Virgin Media M500 Fibre Broadband

Last updated: 7 March 2024   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Virgin Media M500 is the provider's second fastest plan, with average download speeds of 516Mb per second.

M500 from Virgin Media offers value for money ultrafast broadband, with wide availability across their network of 16.1 million premises.

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Virgin Media M500 fibre broadband offers average download speeds of 516Mbps, coupled with recently boosted average upload speeds of 52Mb per second.

It's the provider's second fastest broadband plan and offers value for money with the ability to bundle calls, as well as Virgin TV, and O2 mobile.

M500 broadband is available to all homes on the Virgin Media network, which currently passes 57% of homes in the UK.

virgin media hub 4

At a glance

Price £33
Setup cost Free (usually £35)
Minimum term 18 months
Out of contract price £72 after 18 months
Annual price increase RPI + 3.9% from April 2025
Download speed 516Mbps
Upload speed 52Mbps
Usage allowance Unlimited
Router Hub 3 or Hub 4
WiFi guarantee 30Mbps for £8/mth
Parental controls Virgin Media Web Safe
Home phone Optional
Anytime calls £10/mth (inc. UK mobiles)
TV Optional: TV 360 or Stream
Pros Cons
Recently boosted upload speeds Home phone is expensive without Volt
Good availability across whole network WiFi Max guarantee only free with Volt
Volt discounts offer good value for money Router becoming a little dated

Special offers

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + No setup fee (was £35) (Ends 30/04/2024)
M500 Volt Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 516Mb average £43.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with 6GB data, unlimited minutes and texts

Who is M500 fibre broadband best for?

Virgin Media M500 is best for larger households with heavy Internet demands, who want some of the fastest broadband in the UK.

As Virgin's second fastest broadband tier, this plan will easily support households where multiple people and devices are all going online at the same time.

Virgin Media M500 is great for:

  • Larger households, with multiple occupants and devices connecting at the same time
  • Customers who want to stream Ultra HD 4K and download large files like Xbox games without waiting
  • People who work from home and need reliable, fast broadband

M500 will be more than adequate for most people, however it's worth pointing out, Virgin Media's top tier Gig1 plan is twice as fast and currently only £6 more per month, and also bundles WiFi Max for free and includes the faster Hub 5 router, so customers may want to consider the upgrade.

Compare Virgin Media broadband prices.


What does Virgin Media M500 offer?

Virgin Media M500 broadband offers average download speeds of 516Mb per second, making it one of the provider's fastest packages.

M500 has also recently seen a speed boost for uploads, with the average upload speed of the plan increased from 36Mb to 52Mb per second for new and existing customers.

Here are the latest prices for M500:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + No setup fee (was £35) (Ends 30/04/2024)
M500 Volt Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 516Mb average £43.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with 6GB data, unlimited minutes and texts
M500 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 516Mb average £52 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)

M500 can be taken with or without a home phone line and weekend calls, with the broadband-only version currently offering considerable monthly savings for going without a phone line.

Volt is also available for M500, which boosts the broadband speed and bundles in an O2 mobile SIM, alongside other benefits, including a free WiFi guarantee. At £10.99 more per month, M500 Volt offers great value for money for those who'll benefit from the calling options.

Virgin Media M500 was originally launched in April 2019 as a triple-play bundle, combining broadband, phone and TV. It's been available as a broadband-only deal since June 2020, and is now available in a variety of combinations to all 16.1 million premises on the Virgin Media network.

M500 broadband + calls

Virgin Media M500 broadband can be taken with a home phone line, which is provided as a digital voice line over the broadband connection.

Current prices make the broadband and phone bundle £19 per month more expensive than the broadband-only plan, unless taken with Volt where it's only £10.99 more. While customers do get free calls to UK landlines at the weekend included in this, they'll have to pay more for other call plans.

Customers can choose from:

Call plan Includes Monthly price
Weekend & evening chatter Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles 7pm to 7am during the week and all weekend £5
Anytime chatter Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles at any time £10
International anytime chatter Calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles at any time, plus calls to 50 destinations worldwide £15

People who use their home phone regularly to make calls are likely to save money with an inclusive call plan than paying for a lot of calls on a pay as you go basis. Out of allowance calls are charged at 24 pence per minute, plus a 24 pence connection charge.


