Virgin Media 200Mb broadband review

julia kukiewicz
By Julia Kukiewicz

virgin media

VIRGIN Media's Vivid 200 service is one of the fastest widely available broadband deals in the UK.

Our Rating
Features:

Value for money:

Customer service:

Overall
5 out of 5

Offering up to 200Mb broadband speeds - Vivid 200 is superfast and faster than any other mainstream package offered by any of the UK's national broadband providers.

But is 200Mb always achievable and, most importantly, is it worth the extra cash? We hope to answer both of these questions in this review.

And for anyone who 200Mb doesn't sound quite enough, Virgin are now offering 300Mb broadband too.

The price of superfast

People looking to take out broadband with Virgin and move all their other services across should pay particular attention to their pre-made big bundle offers for TV, broadband and phone:

What's on offer? When you join online for: Need to know:
virgin media TV, broadband and phone bundles from £35 a month Virgin's TV, broadband and phone bundles.12-month contract.
£20 activation fee.
virgin media Broadband and phone from £29 a month Virgin's broadband and phone bundles.12 month contract.
£20 activation fee.

Here's a rundown of some of the main Virgin Media packages available with their mid-tier up to 200Mb "Vivid" broadband:

Package Broadband Contract term Upfront price Monthly price
virgin media Vivid 200 Up to 200Mb
Unlimited
12 months £20 £37
for 12 mths,
then £43
virgin media Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends Up to 200Mb
Unlimited
12 months £20 £39
for 12 mths,
then £50
virgin media Player TV + Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends Up to 200Mb
Unlimited
12 months £20 £40
for 12 mths,
then £53
virgin media Mix TV + Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends Up to 200Mb
Unlimited
12 months £20 £50
for 12 mths,
then £60
virgin media Full House TV + Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends Up to 200Mb
Unlimited
12 months £20 £59
for 12 mths,
then £75

At first glance these prices look high, but whilst it is possible to get broadband (with line rental included) for much cheaper elsewhere, this will be a much slower service than the superfast 200Mb that Vivid 200 offers.

For example, BT's top tier broadband package Infinity only offers speeds up to 76Mb, and it's mid-tier equivalent which comes in slightly cheaper than Vivid 200 but only offers speeds up to 52Mb.

For more on differences between Virgin and BT see this guide to BT or Virgin Media.

So all in all, although it is possible to get cheaper broadband elsewhere people are unlikely to find another service that offers such high speeds at competitive prices.

Before signing up it's worth checking exactly where the 200Mb service is being offered. Although it was introduced more than two years ago, it's still unavailable to many new and existing customers.

Virgin have been quite vocal about their desire to widen their availability to more households, at the highest speeds possible. But even with their ambitious expansion plans, which include both urban and smaller communities it's going to be some time before the service is universal.

To check whether Virgin Media is available nearby use our postcode search below - although take note about this search.

Postcode:
Enter your postcode above to check availability in your area.

How fast is superfast?

Virgin's 200Mb superfast broadband fits in with the company's aim to be the fastest provider on the market. But an important question to ask is whether that kind of speed is actually achievable.

The short answer is that Virgin Media take speed seriously and it shows.

Ofcom's latest report into broadband speeds showed that, on average customers received:

Average over 24 hours Peak times (8-10pm weekdays)
Up to 100Mb 87.7Mb to 95.2Mb 72.6Mb to 86.1Mb
Up to 200Mb 169.0Mb to 177.2Mb 143.7Mb to 155.4Mb

SOURCE: Ofcom, UK Home Broadband Performance, April 2017. Available here [pdf].

The achieved average figures noted in this table are very close to the figures that Virgin advertise for their broadband packages.

Meanwhile, these are the most recent download figures from SamKnows, the company that helps Ofcom gather their speed test data:

September 2017 Average over 24 hours Peak (8-10pm weekdays)
Vivid 100 101.9Mb 94.27Mb
Vivid 200 196.75Mb 182.08Mb

SOURCE: SamKnows and Virgin Media. Available here.

