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UPD3 Virgin Media UK Make Ultrafast Broadband Standard and Add 300Mbps

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 (2:10 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 10,728)
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

Cable broadband and TV operator Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has today announced a significant speed boost across their range of Internet access packages, which sees their entry-level service jump from 50Mbps to 100Mbps and their top package go from 200Mbps to 300Mbps.

The existence of a 300Mbps package is of course nothing new to our readers. We already know that Virgin Media has been offering this via their paid HomeWorks+ add-on for quite some time and on top of that some ordinary consumers have also been given access to a 300Mbps service (here), although until now you couldn’t order it directly via their public product pages.

Virgin Media’s New Broadband Speed Tiers

VIVID 300 = 300Mbps Download / 20Mbps Upload
Standard Price: £47.25 (Standalone)

VIVID Gamer * = 200Mbps Download / 20Mbps Upload
Standard Price: £42.25 (Standalone)

VIVID 200 = 200Mbps Download / 12Mbps Upload
Standard Price: £37.25 (Standalone)

VIVID 100 = 100Mbps Download / 6Mbps Upload
Standard Price: £32.25 (Standalone) or £40 (Phone + Broadband)

* No traffic management. Upgrade to 300Mbps available for £5 extra.

Broadly speaking the pricing suggests that Virgin Media’s existing 50Mbps (3Mbps upload) package is effectively being replaced by their 100Mbps option. Similarly their old 100Mbps (6Mbps upload) option is being replaced by the 200Mbps service for the same price point. Meanwhile it looks like the revised 200Mbps Gamer package may drop in price (currently it’s £50.25 a month standalone on a 12 month term, but the new price is £42.25).

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said:

“By beefing up our bundles we’re leaving our competitors in the rear view mirror, starting where they finish. Eye-watering speeds, a better box and top-notch TV is a winning combination.

More and more switchers tell us they are joining Virgin Media for our faster speeds and we understand why – whether it’s 4K Netflix, box sets in multiple rooms or online gaming, the best entertainment requires the best broadband and we’re making sure our customers are covered with these bundles at incredible value.”

The move is likely to be seen as an early strike to steal the thunder from Openreach’s (BT) forthcoming 330Mbps G.fast technology, which alongside their FTTP probably won’t reach the same sort of coverage as Virgin Media’s network until around 2025 (G.fast is currently only in the pilot phase). By comparison Virgin Media’s service will be almost immediately available to more than half of UK premises and their network is being extended to reach 60-65% (17 million premises) by 2019 (2 million via FTTP).

Mind you not everybody gets the top speeds that Virgin Media promise and some areas do appear to be oversubscribed, which can result in nasty levels of network congestion and slower speeds. However most people do get roughly what the ISP claims and their performance tends to deliver well above Openreach’s rival FTTC solutions.

On the other hand there’s certainly a debate to be had about whether anybody even needs a 200-300Mbps download service yet (most Internet services can’t take advantage of it) but that’s never stopped the marketing departments. Mind you the boost to upload performance is most welcome.

Otherwise we expect that the same Traffic Management restrictions on uploads will continue to apply (except on the ‘Gamer’ package that has none) and we’re currently trying to find out whether or not Virgin Media will be offering free upgrades for existing subscribers, which is something that they’ve tended to do in the past. The new options should go live 0n 30th March 2017.

UPDATE 4:29pm

Virgin has informed ISPreview.co.uk that existing customers will be able to take one of the new bundles available from next week, although that will of course mean re-contracting.

UPDATE 23rd March 2017

Virgin Media has today launched a new campaign to help promote their latest speed boost and the new “Virgin fibre brand.” Mind you anybody watching the video will quickly note the use of a copper coaxial cable, which is used by the vast majority of their hybrid-fibre (EuroDOCSIS) network. Meanwhile only a tiny proportion can currently connect via pure fibre optic (FTTP) lines.

