Community Fibre vs Virgin Media

Last updated: 16 February 2023   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Community Fibre offers better value for money than Virgin Media, with cheaper prices for new and existing customers.

Community Fibre offer cheaper prices across all equivalent packages in comparison to Virgin Media, and they also boast symmetrical upload speeds and a more reliable fibre to the home network.

Virgin Media, on the other hand, are a better pick for customers who want to bundle broadband with a premium TV service. They're also available outside of the capital, with a footprint of over 16 million homes.

Overall, while both providers are great choices in their own right, for lucky Londoners, Community Fibre offer the best value for money and a likely faster connection.

community fibre

At a glance

Community Fibre Virgin Media
Price from £17.99 £28
Superfast broadband 50Mb, 75Mb, 150Mb 54Mb, 132Mb, 264Mb
Ultrafast broadband 300Mb 362Mb, 516Mb
Gigafast broadband 920Mb, 3000Mb 1130Mb
Anytime UK calls £10 (inc UK mobiles) £10 (inc UK mobiles)
TV content Netgem TV: Up to 215 channels, Freeview, Entertainment, BT Sport, Prime Video Up to 245 channels, Freeview, Entertainment, Sky Cinema, Sky Sports, BT Sport, Kids, Disney+, Netflix
Customer satisfaction - 78%
Customer complaints - 23%
Trustscore 4.9 out of 5, from 24,000 reviews 2.0 out of 5, from 74,000 reviews
Minimum term 12 or 24 months 18 or 24 months
Community Fibre Virgin Media
Pros Pros Cheapest prices Fastest average download speed
Symmetrical upload speeds Comprehensive TV service with Sky and Netflix
Full fibre to the home Faster whole home WiFi guarantee
Excellent customer service record Greater availability
Cons Cons Limited availability More expensive
International calls not supported Slow upload speeds
TV service is limited Customer service issues

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
150Mb Fibre Broadband 150Mb average £18.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Installed in 48 hours + Free setup
Big Volt bundle 264Mb average £37.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with 10GB data, unlimited minutes and texts

Verdict: Who is best for...

Community Fibre Virgin Media
Price Community Fibre wins
Speed Tie Tie
Router Community Fibre wins
WiFi guarantee Virgin Media wins
Home phone Community Fibre wins
TV bundles Virgin Media wins
Customer service Community Fibre wins
Overall Community Fibre wins

Price

Winner: Community Fibre are noticeably cheaper than Virgin Media across all equivalent broadband speeds, and when you include home phone too.

People living in London looking for the cheapest broadband will find it hard to beat Community Fibre for price, especially when you consider they also offer full fibre to the home broadband on their network.

We're particularly impressed with Community Fibre's move to out of contract prices that are just £2 above the introductory offer. This is a big win for customers who don't want to have to switch or recontract when their minimum term is up.

In comparison to Virgin Media, whose out of contract prices are much higher, Community Fibre do seem committed to being London's best value broadband provider.

In addition, for anyone struggling with the cost of living crisis and find it hard to afford broadband at all, Community Fibre offer a social broadband tariff costing just £12.50 per month to anyone who needs it.

Conversely, while Virgin Media have two social tariffs these are restricted to people in receipt of Universal Credit.

Check the latest prices on our broadband comparison page where it's easy to filter packages from just Community Fibre and Virgin Media to compare their deals side-by-side.


Broadband deals

Winner: Community Fibre offer cheaper broadband plans than Virgin Media. They also have arguably faster speeds with symmetrical uploads.

Community Fibre and Virgin Media both offer a range of broadband deals covering superfast, ultrafast and gigafast download speeds.

Community Fibre have a greater range of lower speed packages for those on a budget, yet their current 150Mb Fibre Broadband plan is their cheapest deal coming in at just £17.99 per month on special offer.

Virgin Media's current cheapest plan is also on their equivalent M125 fibre broadband package, with a half price offer for the first six months of the contract.

Here is the latest pricing for each provider's cheapest broadband deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
150Mb Fibre Broadband 150Mb average £18.99 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Installed in 48 hours + Free setup
M125 Fibre Broadband 132Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + No setup fee (was £35)

While Virgin Media have a strong special offer running, Community Fibre is still cheaper overall with their cut price £17.99 deal.

Both providers are currently offering 24-month contracts on these broadband-only plans, and the upfront cost of setup is also free with either Virgin Media or Community Fibre.