As the table shows, Virgin's 24-hour average for Vivid 100 actually exceeds the advertised speeds, and although the average for Vivid 200 doesn't quite reach the advertised maximum, it is still very impressive.

This is in keeping with their campaigns against competitors who fail to meet their 'up to' advertising claims.

It's important to note that the actual speeds a household receives are affected by a number of factors that should be considered, such as household wiring and interference.

But because Virgin does not rely on the telephone exchange system, unlike other fibre providers, their speeds are not impacted by distances from the exchange or on-street cabinets, so Virgin users don't have to worry about distance slowing their connections.

Upload speeds

As well as upping the download speeds for their broadband services Virgin have also upgraded their upload speeds.

Package Old upload speed New upload speed Average at peak time*
100Mb 3Mb 6Mb 5.96Mb
200Mb 6Mb 12Mb 11.57Mb
300Mb N/A 20Mb 19.72Mb

*SOURCE: SamKnows and Virgin Media. Available here.

BT and their resellers actually offer far better upload speeds than those of Vivid 200. Ofcom have shown average upload speeds approaching 17Mb for the up to 76Mb fibre from EE and Plusnet. For Plusnet this continues a pretty impressive tradition - see more here.

However, these upload speeds are for their top-tier packages. To compare like with like, Virgin's top-tier package, Vivid 300, eclipses these speeds with an average peak time speed of 19.67Mb.

End user experience

It's worth being aware that a good throughput speed on a broadband connection doesn't always lead to a great end user experience.

Users should look at their ISP's fair use policy (FUP) to get an idea of how their experience could be impacted.

In the case of Virgin Media, in 2014 they revised their FUP to remove all download limits. Now users only face a slowdown for going over an upload limit, which few are likely to do.

Here's how Virgin's FUP applies to Vivid 200: users who upload more than a certain amount per hour during peak times see their upload speeds throttled by 50% for an hour.

If they reduce or stop uploading data at this point they'll be able to upload at full speed again after 60 minutes have passed.

If, however, they continue to upload material to the extent that they pass another data limit, they'll be slowed again by up to 65% for two hours.

There's more detail on Virgin's FUP and how it compares to that of other providers here.

Vivid 200 Gamer

In August 2016 Virgin launched the Vivid 200 Gamer package, the UK's first broadband plan for gamers.

It was designed in collaboration with gaming organisations and like the Vivid 200 package it offered superfast speeds of up to 200Mb plus an uncapped data allowance.

Unlike Vivid 200 it gave upload speeds of up to 20Mb, making it perfect for gamers who live-stream content via sites like Twitch and YouTube.

And with the extra bonus of being free from traffic management, this package had the edge on the basic Vivid 200 package.

However, Virgin Media have recently decided to withdraw the Vivid 200 Gamer package.

Although no reason was given for this, we've looked into the issue in depth in this article.

Yet Virgin does still offer the Vivid 300 package. This includes the same perks that were included in the Vivid 200 Gamer plan - no traffic management and the 20Mb upload speed - but with the added bonus of a 300Mb download speed.

Outcome: Is it worth it?

Putting price and speed together, is it worth paying out for Virgin's version of ultrafast broadband?

We say yes - particularly for those who regularly use streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix or online gaming - especially if they're sharing a connection.

Here's a table of different broadband speeds and how they impact online activities:

Time taken to... download 250kB
web site
download 750Mb
YouTube clip
download
4Gb film
24Mb 0.1 sec 4 mins 22 sec 24 mins
50Mb less than
0.1 sec
2 mins 11 mins
100Mb less than
0.1 sec
1 mins 5 mins

Note that this table is based on the maximum achievable speed, not a real world connection.

Considering that the average up to 24Mb connection (sold as up to 17Mb) often delivers more like 8Mb, the actual difference can be much greater than that shown above.

However, there is some evidence that our need for speed is somewhat unwarranted.

Ofcom asserted in late 2014 that the minimum speed necessary for "basic" broadband is at least 10Mb, and 95% of UK households can now access this speed.

