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ISP Virgin Media UK Launch New 500Mbps Broadband and TV Plan UPDATE

Monday, April 29th, 2019 (6:00 am) - Score 9,560
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

As expected cable operator Virgin Media UK (Liberty Global) has today unveiled their new 500Mbps download capable (35Mbps upload) ultrafast broadband package (VIVID 500), which is being introduced as part of a soft launch alongside a new triple-play V.VIP TV Bundle (average speed of 516Mbps).

The new tier is still based off Virgin’s existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 network standard and Hub 3.0 router, not the new Gigabit capable DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade. The latter requires a new broadband router (Hub 4.0 / Gigabit Connect Box) and the operator recently revealed that they intend to launch a 3.1 based service sometime during 2019 via two initial UK cities (here), although those details are currently being kept under wraps.

As usual the actual profile (max attainable) rate for their new package is faster than the headline speed of 500Mbps (i.e. max of 575Mbps download and 38.5Mbps upload), which is because Virgin Media over-provision in order to help ensure that the majority get the expected average performance. For example, Virgin’s previous top tier of 350Mbps actually delivered an average peak time speed of 362Mbps, thanks to over-provisioning.

The new 500Mbps plan is thus being promoted alongside an average speed of 516Mbps, although at the time of writing it’s only been presented to us as part of the new V.VIP TV bundle (our sources confirmed this last week). In other words Virgin’s standalone and dual-play (broadband + phone) packages are currently still using 350Mbps for their top tier but this may change at a later date.

Details of the V.VIP TV Bundle

Broadly speaking Virgin Media appear to be tweaking their package line-up a bit and discontinuing the Mix TV bundle. On top of that they’re replacing the original VIP TV bundle with V.VIP. The new V.VIP package is set to cost from £99 inc. VAT per month on a 12 month contract term (£139 thereafter). The usual £25 one-off setup fee also continues to apply.

Aside from the 516Mbps average speed and all the usual features (unlimited usage, Hub 3.0 router etc.), customers of the V.VIP bundle can also expect to receive two v6 TV boxes, anytime UK calls, 300+ TV channels (including BT Sport, Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Kids entertainment) and a 12 month mobile SIM with “unlimited data and minutes.”

NOTE: Existing broadband users on certain plans will also be able to get a speed “boost” by adding a Virgin Mobile SIM (inc. unlimited mins and texts).

Virgin Media are also launching a new ‘Personal Picks‘ feature, which are collections of channels and programmes, including live TV and Catch Up, that have been put together for customers to add to their core TV pack based on their interests and preferences. “This is a soft launch that will be followed by the full roll out in a couple of months,” said Virgin.

With Personal Picks, customers can thus pick and mix any of the below channels, and add them to their TV pack on a one-month rolling contract – with 30 days’ notice.

The Personal Picks

Family Picks Kids Pick
Baby TV
Entertainment Pick Lifestyle Pick
Drama Pick
Documentaries Pick
Sport Light Pick
Premium Picks and Sport Picks Sky Sports
BT Sport
Sky Cinema
Hayu
Starzplay
Netflix
Racing TV
Box Nation

The move means that there are no TV bundles with the old top-tier speed of 350Mbps, instead it jumps from 200Mbps on the “Full House Sports & Movies TV Bundle” to 500Mbps on “V.VIP“. If you want 350Mbps then that’s still available via Virgin Media’s existing non-TV packages (at least it is at the time of writing but this may change).

Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“We’re combining the UK’s fastest widely available broadband speeds with a superfast 4G mobile network that’s faster on average than Vodafone, 02, Three and Sky, and a top-notch TV line-up to give Virgin Media customers greater choice, flexibility and an unrivalled connected entertainment experience.

Whether it’s gathering the family to watch the latest blockbuster in 4K UHD or playing Fortnite on your phone, our new bundles provide seamless connectivity for the entertainment our customers and their families love – no matter where they access it.

With lots more to come from Virgin Media later this year, our customers should stay tuned.”

However it became clear last week that those on the 350Mbps tier were at least receiving, albeit gradually (seems to be a phased roll-out), a boost in upload speed from 20Mbps to 35Mbps (same rate as the 500Mbps tier). The same sources that helped us confirm today’s news ahead of time have also informed us that faster upload speeds will follow for Virgin’s other plans too, but not until later (we’re not sure how much later but it will be during 2019).