These broadband deals both come without a phone line, yet if people want to add one it would cost £4 more per month with Virgin Media including free UK landline calls at the weekend (and losing the half price for six months offer), or £10 more per month with Community Fibre, which includes unlimited UK calls.

So even as a broadband and phone bundle, Community Fibre are still offering the cheaper pricing overall.

Read more about Community Fibre broadband in our review, or get the low-down on Virgin Media broadband here.

Ultrafast broadband

Community Fibre and Virgin Media both offer a choice of ultrafast broadband plans for customers who want a faster download speed.

Virgin Media offer more choice with both their M350 and M500 packages, while Community Fibre offers a 300Mb Fibre Broadband plan.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
[package_only] [speed] [totalcost+offer] [upfrontcost] [contract]
M350 Fibre Broadband 362Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £35 per month + No setup fee (was £35)
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + No setup fee (was £35)

While Virgin Media's half price offer does bring the price down, Community Fibre's 300Mb plan is considerably cheaper, despite the small upfront fee.

In addition, it's worth noting for those who want faster broadband, Community Fibre offer symmetrical upload and download speeds, while Virgin Media do not.

The upload speed on Community Fibre's 300Mb Fibre Broadband plan then is 300Mb. While the upload speed on Virgin Media's M350 and M500 packages is just 36Mb.

Gigafast broadband

For those who want the fastest broadband they can get, Community Fibre and Virgin Media both offer a gigabit-capable plan to all homes on their network.

Here is the latest pricing for their gigabit deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
1Gbps Fibre Broadband 920Mb average £26 Free 24 months
offer Offer: Installed in 48 hours + Free setup
Gig1 Fibre Broadband 1.13Gb average £41 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £41 per month + No setup fee (was £35)

Virgin Media offer the fastest widely available average download speed in the UK with their Gig1 plan, which delivers speeds of 1,130Mb at peak times to at least 50% of their customers.

Yet even this plan has only asymmetrical uploads, with an average upload speed of just 52Mb.

While Community Fibre's 920Mb Fibre Broadband plan has a slower average download speed, it also boasts 920Mb upload speeds as well. This can make a difference to people who use the Internet for home working with project sharing, video calls, online gaming, and any other activity where data is being sent to the Internet as well as retrieved.

Overall, while Virgin Media definitely have some strings to their bow, Community Fibre offer cheaper broadband plans with often faster speeds.

Find out what broadband speed you need in this guide.


TV

Winner: Virgin Media is a clear winner for those wanting TV over Community Fibre, offering a comprehensive premium TV service with access to Sky content.

Community Fibre have partnered with Netgem TV to offer a basic TV service that customers can bundle with their broadband package for an extra £10 per month.

For this, customers get:

  • Over 215 live channels including Freeview
  • Over 40 apps, including BT Sport ultimate, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Youtube
  • Premier Sports channels (worth £12.99 per month)
  • 100,000 hours of on-demand content
  • Free 4K Netgem TV box (worth £149)
  • Record and pause live TV with the Netgem set-top box

In comparison to Virgin Media's TV service however, it's restrictive. It lacks the ability to add premium content from Sky, such as Sky Sports or Sky Cinema, and the channels that are included are fairly obscure, for example even under documentaries there's no sign of National Geographic or Discovery.

Overall then, Community Fibre TV is a great option as a recordable set-top box with access to some apps like Prime Video and BT Sport, but most people will be disappointed by the lack of big names such as Netflix and Sky's premium channels.

Virgin Media is the clear winner where TV and broadband bundles are concerned. Read more about Virgin Media TV and their newer streaming service Stream.


Broadband speed

Winner: Community Fibre and Virgin Media tie for the best broadband speed. Virgin Media have faster average download speeds, yet Community Fibre offers symmetrical upload speeds.

Community Fibre and Virgin Media both offer gigabit-capable broadband speeds across their entire network.

Yet while Community Fibre delivers their broadband using fibre to the home technology, the majority of Virgin Media's network uses coaxial cable to connect a customer's home.

There are some notable differences between Community Fibre and Virgin Media when it comes to broadband speed, yet they each have different strengths, so we've drawn a tie.

