Virgin broadband review: is it any good?
VIRGIN Media offer the UK's fastest widely available broadband - with download speeds ranging from up to 50Mb to as much as up to 300Mb.
But are speeds everything?
Virgin's superfast speeds are available at prices to rival providers offering broadband less than half as fast.
They also score well against most other providers for customer service and of course offer the ability to bundle TV.
In this review we take an in-depth look at Virgin Media broadband covering their packages, prices, broadband speeds and customer service record.
Virgin Media don't offer free gifts and joining incentives as regularly as other providers such as BT and Sky.
For the run up to Christmas however, Virgin is offering customers who take one of their bundle deals a free Netflix subscription for six months.
Virgin Media Offers
The biggest downfall of Virgin broadband is availability - their cable network has so far only reached around 50% of houses across the UK.
While there are plans to expand, Virgin Media is concentrated in urban areas like towns and cities.
Find out if Virgin broadband is available in your area with our postcode check:
Enter your postcode above to check availability in your area.
Virgin Media broadband packages
Virgin Media offer a choice of four broadband packages based on the headline download speed delivered.
For customers who want more than just broadband however, Virgin Media also offer four pre-made bundle deals, which include broadband, home phone and TV.
Of course, on top of these deals, customers can also tailor their own bundles, mixing and matching different TV packages with different broadband speeds.
Virgin Media are competitively priced, despite offering considerably more in terms of broadband speeds.
Here's a selection of closely matched packages from Virgin, BT and Sky.
Of course, it's difficult to compare these providers on price alone as they all have various strengths and weaknesses, particularly when we include TV with our broadband deals.
Read this guide for more on how Virgin, BT and Sky compare.
Virgin broadband is faster than all other national providers, including BT, Sky, Plusnet and TalkTalk.
That's much faster than other providers reselling BT fibre who only offer up to 76Mb broadband speeds.
Here are the latest results of real world speeds experienced by customers:
|Ofcom average speeds, published April 2017|
|Advertised speed||Over 24hrs||Peak time
|BT||Up to 52Mb||47.7Mb - 48.6Mb||46.9Mb - 47.9Mb|
|BT||Up to 76Mb||57.9Mb - 60.7Mb||57.0Mb - 59.8Mb|
|Virgin Media||Up to 100Mb||87.7Mb - 95.2Mb||72.6Mb - 86.1Mb|
|Virgin Media||Up to 200Mb||169.0Mb - 177.2Mb||143.7Mb - 155.4Mb|
We have a more in-depth comparison of BT fibre and Virgin Media, but in terms of speeds, the figures above speak for themselves: Virgin Media are genuinely faster than other national providers.
More on speeds
All Virgin Media's broadband packages come with unlimited usage.
However, they do employ traffic management for customers uploading a lot of data, and have a fair use policy for peer-to-peer and newsgroup traffic.
This shouldn't affect the majority of customers, but for more information we've written about these polices in more detail here.
Latency and jitter
Research by Ofcom into speeds experienced by customers has shown Virgin Media connections suffer more greatly from latency and jitter than BT's network.
Latency is the amount of time a piece of data takes to travel from one point to another, and jitter is when that latency varies over time.
Most Internet users won't notice or be affected by latency or jitter. But gamers should be aware as jitter and latency will affect fast paced games, where a player could get fragged before they've had a chance to respond due to fluctuations in data transfer.
Read more on the best broadband for gaming.
Virgin Media TV
Virgin Media broadband customers have the option of including TV in their package.
Virgin Media provide the Tivo box with their TV packages, which allows customers to pause, rewind and record viewings - including recording up to three channels at once, or up to six with the newer V6 box.
Unlike standard set top boxes, Tivo offers customers intelligent viewing suggestions - learning from both positive and negative ratings as to what we like and don't like to watch.
Virgin Media TV packages break down like this:
|Package||Channels||Contract term||Upfront price||Monthly price|
|Virgin Media||Mix TV||150+
11 in HD
|Virgin Media||Full House TV||230+
50 in HD
For such a large provider Virgin Media score surprisingly well in customer satisfaction and support reports.
In Ofcom's latest review into customer satisfaction Virgin was beaten only by Sky.
|Satisfaction with reliability||90%||88%|
|Customers with reason to complain||16%||12%|
|Average call wait time for support||1 minute, 39 seconds||1 minute, 42 seconds|
|Satisfaction with complaints handling||54%||61%|
|Complaints to Ofcom
per 100,000 subscribers
Verdict: Is Virgin broadband any good?
Virgin broadband is infamous for being the big daddy of the broadband world, or as Virgin have advertised "the mother of all broadband".
Their broadband speeds far exceed those of their closest competitors, and along with their TV service, make an easy choice for anyone living in a Virgin cable area.
As a provider who also scores well for customer support and satisfaction, including reliability of the service, Virgin Media are an easy choice.
And for anyone still on the fence - our guide to choosing between Virgin Media and Sky is here.