But a November 2013 report found that even households with the heaviest usage would be fine with a connection of just 35Mb, and in 2016, when 90% of UK households could theoretically access superfast broadband, only 31% had taken out a superfast package.

It seems that although we like the idea of having a superfast broadband connection, for many of us, our needs can be met with more basic packages.

However, as noted above, for those who stream and do online gaming on a daily basis, it can be worth paying for an ultrafast package like Vivid 200.

Final word

Finally, there are a couple of other things worth bearing in mind for those thinking about taking out a broadband package with Virgin Media.

For instance, Virgin are the only widely available UK broadband provider to offer home broadband without the need for any kind of home phone line, as we note in further detail here.

As line rental prices push ever higher this sounds attractive. But take note that this can be deceiving, because those who do take line rental as well as a broadband package pay a discounted monthly price for their broadband and tend to get a more attractive introductory rate.

How to sign up

In addition to line rental savings Virgin Media also offer pay TV, and bundling that with broadband may prove to be better value in the long run.

For more on how Virgin Media TV compares with other big providers see this guide that looks at the differences and similarities between Sky, BT and Virgin Media TV.

Comments

1
12 June 2017
Jonathon Grantham

I'm a bit of a geek and have suffered intermittent speed issues which have been going on quite a while. So me being me I have graphed it lol.

Check out my blog
<a href="https://disq.us/url?url=https%3A%2F%2Fvirginmediaperformanceuk.tumblr.com%3AtxglSzZHze-Dk51uuTTQuvszKqQ&amp;cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title="https://virginmediaperformanceuk.tumblr.com">https://virginmediaperforma...</a>

It shows the results, how I calculated it, compensation and how to deal with Virgin Media. I'll keep it up to date. If you find it helpful please share it.

2
5 April 2016
SJS

We are on the Vivid 200, the broadband jumps around from 10mbs to 90mps throughout the day. During peak time everything freezes and often I'm asked by the router to put my password in again but it doesn't work. I've finally found out after four months they have "congestion problems" in west London which loosely translates to the fact they can't handle the demand. I've been told the problem should be sorted out on 14th April. I just hope they mean 2016 as I now have SKY broadband for &pound;5 a month so at least I can get online as I work from home. The only service which seems to provide a tolerable service from what I hear is BT fibre broadband, unfortunately it's not on our street. Anyway back to the vivid party!.... <a href="http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2Fq4OYmgj4J0U%3AFeZoeZ4lR8izcpEBnlD0gQt_KNA&amp;cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title="http://youtu.be/q4OYmgj4J0U">http://youtu.be/q4OYmgj4J0U</a>

3
24 January 2016
matthew smith

Very happy with Virgin media, we get the speeds we pay for (152mbps) and as a matter of fact, in my area Wimbledon London, at non peak times we usually average 163mbps. I'm looking forward to the 200mbps speed boost :)

4
2 November 2015
Neil

I've also been getting a fair bit above what I pay for. I got my upgrade of 200Mb/s today and tested it quite a few times during the day (Finished work at 3pm, home by 3:20). I am getting 206 - 208Mb/s.

5
22 October 2015
kevin dunne

I have the 200Mb vivid package connected via ethernet and have never seen it above 172Mb a sec.

6
22 October 2015
Paul H

7:20pm on a Thursday evening. 'nuff said..

7
14 June 2015
Paul L

I'm really glad I came accross this, I've been trying to find legitmate reviews for Virgin Media for a while now. All I've been finding is complaints about the smallest thing such as blocked torrenting websites and poor customer service. I have signed up for Virgin Media and an engineer will be at my flat on the 27th, I'm really looking forward to some faster speeds as my current provider as nice as they are just isn't cutting it for me and my download needs anymore.

8
9 June 2015
Paul

I'm paying for 100Mb package but routinely only see about 5Mb/s down and 3Mb/s up if I'm very lucky. I phoned Virgin Media to complain and we went through restarting the router 3 or 4 times and they told me if I wanted the contracted speeds I should use the internet between the hours of midnight and 6AM as there would be less traffic. Seriously if these guys oversubscribe and then keep signing up new customers promising the earth and failing to deliver at every turn.