M500 broadband + TV

Originally launched as a broadband and TV bundle, customers can still save money by bundling M500 broadband with Virgin TV, compared to taking the services separately.

Current Virgin Media bundles with M500 broadband include:

Package TV Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband + Stream 52 516Mb average £35 £35 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + Get 10% Stream credit back on every subscription you add to Stream (Ends 30/04/2024)
Bigger Combo Volt bundle 190 264Mb average £44.99 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with 10GB data, unlimited minutes and texts
Mega Volt bundle 230 1.13Gb average £85 Free 18 months
offer Offer: £200 Bill Credit or a Nintendo Switch 1.1 Gaming Console (Red/Neon) + No setup fee (was £35) + O2 mobile SIM with Unlimited data, minutes and texts (Ends 28/04/2024)

The Bigger Volt bundle includes over 190 channels on Virgin TV, the TV 360 box, M500 broadband, weekend calls, and an O2 mobile SIM with 10GB data and unlimited minutes.

In comparison, the Mega Volt bundle offers over 230 channels including Sky Sports and Sky Cinema in HD, as well as a subscription to Netflix standard, an unlimited O2 mobile SIM and anytime calls.

For a cheaper option, customers taking Virgin Media's M500 broadband can take Virgin Stream TV instead. The box costs £35 upfront and then there are no monthly subscription fees other than those of chosen channel packs.

It's possible to add packs including Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, as well as Paramount+ and Disney+. Stream TV customers also get a 10% credit on any subscriptions.

Read more about Virgin Media TV packages.


M500 vs Gig1 broadband

Customers thinking of signing up to Virgin M500 may also consider the provider's faster plan Gig1.

Gig1 offers twice the average download speed of M500 at 1130Mb per second, and twice the average upload speed too at 104Mb per second. It also includes WiFi Max which is worth £8 per month. Yet, despite this, it only costs £6 more per month making it an upgrade worth serious consideration.

Here are the latest prices side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + No setup fee (was £35) (Ends 30/04/2024)
Gig1 Fibre Broadband 1.13Gb average £45 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £45 per month + No setup fee (was £35) (Ends 30/04/2024)

Should you upgrade?

For those living in larger households, either sharers or families, where lots of devices are connecting and people are going online at the same time, the upgrade to Gig1 may be worth considering.

It doesn't cost a lot more per month, but offers twice the download capability, allowing multiple users to download, stream TV, game, and work all at the same time.

There's also a good argument anyone considering taking M500 with WiFi Max would be better off taking Gig1 instead, as this includes WiFi Max for free, yet costs less overall. It also includes the better Hub 5 router, which is an upgrade in itself over the Hub 4 router provided with M500.

Smaller households who just want a fast connection however, are don't need the wireless boosters, are likely to be more than adequately supplied by M500 and don't necessarily need to spend more.


How does Virgin M500 compare?

While Virgin Media still has the largest gigabit-capable network, an increasing number of full fibre providers are now offering broadband speeds of 500Mb per second.

Equivalent packages to M500 include Sky Ultrafast Plus, TalkTalk Full Fibre 500, and BT's Full Fibre package:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M500 Fibre Broadband 516Mb average £35 Free 18 months
offer Offer: 500Mb broadband for the price of 350Mb + No setup fee (was £35) (Ends 30/04/2024)
Ultrafast Plus Broadband 500Mb average £32 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 500 500Mb average £33 Free 24 months
offer Offer: £3 off for Vodafone pay monthly customers
Full Fibre 500 525Mb average £39 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

Customers looking to bundle TV can also do this with Sky broadband, and BT and TalkTalk offer premium channels through NOW.

Virgin Media M500 is currently cheaper than equivalent packages from BT and TalkTalk, with Sky Ultrafast Plus and Vodafone priced the same as M500. All of these options offer 500Mbps broadband over Openreach's fibre to the premises network.

Overall, whether customers choose Virgin M500 or go with a rival provider will likely come down to personal preference and availability in their area, as pricing is similar.


How fast is Virgin Media M500?

Virgin Media M500 offers average download speeds of 516Mb per second, that means, at least 50% of Virgin's customers receive this speed or faster during the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm in the evening.

M500 also offers average upload speeds of 52Mb per second.