The main differences between the providers are:

  • Virgin Media have a faster average download speed of 1.13Gb at peak times on their gigabit package, compared to Community Fibre's 920Mb average speed.
  • Community Fibre offer symmetrical upload speeds, while Virgin Media's upload speeds are much slower.
  • Community Fibre offer the overall fastest speed at 3Gb - however at nearly £100 per month, this deal is won't be suitable for most customers.

Community Fibre offer the following download speed choices:

50Mb, 75Mb, 150Mb, 300Mb, 920Mb, 3Gb.

While Virgin Media offer customers the choice of:

54Mb, 132Mb, 264Mb, 362Mb, 516Mb, 1.13Gb.

Virgin Media also recently boosted their M100 and M200 plans to M125 and M250, increasing both the average download and upload speeds of the plans. This was rolled out to both new and existing customers.

Upload speeds

Due to the full fibre technology Community Fibre uses they are able to offer symmetrical upload speeds that are as fast as their headline download speeds.

In contrast, because Virgin Media's network uses some coaxial cabling and is a slightly older technology due to their network having been around a lot longer, Virgin Media's upload speeds are much slower than their download speeds.

Here are Community Fibre and Virgin Media's upload speeds side-by-side:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Community Fibre 50Mb 50Mb
Virgin Media 54Mb 5Mb
Virgin Media 132Mb 20Mb
Community Fibre 150Mb 150Mb
Virgin Media 264Mb 25Mb
Community Fibre 300Mb 300Mb
Virgin Media 362Mb 36Mb
Virgin Media 516Mb 36Mb
Community Fibre 920Mb 920Mb
Virgin Media 1.13Gb 52Mb

Most users won't really notice slower upload speeds, as they only affect traffic sent from a user back to the Internet, like uploading files, while most Internet use is receiving traffic - such as streaming video or browsing the web.

Where upload speeds may be noticed however is perhaps by people working from home who may need to upload large projects to a shared server, or serious gamers who want the quickest response times for their inputs.

3Gb broadband

Community Fibre do offer a faster broadband service than Virgin Media with their 3Gb deal, although this isn't available to all of the homes on their network.

Virgin Media have also been known to trial 2Gb broadband on their network, so faster speeds are possible for Virgin too, although they may not become commercially available for a while yet.

It's worth noting that Community Fibre's 3Gb deal is four times more expensive than their 1Gb package at £99 per month, making it both unnecessary in terms of price as well as speed for most people.

So, while even faster broadband is on the table, we don't think it really benefits customers enough to make Community Fibre a better choice than Virgin Media for fastest speeds.


Wireless routers

Winner: Community Fibre offer a more advanced router with the Linksys Velop range than Virgin Media's branded hubs.

Community Fibre offer one of three different routers to customers depending on the broadband speed they choose.

However, all customers receive an advance Linksys or Zyxel mesh router, that's either dual band or tri band for the faster packages.

Virgin Media customers will receive either the Hub 3 or 4, and Gig1 customers get Virgin's latest Hub 5 router which supports WiFi 6.

Here are the main routers for each provider:

Community Fibre Virgin Media
50Mb - 75Mb Linksys Velop Dual Band WiFi 5 Hub 3 or 4 (Dual Band, WiFi 5)
150Mb - 500Mb Linksys Velop Tri Band WiFi 5 As above
1Gb Linksys Velop Tri Band WiFi 6 Hub 5 (Dual Band, WiFi 6)
3Gb Technicolor Dual Band WiFi 6 (with 10Gb LAN) -

Like Community Fibre, all of Virgin Media's Hubs support intelligent mesh wi-fi which helps to boost signal around a home and can be seamlessly extended with additional mesh devices.

For gigabit broadband, here are the specifications of Community Fibre and Virgin Media's top of the range routers:

Community Fibre Linksys Velop Tri-band WiFi 6 Virgin Media Hub 5
WiFi Protocol 6 6
WiFi Bands Tri Dual
Intelligent Mesh Yes Yes
2.4GHz WiFi Band Yes 3x3 MiMo
5GHz WiFi Band 4x4 MiMo 4x4 MiMo
5GHz WiFi Band 4x4 MiMo -
Ethernet 4 x 1Gb 1 x 2.5Gbps, 3 x 1Gbps

As you can see, even against the Hub 5, the Linksys Velop provided by Community Fibre is likely to be both faster and offer increased coverage thanks to the additional 5GHz channel.

We've also heard of Virgin Media customers who struggle with WiFi coverage, even with the latest Hub 5, and so plenty of Virgin customers choose to use their Hub in modem only mode, and then use an independently purchased router for the best WiFi coverage.