All this comes shortly after the Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, Matt Warman, and several other ministers criticised ISPs for misusing “fibre” terminology (here). Warman has instead called for “fibre” to only be used alongside pure fibre optic lines (FTTP/H).

UPDATE 27th March 2017

Bad news folks, Virgin Media has quietly updated their original press release and revised down the uploads speeds for their VIVID 100Mbps (6Mbps upload instead of 12Mbps) and VIVID 200 (12Mbps instead of 16Mbps) tiers.

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35 Responses
  1. David

    20meg upload on 300meg down, still isn’t cutting it. Long way off Hyperoptic level of service.

    • CarlT

      VM don’t really compete with Hyperoptic. While their services are indeed a long way from Hyperoptic’s speeds, Hyperoptic’s coverage is a long way from theirs.

    • ItsAdam

      It’s not just that David but NI had faster and cheaper speeds as well.

      Not to mention whilst hyperoptic are not direct competition, speeds across Europe have had vastly faster upload for nearly 10 years. At least 5 years ago polish and swe and Dutch friends all had 100mbps 1:1 or 500down 250up.

      I’ve told Virgin media before it’s upload we want not down. I also got them in trouble (and they had to remove said content from their website) for claiming you can 2x live stream in HD on their 200mbps package and you hit their traffic management just streaming at 3.5mbps to twitch. What’s better was the management active you still had more upload than you needed to stream the connection just went to crap (200+ pings without streaming).

      Virgin media are Rob dog arseholes and Richard Branson should be fined for trying to pull a Microsoft, except he’s not monopolising an OS he’s doing it with broadband.

      I also really do not know or understand how BT can sell its service as fibre broadband when it’s copper to cabinet.

      UK ISPs need a kick up their arse!

  2. joe pineapples

    So when does it happen for existing customers?

  3. Dan Jenkins

    You say that 300Mbps was already available through Homeworks+ – I moved house in February and asked for Homeworks+ because I wanted more upload than I was getting on my 200Mbps package. Turns out they added Homeworks and not Homeworks+ and when I called to ask what was going on, no-one could figure out how to add Homeworks+ (they could see it on the public website when I sent them to it but couldn’t add it in their system) – so they ended up adding on 300Mbps, leaving Homeworks on and then giving me a credit for the difference to bring it down to what Homeworks+ should have been – bonkers! I don’t really want any of the other bits of Homeworks so I might give them a call once this has rolled out and they figure out what they want to do with existing customers.

    So how many people managed to actually get Homeworks+ I don’t know!

    • Dan Jenkins

      Oh and saying all of that – no-one had the foggiest about Homeworks or Homeworks+ in their contact centres – abroad or in the UK!

    • alan

      “You say that 300Mbps was already available through Homeworks+ – I moved house in February and asked for Homeworks+ because I wanted more upload than I was getting on my 200Mbps package.”

      Homeworks+ for home users did not become available nationwide until March so that is why you couldn’t order it in February. January and February is when you could take 300Mb as a Small business product.

    • ItsAdam

      You have to upgrade to homeworks and then plus, it’s a double upgrade and ends up costing far more than actually advertised.

      I did enquire about it but no one had the slightest clue what the FK Homeworks was or how much it cost. Not even retentions.

  4. dave

    Is this going to automatically roll out in a few days time or will you have to ring and start a new 12 month contract for them to roll out an update to your router to get the new speed?

  5. Pedant

    The comment about network issues is unfortunately true in my case.

    I’m lucky enough to live in an area with both 80/20 Openreach FTTC as well as 300/20 Virgin FTTN.

    I recently moved from BT Infinity to Virgin due to the price rises – big mistake. I’m getting the speeds I should be (115/6) but the pings are incredibly unreliable. Averages around 20-22ms but maxes out at 100-140ms. Every ping is different and interactive activities like VoIP, online gaming etc. are proving all but impossible – they disconnect.

    So as nice as it is to potentially get much high speeds, I’ll settle for slightly lower ones but with a network that’s usable for the things I need.

