access to Virgin Media’s gigabit-capable service called Gig1 Fibre Broadband. It offers average download speeds of 1,104Mbps (more than twice the speed of M500 Fibre). You’ll also get average upload speeds of 52Mbps on the service.
Virgin’s Gig1 service is currently available from £62/month:
|Service||Average Speed||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|1104Mbps download||18 month contract||£35||£62/month|
Customers signing up to the Gig1 service will receive Virgin Media’s new Hub 4 router. The service is powered by DOCSIS 3.1 technology (whereas Virgin Media’s older plans use DOCSIS 3.0 technology).
At present, around 2 million homes are covered by the Gig1 service. Virgin is currently aiming to roll out Gig1 broadband to all of the 15 million homes on their network by the end of 2021.
For more information, see our full review of Virgin’s Gig1 fibre broadband.
You can upgrade to one of Virgin Media’s Oomph bundles if you’d like a SIM card for your mobile phone along with your home broadband service.
You’ll get a SIM card from Virgin Mobile included in your Oomph plan. This gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of data (either 2GB per month, 5GB per month or unlimited data depending on your plan). Virgin Mobile currently offers 4G coverage from EE. However, this is expected to change to O2 sometime during 2021.
Oomph bundles also come with a broadband speed boost (e.g. you’ll get M100 instead of M50 on the equivalent plan). There’s also a promise to keep you connected with unlimited mobile data should your broadband service go down.
Virgin Media TV
At the same time as taking your home broadband service, you can also take a TV package from Virgin Media. You’ll get a Virgin TV V6 set-top box and up to 261 channels, dependent on your plan. Channels available on Virgin include the BT Sport and Sky Sports channels as well as Sky One, Sky Cinema, Fox, MTV and Cartoon Network.
With Virgin Media TV, you’ll also get access to the Virgin TV Go app. This allows you to watch live television channels on-the-go using your mobile phone wherever you are.
For more information, see the official Virgin Media TV website.
At present, Virgin Media isn’t a major player in the mobile broadband space. They currently have a 4G mobile broadband product from £8/month with data allowances between 3GB and 15GB per month. However, this isn’t hugely competitive against other networks, with other providers offering larger data allowances at a much lower price point.
On Virgin’s mobile broadband service, customers will get 99% population coverage from the EE network through a pocket-sized Huawei E5573BS portable hotspot. This is able to deliver a mobile broadband service on up to 10 connected devices at one time.
In May 2020, Virgin Media agreed to merge with O2. This merger is set to complete around the middle of 2021, subject to approval from competition authorities. Once the merger has taken place, we think it’s likely they’ll aim to relaunch their mobile broadband service.
Virgin Media Routers & Hubs
Most customers signing up to Virgin Media broadband will receive the Hub 3 router (model number VMDG505 or TG2492LG-VM). This is provided at no cost when you sign up to the M50, M100, M200, M350 and M500 plans.
In general, it’s a fairly basic router, but it does the job in keeping your devices connected. The Hub 3 supports Wi-Fi 5 technology (802.11ac) with dual-band Wi-Fi and automatic band steering technology (it automatically chooses either 2.4GHz or 5GHz for each device depending on which one performs best). It can also choose the quietest available Wi-Fi channel for you and can be controlled remotely through the Virgin Media app.
The Hub 3 also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets, allowing you to connect wired devices to your home network.
For more information about the Hub 3, please see the Virgin Media website.
If you sign up for Virgin’s Gig1 service, you’ll receive the new Hub 4 router (model number TG3492LG-VMB). This supports Wi-Fi 5 technology (802.11ac) with 3×3 MIMO at 2.4GHz and 4×4 MIMO at 5GHz. It also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets available for connecting wired devices to your network.
The Virgin Media website has more information about the Hub 4 router, how it is set up and the optional Wi-Fi boosters you’re able to get with it.