9
18 May 2015
Carl Wilson

But look at your upload speed.

10
7 May 2015
Ricardo Azevedo

Just yesterday I upgraded from the 30Mb/s speed to the 152Mb/s tier I can't wait for tomorrow.

11
28 January 2015
Richard Ogden

The answers are almost all here.

Instead of using wifi when you could used ethernet... use ethernet and get faster more reliable speeds.

We have plenty of people posting their results on here. Ethernet cable is cheap and most of us don't trampoline whilst online FPS or MMO gaming or watching an online movie. We stay in one place where a wired connection is perfectly possible !

You don't need anything like a 50Mb connection unless you are in a very busy household with several people streaming movies or online gaming, uploading video etc at the same time.

Most of us don't live in those sorts of households.

You might get:
- 2-4 people surfing the net
- 1-2 people streaming a movie
- 1 person playing a data intensive online game.

"If you wish to view HD video on the iPlayer you'll need a 3.2Mbps or faster connection."

Netflix "5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality

Gaming 1-2.5Mbps is plenty

Surfing the net ....1-3Mbps

So... 35Mbps is going to be fine for a busy household.

If Little Billy is file sharing 24 / 7 it isn't the internet connection speed you want to be worried about, it is a knock on the door from the police or a letter from your ISP/solicitor. Giving your ISP more cash for a fatter connection for him to carry on isn't the answer... really.

Now if we are talking ping, congestion and the correlation with internet package that would be a more interesting and relevant discussion.

12
4 January 2015
Graeme of Farnborough writes .

In the article it states "high bandwidth applications like Voice over IP (VoIP), ". From experience I can tell you, VoIP isn't high bandwidth but it does prefer lower and consistent latency (ping times). It also relies on bandwidth in both directions so the upload speed is important. Virgin's 10:1 download to upload bandwidth ratio is pretty bad when compared to BT and others. FYI, The highest Bandwidth requirements are generated by Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Sky's On Demand services.

13
26 November 2014
Gareth brown

I am currently on 50Mb medium package, I thought when the faster speeds were rolling out you were to be automatically to go from 50Mb to 100Mb. I am currently still getting 50Mb, can anyone shed some light on this?

25 January 2015
Aman

When I logged into "my virgin media" on the Virgin website there was a banner add saying my area has been supercharged. Essentially you have to opt in if your area actually has had its speed increase, just give them a call.

14
8 November 2014
Gareth

I've been with Virgin for years (Blueyonder 512k when I first signed up many moons ago!!). I've never had any real issues, only the occasional downtime. Speeds are always better than what is listed. I was with BT for a short period which throttled the speeds depending on the time of day; never again!!

15
29 October 2014
Jake

Just recently upgraded to 152Mb broadband and I'm achieving 160Mb, but to do this you have to mess with the router's advanced settings then go to 'wireless radio' and enable 'best performance 1.3gb' on the 5GHz radio frequency and you have to have a compatible device, also enable greenfield if you've got latest gadgets and you should achieve almost 152Mb in some places like mine you'll achieve higher. I've attached photo to show my speedtest.

24 February 2016
John Tyler

Go Jake! As far away as possible. There is more to life! Get out more!

1 February 2017
swadster

Translates to "I'm too simple for things like this stop using your brain jake it confuses me :c"

16
3 October 2014
Kevin Flemming

Getting over 160Mb/sec with the Speedtest, after swapping from WiFi to direct cable to the router. If you're stuck around the 40-50Mb bracket and you have a large amount of information being sent back and forth, switch to a cable. Defeats the object of wireless, I know but that's just the way things are at the moment.

17
30 September 2014
cdb000

The upload speed sucks - I get 18Mb _upload_ on Zen's FTTC. Also, Virgin don't offer a static IP address which can be a pain for some applications.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

1. You think 18Mb upload speed is slow? What is wrong with you, mine is 2.5Mb and it's plenty, yours is apparently somehow 10 times that and it's a problem? How?