    • Chris P

      @Pedant

      spreading truthful stories like that will get you a proper trolling once the trolls wake up.

    • CarlT

      Ouch. Definitely something wrong there that needs looking at. While cable isn’t as good as VDSL for jitter that kind of level isn’t normal.

    • Vince

      Call them and complain – if you complain and can demonstrate the issue and they end up agreeing the area is oversubscribed, they’ll let you cancel.

    • ian

      i had similar issues, virgin oversubscribed my area, but they lied to me when selling it, “oh no no over congestion in your area”. spoke to an engineer, “oh yeah if your getting low speeds you can give a month’s notice and cancel easily…”

      Then i tried to cancel “oh sorry we dont see that in our notes, youre not allowed to cancel…”

      They quickly reversed their stance when i told them i had recorded all calls and that i had been promised by your agents that i could leave. really scummy practise. Im with not tv broadband now and its night and day difference. pretty much getting 80Mbps down 20 mbps up all the time. And its a 30 days contract, so i can leave quietly easily if things get worse.

      I dont think i’ll be going back to virgin for a long time.

    • alan

      ” I’m getting the speeds I should be (115/6) but the pings are incredibly unreliable. Averages around 20-22ms but maxes out at 100-140ms. Every ping is different and interactive activities like VoIP, online gaming etc. are proving all but impossible – they disconnect.”

      If you are getting the speeds you should and its high pings which are the issue thats normally a power or margin issue, which in most cases can be fixed with a engineer call out. Unlikely to be anything to do with congestion, if you get the speed you should. Dunno why it woke up the dullards Take a look on virgins forums and cable forums about what you margin and power figures should be and see if they differ significantly.

  6. Dan Jenkins

    Just saw the updated story – no more free upgrades it seems!

  7. Bob de Builder

    It would be good if Openreach now removed the 80Mbps cap on FTTC and let the DLM do its magic to compete with Virgin’s 100Mbps service. I’m sure lot’s of people within 250 metres of the DSLAM on the 80/20 product would see a speed increase if this cap was taken off, possible hitting +90Mbps!

  8. bucklez

    will 50mb get moved onto 100mb for same price??

  9. bucklez

    also to note im in my 14 days cooling off…

    so i could cancel and re-sign up?

  10. John

    We had VM cable installed in our street last week and we will be getting 300mbps straight away. We were also told that in 1 to 2 years full fibre to the door will be available as it’s being rolled out at the moment. Chichester in Sussex is the first area in my area to be full fibre.

    • CarlT

      Full fibre won’t be available to you of course John if you’re getting standard cable. It’s being deployed in a variety of places where VM previously didn’t have a presence.

  11. MikeW

    In the recent quarterly results, VM have been reporting what proportion of their subscribers are on 100Mbps+ packages.

    The numbers recently reached 50%, having taken 15 months to rise from 40%.

    I wonder if they’ll keep reporting this, as it will show what proportion decide to stay on old, uncontracted, terms.

  12. Chux

    Like mentioned already, download speeds are sufficient for now. More upload speed please. My area is oversubscribed anyway, so download speed is terrible in the evening till the wee hours. Cos I’m on vivid gamer, my upload speed is 21-21mbps average.

    • CortanaFan

      We were with VM up until a few months ago. We were on the 200meg package, but rarely able to get those top-end speeds. After many months of being told that the cabinet was being upgraded, then told it was completed, only to complain speeds hadn’t improved, to be told again that the cabinet will be upgraded again… And Ping times were all over the place, not good for my partner (big gamer!)

      Dumped them when they tried to increase our BB price and moved to the slower Sky 80 FTTC package, but at least we get a constant 70meg! The Sky service has been stable compared to Virgin.

  13. mike

    Great, congestion is about to get even worse…

  14. Stevil

    I have a few TB to upload to google drive……23Mbps upload that I get on vivid 300 just ain’t enough. It’s annoying that they won’t take my money and offer a faster upload speed!

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