Virgin Media Download Speeds
On Virgin Media, most customers will be able to access a range of download speeds between 54Mbps (on M50 Broadband) and 516Mbps (on M500 broadband). Virgin’s M500 plan is about seven times faster than the fibre broadband service on other ISPs like BT and Sky.
For customers living in 2 million homes around Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Reading and Southampton, it will be possible to get even faster speeds with Gig1 Fibre. This offers average download speeds of 1,104Mbps (about 16 times faster than rival fibre broadband services).
The following table shows the average download speed and upload speed you can expect when using Virgin Media broadband:
|Virgin Media Plan||Average Download Speed||Average Upload Speed|
(27Mbps minimum guaranteed)
(54Mbps minimum guaranteed)
(107Mbps minimum guaranteed)
(181Mbps minimum guaranteed)
(258Mbps minimum guaranteed)
|Gig1 Fibre Broadband||1,104Mbps
(552Mbps minimum guaranteed)
Compared to most other internet providers, Virgin Media tends to offer faster speeds on their home broadband service. If you’re using a rival ISP such as BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk or Vodafone, the chances are it’ll be using the BT Openreach network. A fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection through the BT Openreach network will normally give you average download speeds of 67Mbps.
According to Virgin Media, they don’t use any traffic management on their network. For this reason, you won’t see your speeds being reduced for using too much data or when using certain applications such as P2P file sharing.
All of the cable broadband plans currently offered by Virgin allow you to download as much as you like, without any limits. There are no fair usage policies and you won’t see your speeds being reduced for using too much data.
If you choose Virgin Media’s mobile broadband service, there are a choice of three price plans with differing amounts of data. The entry-level plan comes with 3GB of data per month. This increases to 6GB per month and 15GB per month on the more expensive plans.
In the UK, Virgin Media’s broadband service is available around 15 million homes. You’ll need to be living on a street that’s been cabled and linked to the Virgin Media network, with a small amount of digging sometimes being required the bring the network into your home.
To check whether Virgin Media is available at your address, enter your postcode on their website:
Access to gigabit-speed broadband through the Gig1 Fibre package is currently available in around 2 million homes across Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Reading and Southampton. You can check on the Gig1 fibre webpage to see whether it’s available where you live.
Frequently Asked Questions
|What broadband plans and speeds are available on Virgin Media?||
Virgin Media currently offers a choice of six home broadband plans with different download speeds:
|What are Oomph bundles?||
In addition to your broadband and home phone service, Oomph bundles also include a Virgin Mobile SIM card for your mobile phone. The SIM card comes with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and either 2GB, 5GB or unlimited data. Virgin Mobile offers 4G coverage from EE.
In addition to a Virgin Mobile SIM card, you’ll also get a broadband speed boost to the next fastest plan and a promise to keep you connected with unlimited mobile data should your broadband service go down.
|What router will I get with Virgin Media broadband?||
The vast majority of customers signing up to Virgin Media will receive the Hub 3 router. This supports Virgin Media’s Intelligent Wi-Fi feature with Wi-Fi 5 technology (802.11ac), automatic band steering and automatic channel selection.
Customers signing up to Virgin’s Gig1Fibre service will receive the newer Hub 4 router instead. This supports newer DOCSIS 3.1 technology which allows the service to deliver gigabit download speeds.
|Are there any download limits on Virgin Media?||
No. There are no download limits on Virgin Media’s home broadband service, nor is traffic management used to reduce your download speeds for using too much data or for using services like P2P sharing.
|Does Virgin Media offer full fibre broadband?||
In most areas, Virgin Media offers cable broadband. A fibre optic connection runs to your nearest street cabinet, with a co-axial cable running from the cabinet to your home. This technology is known as Hybrid Fibre Coax (or HFC for short).
In some areas, Virgin Media has started to roll out a full fibre network as part of their Project Lightning network expansion works.
|Can I get Virgin Media broadband at my address?||
To see whether Virgin Media is available where you live, enter your postcode on their website. This will also show you the broadband plans available in your area.
For more information, please see the official Virgin Media website.