While Virgin Media's Hub 5 was crowned best broadband router, Community Fibre's latest Linksys Velop WiFi 6 is a more advanced router with better customer reviews.


Whole home WiFi guarantee

Winner: Virgin Media's WiFi Max guarantee is cheaper and guarantees a faster wireless download speed than Community Fibre's WiFi in Every Room service.

Community Fibre and Virgin Media both offer a whole home WiFi guarantee that promises a minimum wireless download speed in every room in a customer's home, or their money back.

The WiFi guarantees utilise the mesh technology in their routers to seamlessly extend the WiFi signal by installing extra pods or extenders in rooms furthest from the main router.

These guarantees cost £8 per month with Virgin Media, or £10 per month with Community Fibre, but if they fail to achieve a minimum speed in every room in a home, they promise to refund a customer's money back.

Here are the details of each providers' WiFi guarantee side-by-side:

Community Fibre Virgin Media
Monthly price £10 £8 (free with Gig1 & Volt)
Guaranteed speed 10Mb 20Mb
Money-back offer 3 months bill £100 bill credit

Virgin Media's WiFi Max service is the better wireless guarantee, and it's also for free for Gig1 Broadband and Volt bundles, including the top-tier Ultimate Volt Bundle.


Home phone

Winner: Community Fibre charge more for a home phone, but it includes unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles, and the overall price is still cheaper than Virgin Media broadband and phone.

Virgin Media offer a more traditional approach to home phone plans, and include weekend calls to UK landlines as standard.

Virgin Media home phone prices look cheaper at first glances, because their additional cost is lower per month, yet because their broadband is more expensive to begin with, Community Fibre are still cheaper overall.

In addition, while Community Fibre charge customers an extra £10 per month for a home phone line, they include free unlimited calls at any time to both UK landlines and mobiles.

Here are their home phone add-ons side-by-side:

Community Fibre Virgin Media
Weekend calls - Included
Evening & weekend calls - £5 (inc. UK mobiles)
Anytime calls £10 (inc. UK mobiles) £10 (inc. UK mobiles)

Community Fibre's digital voice line is atypical in that it's not possible for customers to dial premium or international calls, although users can receive calls from overseas.

On the plus side, it includes an app that allows customers to make free UK landline and mobile calls from their mobile, even when they're abroad.

For people who want free anytime calls it does work out cheaper to go with Community Fibre, however their restrictions on international calls and lack of call plan options may be off-putting for some customers.


Customer service

Winner: Community Fibre have better reviews on Trustpilot, yet Virgin Media are covered by independent Ofcom reports.

Community Fibre aren't large enough to be covered by Ofcom's customer satisfaction or complaints research, so we don't have any official data to directly compare them against Virgin Media for service.

However, they are the best performing internet service provider on Trustpilot, with an Excellent Trustscore rating of 4.9 out of 5 from over 24,900 customer reviews.

Community Fibre do solicit reviews on their Trustpilot page and try to respond to each one directly. As we'd expect, there are some negative experiences out there, but the overwhelming majority are positive, with 96% of reviewers rating them Excellent.

Community Fibre were also awarded Best Consumer ISP in the 2022, 2021 and 2020 Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) Awards.

Virgin Media, on the other hand, have a Poor rating of just 2 out of 5 on Trustpilot from over 74,000 reviews. 62% of their reviews are Bad compared to just 10% Excellent and 6% Great.

We also have Ofcom information for Virgin Media showing their customer satisfaction levels and complaint statistics from May 2022:

Virgin Media Industry average
Satisfaction with overall service 78% 83%
Satisfaction with speed of service 79% 80%
Customers with a reason to complain 23% 20%
Overall satisfaction with complaints handling 45% 50%
Complaints per 100,000 customers 78 49
Complaints resolved on first contact 31% 37%
Average call waiting time 3 minutes, 45 seconds 2 minutes, 16 seconds

Virgin Media had above average complaints for their broadband and TV service in Ofcom's latest complaints data, yet they have shown improvement after a peak of complaints in early 2021.

Yet, the May 2022 Comparing Customer Service report shows Virgin Media scoring less than the industry average across all service quality and complaint metrics, which isn't ideal.

While we don't have details of call wait times for Community Fibre, their broadband call centres are wholly UK-based, while Virgin Media still outsource some of their call handling abroad.