Expected Future Upload Tiers (Source)
350 & 500Mbps = 35Mb upload
200 Mbps = 20Mb upload
100Mbps = 10Mb upload
50Mbps = 5Mb upload

In addition, our sources indicate that some customers on older packages will be getting free download upgrades, while customers on the short-lived 200Mbps GAMER service will go to 350Mbps at no extra cost (somewhat of an overdue change). We will try to get this confirmed later but so far Virgin’s PR team has remained tight-lipped.

Otherwise, we understand that the overall line-up will be as follows.

Standalone Broadband

Product Name  Average download speed  Contract Length Price /Month
VIVID 50 54 Mbps 12 months £37
VIVID 100 108 Mbps 12 months £42
VIVID 200 213 Mbps 12 months £47
VIVID 350 362 Mbps 12 months £52

Broadband and Phone (* = Price after 12 months)

Product Name  Average download Speed  Phone line Contract Length Price /Month
VIVID 50 and Phone 54 Mbps Inclusive weekend calls 12 months £27 (*£44)
VIVID 100 and Phone 108 Mbps Inclusive weekend calls 12 months £29 (*£49)
VIVID 200 and Phone 213 Mbps Inclusive weekend calls 12 months £34 (*£54)
VIVID 350 and Phone 362 Mbps Inclusive weekend calls 12 months £39 (*£59)

At this point we expect that customers of Virgin Media Business (i.e. those with the domestic grade small biz packages) may be feeling a little miffed, since residential users will be able to benefit from the faster tier before those paying more for the small biz plans can. But fear not because a Biz package is imminent.

Meanwhile the eagle eyed amongst you will have noted an increase in post-contract price to Virgin Media’s existing broadband packages of around +£2 extra per month, although their broadband + phone bundles have maintained their first 12 month discount level (in fact the 350Mbps package is a little cheaper than before, but only for the discount period).

UPDATE 8:06am

Good news VM Biz customers, they’ve just announced the 500Mbps tier for you too, although it won’t be an automatic upgrade. From launch, eligible broadband customers are also “set to receive a free upgrade to Voom 500 if they combine their broadband with a new Cloud Voice package or one of the latest mobile data packages” (Cloud Voice routes calls over your broadband connection and gives more control, flexibility and features).

Rob Orr, VMB Executive Director of Commercial Marketing, said:

“Once again we’re raising the bar for business broadband by giving our customers the ultrafast and reliable connections they need to excel in the digital age. With a free upgrade to Voom 500 on offer for existing Voom customers when they take selected mobile or Cloud Voice services, our customers can stop worrying about their broadband and focus on using it.”

The VOOM 500 plan is available from just £62 +vat per month and customers have the option to add a business landline package with unlimited UK calls for just an additional £8 per month. The package comes with 5 static IPs and a 12-hour fault fix time service level agreement.

UPDATE 8:29am

A spokesperson for Virgin Media told ISPreview.co.uk, “We don’t have any current plans to offer [500Mbps] with our other [residential non-TV] bundles, however, watch this space as we’re always investing in our network to give our customers a first-class service.” We fully expect that standalone broadband and dual-play customers will eventually get access to 500Mbps but it’s just a question of when.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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51 Responses
  1. Avatar Rich

    Well that’s rather annoying, I don’t have any interest whatsoever in purchasing TV.

    Hopefully this is only temporary.

    • Avatar Sarah

      If ispr sources confirmed that last week would have been nice to know. Relying on the site n all

    • Avatar Mike

      You can get it under the business section.

    • Avatar Rich

      If you select V.VIP, then manually remove everything except the broadband, you can have 500mbit.

      When you remove the SIM, it warns you that you’ll loose your broadband speed boost, but doesn’t appear to change anything.

      However, it’s £62.80.

      https://imgur.com/djgoGvS

    • Avatar GoT

      @ Rich

      Nice try but it won’t work as it say sorry u can’t have this standalone broadband as it only for vvip tv bundles package. Useless virgin media.

    • Avatar CarlT

      So for all your ranting you tried to order it then, Phil. Ya.

  2. Avatar Karl

    Interesting that they have bumped the pricing on their Broadband Only offerings but don’t list 500 as a tier (yet?).

    Doesn’t give inclination to upgrade if by luck you’ve had a number of free tier upgrades and are only paying £38 for 200Mb for example…

    • Avatar Stephen Wakeman

      If you’re the sort of customer who is complaining of lack of incentive for you to upgrade when you’ve already got a high speed from free bump ups… You’re probably not representative of the initial market they want to capitalise on.