2. You can set yourself one with a router... and what "applications" need a static ip?

16 August 2015
Dylan

No, he's saying Virgin's upload sucks compared to the download, which is true. 100 Mb/s downlink and just 6 Mb/s uplink. Read his comment again and you'll see he said Zen, not Virgin.

18
15 August 2014
zarathustra2k1

Just had my speed "doubled" to 50Mb/s and I'm getting 54.66 Mb/s.

Luvverly jubbly!

<a href="http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.speedtest.net%2Fresult%2F3692117782.png%3AgVilU8p3uKLU44xoTDpjVxRtxqo&amp;cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title="http://www.speedtest.net/result/3692117782.png">http://www.speedtest.net/re...</a>

3 January 2015
shaun jones

I'll be getting nearly 3 times that soon xD

19
10 August 2014
krista

I am struggling to get 10Mb on any device and my mobile shows I'm connected but I keep getting chucked off.

20
6 August 2014
Jon Footlong

Test with a decent computer via the Ethernet cable. No consumer wireless device will have the throughput to cope with that speed. Product is amazing for those big downloaders, hardcore gamers and Bluray video streamers, but is as unnecessary as 32GB RAM for the majority of the population.

21
1 August 2014
Pete Coventry

Sorry but...

"Virgin Media are allowing households further away from the exchanges, which will cause speeds to degrade a little, to take 100Mb.

Virgin don't use exchanges. The "cab" that everyone connects to is usually in the street and is a smaller green box. I have one right outside my house!

I get 161Mb 24/7 and I have 2 bonded together to get 322/24.

4 August 2014
Choose team

Thanks for spotting this Peter. Slip of the tongue on our part! We've now corrected this.

22
7 June 2014
Scott Relentles Woodacre

I have never had a problem with Virgin Media speed, I'm on the 152Mb package and I get this speed any time any day.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

Impossible, you do not get it "any time of day" as they have throttling, you ca't just avoid throttling xD. It happens most weekdays between 11 and 6.

30 May 2016
Paul Blackstock

No it doesnt, if you download too much they will throttle you same as every other company.

25 September 2015
Return of the Mac

They only throttle when you download too much, HOWEVER, not on the highest package, as stated in their ToS.

15 April 2015
Joe Chamberlain

I agree, this is not impossible, I get full speed any time of the day also.

5 February 2015
CJ

No they don't, even the article addresses this. You are only throttled for going over an upload limit. So unless you are uploading several GB per hour you will always see max speeds at all times.

23
24 May 2014
slartybarfast

If you've upgraded to 152Mbps and are still getting low speeds (on mine it dropped to around 30Mbps after upgrade) from your superhub wireless router you'll need to reset your router to factory default settings as your router may be set to a max value of 50Mbps or so depending on what was set at installation. I reset mine and my wireless now max's out at around 68Mbps with wired running at around 125-140Mbps depending on server load.

24
8 May 2014
Richard Ogden

How does "We say: yes for those that regularly use streaming services such as BBC iPlayer" require a 100Mb connection?

You need to be careful when discussing "online gaming". You hardly need a 100Mb connection to play Candy Crush do you?

Many online games have plenty of issues that a 100Mb connection won't fix.

And

"A November 2013 report found that even the heaviest using households would be fine with a connection of just 35Mb.

The report concludes that it's really only households with many users simultaneously going online and using high bandwidth applications like Voice over IP (VoIP), certain types of gaming and peer to peer services that need very fast broadband."

So I am left thinking where is the essential analysis you rely on to arrive at your justification that it is worth getting a 100Mb connection?

The average household has to include someone streaming iPlayer (or equivalent) or playing online games doesn't it ?

16 December 2015
Melvin Howley

I had Plusnet at a previous property with it's max connection of 75mb over BT equipment and it's far superior for gaming than Virgin is. Obviously changing back when contract ends as gaming was reason for having broadband for me.