All in all, Community Fibre's ability to maintain a near perfect record on Trustpilot makes them a clear winner over Virgin Media for customer service.


Availability in London

Winner: Virgin Media has a greater presence in London than Community Fibre, and is also available outside of the capital.

Community Fibre covers around 720,000 premises across London, while Virgin Media covers around 2.29 million homes across the city.

Community Fibre are available in 32 London boroughs, with plans to expand into the remaining borough of Havering soon. Both providers are continuing to expand their networks, and Community Fibre are committed to reaching 2.2 million homes and businesses by the end of 2024.

As you can see from the map below however, Virgin Media are the clear winner for availability in London:

community fibre vs virgin media coverage london

While Virgin Media has much more extensive coverage across the capital, they don't reach into every street by any means and there will be areas where Community Fibre is available when Virgin Media isn't.

As an example, here's a zoomed-in snapshot of current coverage around Streatham:

community fibre vs virgin media coverage streatham

While there is plenty of Virgin Media coverage around, there are areas where Community Fibre have a presence instead. There are also some overlapping areas.

The reality for Londoners is that they are far more likely to have access to a Virgin Media broadband connection, but Community Fibre are expanding quickly.

Community Fibre's 2024 target of 2.2 million premises is the same as Virgin's current footprint in London. It's also possible that Community Fibre will expand into more areas where Virgin Media is unavailable.

Read more about the best broadband in London.

Outside of London, it's only possible to get Virgin Media, where their network covers almost 16 million premises across the UK.


Special offers

Community Fibre and Virgin Media frequently advertise special offers to customers to make their broadband deals even more enticing.

Here are their current special offers available via Choose:

Offer Terms

1Gbps Community Fibre broadband just £26 per month for 24 months.

24 month minimum term. No setup fee. £30/mth after 24 months. Prices rise by CPI + 2.9% from April 2025.


150Mb Community Fibre broadband just £18.99 per month for 24 months.

24 month minimum term. No setup fee. £22.99/mth after 24 months. Prices rise by CPI + 2.9% from April 2025.

Offer Terms

£250 bill credit or a LG 43 inch TV with selected Virgin TV bundles.

Hurry! Offer ends tomorrow!
27 May 2024

18 month minimum term. No setup fee. Prices vary depending on package chosen. Price will increase each year from April 2025 by the RPI rate of inflation announced in February each year plus 3.9%.


Virgin Media Volt M250 broadband & Phone, just £33.99/mth for 18 months

Hurry! Offer ends in 5 days!
31 May 2024

18 month minimum term. No setup fee. £70/mth after 18 months. Price will increase each year from April 2025 by the RPI rate of inflation announced in February each year plus 3.9%.


Verdict: Virgin Media vs Community Fibre?

Overall winner: Community Fibre are our top pick over Virgin Media, because they offer cheaper broadband deals, symmetrical upload speeds, and have an untarnished customer service record.

Community Fibre's prices are less than most other providers in the market, making them hard to beat for sheer value for money.

Their 920Mb broadband deal is considerably cheaper than Virgin Media's Gig1 package, making them a clear winner in terms of pricing for the fastest broadband too.

Another point on the scoresheet for Community Fibre is their out of contract prices are now just £2 more per month than the introductory price. This is notable compared to Virgin Media, whose out of contract prices are much higher.

This low out of contract pricing means Community Fibre are offering real value for money for both new and existing customers, and are overall more affordable than Virgin Media.

What we like most about Community Fibre:

  • Competitive pricing across all deals
  • Low out of contract pricing
  • Excellent customer service reputation
  • Advanced Linksys routers

What we like most about Virgin Media:

  • More comprehensive TV service with access to Netflix and Sky
  • Faster whole home WiFi guarantee
  • Faster average download speeds at peak times for gigabit broadband
  • Standard home phone plans and features

Yet where Virgin Media really have the edge over Community Fibre is availability. As good as Community Fibre is, their broadband is still only available to a minority of Londoners, so many of those who might like to try the service may find it's not yet available to them.

If a customer is lucky enough to be living in an area with a choice of either Virgin Media or Community Fibre, our first choice would be Community Fibre, unless a customer also wants to bundle TV, in which case Virgin Media become the better choice.

Read more head-to-head guides about Community Fibre vs BT and Virgin Media vs Sky.

Comments

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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