  3. Avatar GoT

    Expected Future Upload Tiers (Source)
    350 & 500Mbps = 35Mb upload – crap upload on 500Mbps biggest conned
    200 Mbps = 20Mb upload
    100Mbps = 10Mb upload
    50Mbps = 5Mb upload

    • Avatar CarlT

      Hi, Phil.

      Complaining about everything must be getting old by now.

    • Avatar Archie

      No, I like to hear it. Please continue.

    • Avatar You are gonna be poor and on Plusnet forever

      Have you not bought your imaginary FTTPoD from Cerberus yet?

    • Avatar CarlT

      Could be worse. I’ve seen people claim they’re purchasing leased lines, claim they have business services when they do not, etc.

      Takes all sorts, fantasists being just one.

    • Avatar joe

      “claim they have business services”
      Oh he has had that day dream also only last week on here he had a FTTC Business connection from Virgin.

    • Avatar Sarah

      “Could be worse. I’ve seen people claim they’re purchasing leased lines, claim they have business services when they do not, etc.”

      And how would you know? you don’t have access to any of VMs systems. Sounds like jealousy to me.

    • Avatar CarlT

      It’s a really long story that I’m not going into. Let’s just say that requests for evidence tend to go unanswered, or whatever is provided is easily unraveled.

      A guy claiming to be bonding 2 VMB services when his dslreports test shows a residential VM service and a Plusnet service doesn’t really hit the spot.

      Regarding the lease line thing I can’t go into why it’s impossible here as it would be bordering on doxing which is wrong.

      Jealous? Not really. I could order the same service, pay the whole lot up front and be done. I have absolutely no desire to. Much better things to spend £15k on and moving to a new place in 4 months that has FTTP anyway 🙂

    • Avatar You are gonna be poor and on Plusnet forever

      ‘A guy claiming to be bonding 2 VMB services when his dslreports test shows a residential VM service and a Plusnet service doesn’t really hit the spot.’

      Oh please Carl point back to that episode i must of missed that latest daydream of his.

  4. Avatar Jamie Simms

    I am quite happy to have VM TV full house and basic landline but am disappointed that we cannot upgrade to the 500Mbps although have noticed it says it’s not available for my area when I put postcode in.

  5. Avatar Patrick

    I was looking for some news regarding upload speed in VM plans cause yesterday my VM350 upload albost doubled. Now I see why. Always better than 20Mbps

  6. Avatar Steve

    What am I even paying for as a voom customer at this point when upload speeds are matched or excelled by residential connections?

    • Avatar Joe

      Support/uptime. But as Mark says biz will get a refresh – no doubt something to keep it ahead

    • Avatar CarlT

      Asked myself the same thing repeatedly and came to the conclusion going with the business product was poor judgment on my part.

      I don’t even use the static IP service, I use a third party for that.

  7. Avatar Sarah

    Does this package have VOIP instead of a physical line?

    Providing your telephone service over your broadband connection

    As we provide your telephone services over our broadband, in the unlikely event of a network or power outage your telephone service won’t work, along with any other technologies connected such as security and personal alarms and health monitors. If this was to happen, you can continue using your mobile phone for Emergency Services. For customers with accessibility requirements we have measures in place to help in the event of an emergency.

    Groovy!

    • Avatar CarlT

      Yep. Phone service straight out of the port for the purpose on the Hub.

      When a call is made a symmetrical 64k is nailed up on the local broadband network.

    • Avatar Sarah

      Thanks – sounds interesting. will be weird using a phone out the hub, but also cool at the same time

  8. Avatar Anonymous

    I was on Vivid gamer. Last week, after reading the upload speed for those on vivid 350, called to see if 350mbps, is in my area yet. They confirmed it is, hence I’m due to be on it, from beginning of next month, at a lesser price than my previous package, but same upload speed as vivid gamer 20-21mbps upload

  9. Avatar Clive C

    VM Business currently have no plans to upgrade the 350/20 service to 350/35 to match residential. Current plans are to only offer the 35 Mb/s upload on the VOOM 500 service.

    • Avatar CarlT

      That’s what I understood also, Clive. Good, isn’t it?

    • Avatar Clive C

      Isn’t it just! They are expecting more details tomorrow. Would have expected the speeds to at least have kept up with the residential services, perhaps by ditching the lowest 7 Mb/s option and adoptect 350/15, 350/20, 350/35 then adding 500/35, or as a business option maybe 500/50.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Just FYI Clive if you want 35Mb up on business you have to go with Voom 500 which in turn means a new 24 month contract.