In addition to these average advertised speeds, we can also look at independent research published by Ofcom in September 2023, to see what speeds M500 is delivering:

Average download speed 8pm to 10pm Average download speed over 24 hours
Virgin Media M500 516.86Mb 539.55Mb

According to Ofcom data, Virgin M500 is delivering speeds in line with their advertised averages in real world customer tests, with average speeds of 539Mb per second recorded over 24 hours, and 516Mb per second during peak hours.

Minimum speed guarantee

Virgin Media are signatories of Ofcom's voluntary code on broadband speeds, this means they've agreed to provide customers with speed estimates at the point of sign up, and minimum speed guarantees.

Estimated download speed Minimum guaranteed speed
Virgin M500 497 - 542Mbps 258Mbps

The code says that if a customer doesn't receive the minimum guaranteed speed for 3 days in a row, and the provider doesn't resolve the issue within 30 days, they can leave their contract early and without incurring any additional costs.

While Virgin Media don't give speed estimates personalised to individual properties, they ensure all customers on their network receive these speeds and guarantee the minimum to everyone.

Reliability

Virgin Media is included in our top three most reliable broadband providers due to their lower than average fault records and fast fault resolution times.

Only M500 customers who also take Volt will get Virgin Media's WiFi Max guarantee included for free, but those who take it get a wireless speed promise of 30Mb per second in every room or a £100 bill credit.

Virgin Media's network mostly still relies on coaxial cable connections to a customer's home, although this cabling is likely to be faster and more reliable than the copper phone line network used by BT.

While Virgin Media is upgrading their entire network to full fibre to the premises, customers who can get full fibre broadband from BT or another provider, may find this technology more reliable than Virgin's existing network.

Yet, with only their own infrastructure to maintain, Virgin Media have the fastest fault resolution times as they're not reliant on any other third-party to find and fix faults.


Router

Virgin Media M500 customers will be given either the Hub 3 or Hub 4, depending on current stock levels.

While the Super Hub 3 was first released in 2016, it has been updated several times since. Including in 2019 with Intelligent Wifi, and further improvements in 2021 for both the Hub 3 and Hub 4.

The Hub 3 and Hub 4 have benefited from the following improvements:

  • Channel optimisation to switch devices to less crowded channels
  • Band steering to allow devices to switch between frequencies
  • Airtime fairness to share wi-fi fairly across all connected devices

The Hub 3 and 4 both offer:

  • Dual-band wireless
  • WiFi 5 protocol support
  • Smart channel selection
  • 4 x 1Gb Ethernet LAN ports
  • Intelligent WiFi

The Hub 4 is slightly more powerful, with 2 more antennas (7 rather than 5 on the Hub 3), and a more powerful 5GHz channel at 4x4, compared to 3x3 on the Hub 3.

While Virgin Media's Hub 5 was released in 2021, and was rolled out to existing customers in 2022, it's reserved for customers who take the Gig1 plan, and stock levels have meant customers on plans like M500 who want the faster WiFi 6 router have had to wait.


Where is Virgin Media M500 available?

Virgin's M500 broadband plan is available across its entire network, to all 16.1 million premises since the provider finished their gigabit upgrade at the end of 2021.

Virgin Media have also committed to expanding their network to a further 7 million premises by the end of 2026, so it's worthwhile keeping an eye on availability as they continue to reach more homes.

Check availability of Virgin Media broadband here:

Read more about Virgin Media's postcode checker.


Verdict: Is Virgin Media M500 worth it?

Virgin Media's M500 is one of the fastest broadband packages available in the UK, and reaches over 57% of homes.

The pricing of M500 is at the lowest level with other ultrafast speeds offered by competing full fibre providers, making it a highly competitive deal, and with customers getting the most value with either the broadband-only or Volt options.

Virgin M500 is a good choice because:

  • The average download speeds will support multi-device households where people want to get online at the same time
  • Customers will be able to stream UHD, game online, download files and work from home with ease
  • Customers can choose to bundle Virgin TV for extra savings compared to taking the services separately

While Virgin Media doesn't yet offer the symmetrical upload speeds of Community Fibre, or Hyperoptic, new and existing M500 customers had their upload speeds boosted to 52Mb per second, up from 36Mb, at the end of May 2023.

In addition, as Virgin continues their network upgrade to full fibre, customers are likely to see more free speed boosts coming down the line. However, for those looking for such a fast broadband deal, the upgrade to Gig1 includes a better router and the WiFi Max guarantee free, which means it could offer much better value for money than M500.

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