9 May 2014
Choose team

Although many households will be happy with lower fibre or even ADSL speeds and there are many other factors, including site quality, that affect experienced speeds, we think high usage households will often benefit from faster speeds. We highlighted the BSG's report on speeds to show two sides of a very contentious issue and we trust our users to make up their own minds.

25
5 May 2014
Matt

Very useful thanks! Looking at broadband packages for me and my housemates from July, it's looking very likely we'll be going with Virgin.

26
21 April 2014
Minecrafter

Do NOT upgrade your Virgin broadband if you are in the first 6 months of installation. Virgin removed the initial 6 month discount when I did, so the &pound;5 per month upgrade they offered actually cost &pound;18.99 per month.

Even though I now purchased the advertised 100Mbps connection I never receive more than 25Mbps on a wired connection. This is the same as when I was on their basic service.

Virgin Media relies on small print.

27
8 April 2014
Lazza

I've supposedly been upgraded to Virgin's 150Mb broadband but so far on a speed test I'm struggling to hit 40Mb!

16 April 2015
A Nerd

Use Ethernet not Wi-fi as Wi-fi technology isn't as fast as cable.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

Upgrades aren't supposed to be done until January, how did you get it so early?

20 August 2014
Linda

Hi, I've just had my 152Mb installed and the guy kindly told us we won't reach 152Mb on phones or tablets. You will only get the full effect of 152Mb on a HD computer or laptop! So my Lenovo tablet only picks up the 2g one and reaches 49Mb download spead. My iPhone is reaching 95Mb though!

2 June 2014
andyjarrett

I've got the same problem but phoned up 150 (from my landline) and they are sending an engineer out tomorrow.

16 June 2014
Greg

We upgraded to the 152Mb last week and found that hardware, i.e. computers and smart phones that could connect to the super hub's 5Ghz connection easily got 100Mb+ but those that could only connect via the 2.4Ghz connection could only get around 50Mb.

It's disappointing that this wasn't made clear when we upgraded but we are still gaining by having more bandwidth to share between users.

17 December 2014
Dave Brown

50Mb on your home wifi? Seriously you're complaining?

11 January 2015
Jdawg83

That's because they don't realise what b/g/n means :S g is 54Mbps n (depending on revision can be 150Mbps or higher). Remember its Bits Per Second not Bytes or MegaBytes! Divide by 8 and you'll get a good idea on actual speeds (reported by browsers/download clients).

28
28 March 2014
Ken Flago

What is the point of getting 152Mbps if they have traffic shaping and 'Fair use policy'?

What a scam. I use to have 50MB XXL and it was just unusable as throttling would kick in even when watching youtube video. Imagine waiting for buffering on youtube on a 50MB connection. Useful for anything but casual browsing. You're better off with BT, Be There or anybody else if you want consistent un-throttled speed.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

I've had 60Mb for 2 years almost and never once had a problem "watching youtube" xD You must have been downloading heavily to be throttled, that's the point, you abuse it, it effects others, they slow you down, sharing is caring my friend, but you want a greedy package where it's "me me me all mine" nope.

17 April 2014
bladesuk1

Actually, the only throttling on Virgin is now on uploads rather than downloads: <a href="http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmy.virginmedia.com%2Ftraffic-management%2Ftraffic-management-policy-thresholds.html%3Ar3UYNEcsXHOCk3FbnL2ZnO3PZas&amp;cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener" title="http://my.virginmedia.com/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy-thresholds.html">http://my.virginmedia.com/t...</a>
even then, back when it was in place, the worst that happened was to halve your speed. If you were on the top tier 120Mb package, you dropped to 60Mb - which is still more than the vast majority ever got out of BT et al.

29
2 March 2014
Smiler

Thanks, saved me looking elsewhere for the info. Thanks,

30
28 December 2013
Azaan

Really useful information. Thank you.


» Read more of the latest news


» Search for more guides on broadband and mobile


Follow us or subscribe for FREE updates and special offers