  10. Avatar mike

    “The move means that there are no TV bundles with the old top-tier speed of 350Mbps, instead it jumps from 200Mbps on the “Full House Sports & Movies TV Bundle” to 500Mbps on “V.VIP“. If you want 350Mbps then that’s still available via Virgin Media’s existing non-TV packages (at least it is at the time of writing but this may change).”

    You can build a 350Mb + TV bundle at https://store.virginmedia.com/build-your-bundle

  11. Avatar Archie

    I would’ve been bothered if they hadn’t have upgraded the upload speeds for 350. It would be nice to have 500, but… oh well! Zero interest in buying the TV/phone package.

  12. Avatar Archie

    Are there any benefits to having the business package? Do you get lower latency/better routing?

    • Avatar Clive C

      No benefits from lower latency or any different routing. The business service is delivered over the same infrastructure as the residential service.
      If you take the static IP adddress option you effectively do get slightly different routing (no better than residential though), as your traffic will traverse a GRE tunnel to break out it one of the VMB nodes where these tunnels terminate.

      You do have the option of static IP addressing, but as Carl has said here, there are other ways to achieve that. On the new VOOM 500 business service the standard SLA for faults is 12 working hours from first report. This is available as a chargeable option on the other VOOM services.

      The faults service used to be very good on the business side, though I haven’t had cause to use it for a long while, so that might have changed.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Indeed it has changed, Clive. My last contacts have been with Manilla, not Newport or wherever in the UK, and they’ve been able to do nothing other than run automated tests and raise tickets. Said tickets then ended up with text messages basically coming down to ‘Have you turned it off and on again?’ and were then closed.

    • Avatar Clive C

      Disappointing to hear support has got worse. It was a great service previously – I used to get through to thr team in Cardiff out of hours. You’d end up talking to the engineer that woudl start checkign the CMTS etc which I was on the line. So they have basically ruined one of the good aspects of the business service.

    • Avatar Sarah

      Why not! they closed all the other call centres in Wales. ones that I know of anyway

  13. Avatar illiad

    Big point here.. **where** do you find a **download server** (i.e, NOT a speedtest site!!!) that will download at that massive speed??
    Down here is south london, the fastest I have got is 60Mbps from a driver site for an ancient gr card…

    • Avatar mike

      Plenty of places can deliver 500Mbps. Any good CDN will be able to. Any good download service will be able to. For example Steam, Microsoft updates, Adobe updates, JetBrains updates, Apple updates, etc, can all utilise the full speed of my 350Mbps connection. I don’t see any reason they couldn’t deliver 500Mbps too.

    • Avatar illiad

      Microsoft updates??? don’t make me laugh!!! If they used the full speed, it would be finished in seconds, not minutes!!!

      show me a link where you get that speed, and I will believe…. LOL

    • Avatar No idea just keep moaning stick to your slow internet

      Microsoft if you are using it for deployment with MDT can easily top hundreds of Mbps. Not everyone has a single computer and uses the inbuilt update check of windows 10 LOL

    • Avatar mike

      My Office updates do download in seconds…

  14. Avatar Steveocee

    Lets face it, the difference between 350Mb and 500Mb isn’t going to be noticeable in 99% of use cases. It’s a marketing tool for VM to shamelessly sell on numbers.
    The upload speed increase should be the headline here and it would have been fantastic to have seen a 10:1 ratio employed across the board.
    Business or Residential shouldn’t matter, yeah bolt on some SLA’s and Static IP options for businesses but let the network do the talking (once you’ve figured out the congestion issues).

  15. Avatar Crook

    Really disappointing that you need all the TV and Phone stuff to get the 500 level.

    I don’t have the TV and Phone from any place, as we use netflix and amazon prime. And we get phone for £2.50 a month via a voip provider.

    So, we use the 350. just don’t need the other crap.

  16. Avatar Rob K

    As a new customer, what are the chances I would get 35Mb upload on a 350Mb connection? Does it just depend on the area?

  17. Avatar Kim

    I hate this company they offer you great prices for 6 months your bills get doubled up within the last six months never a chance. I will join this scam company ever again happy paying less than £10 a month on 3 mobile hotspot.

    • Avatar Sarah

      God sake Phil, give it a rest! No matter what name you use you can’t and don’t change your bloody typing!

  18. Avatar John

    What the point in this speed unless you have a gaming lanparty with around 60+ people.

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