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Virgin Media UK Deploy 1Gb Speeds to Edinburgh and Liverpool

Thursday, Jul 2nd, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 5,091

Broadband ISP Virgin Media (Liberty Global) will today announce that over 600,000 premises across the cities of Edinburgh and Liverpool are the next ones to get their latest DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade, which makes 1Gbps broadband speeds available to local homes and businesses (i.e. average downloads of 1104Mbps and 52Mbps upload).

At present nearly all of Virgin Media’s customers can already access top ultrafast speeds of 516Mbps via the operator’s existing Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based network using the old EuroDOCSIS 3.0 standard. Meanwhile the boost to Gigabit speeds is all thanks to the latest DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade.

NOTE: D3.1 boosts performance by utilising things like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which can encode data by using multiple carrier frequencies, and quadrupling the amount of radio spectrum (up to 200MHz).

So far more than 2 million premises are already in the process of gaining access to this upgrade across big parts of Berkshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire (e.g. Greater Manchester, Southampton, Reading and many surrounding areas) and the West Midlands (i.e. Birmingham, Coventry and surrounding areas), while the rest of their network – 15 million+ premises in total – are planned to follow by the end of 2021.

Otherwise we understand that the exact number of premises expected to benefit from this latest upgrade includes c.250,000 in Edinburgh and c.380,000 in Liverpool. In short, today’s announcement takes the aforementioned total to 2.7 million premises with D3.1 capability (nearly 20% of their UK network) and it’s worth noting that Edinburgh is also the first city in Scotland to benefit from it. 

Jeff Dodds, COO at Virgin Media, said:

“Whether people are working from home, learning or gaming online, video calling friends and family or binging on a box set in 4K, with Gig1’s hyperfast speeds, more than 17 times faster than UK’s average, busy households can do everything they want online, at the same time, without delay.

Through continued investment, we’ll be bringing this next-generation connectivity to many more cities this year as we rollout gigabit broadband across our entire network at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else. Whatever the future holds, we’re connecting our customers to what’s next.”

Customers who take out the related Gig1Fibre package will be sent a new HUB 4.0 (TG3492LG-VMB / Gigabit Connect Box) router and you can see the specification for that at the bottom of this article from last year. The HUB 4.0 is VM’s only router with DOCSIS 3.1 support, although they have made the device available on some slower packages in certain areas so as to help tackle issues of high utilisation (here).

Prices for the new 1Gbps broadband package typically start at £62 per month (standalone broadband) on an 18 month term and come attached to a guaranteed price freeze for at least 24 months. Customers can also take this alongside Virgin Media’s various Pay TV packages, albeit at extra cost.

As before we should point out that the operator’s D3.1 upgrade currently only fully applies to their downstream connectivity, while the upstream side is still delivered using the old D3.0 network. As a result some of the latency improvements that come with the D3.1 upgrades won’t be introduced and upload speeds continue to be restricted to the same level as their 516Mbps plan.

More areas will be announced “later in the year.”

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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38 Responses
  1. Avatar photo James™ says:

    Would that include any surrounding areas of Edinburgh? Like with the same area code?

    1. Avatar photo Tom says:

      I’d say yes, because the ‘Birmingham’ upgrade included areas such as Wolverhampton, Dudley, Telford etc.

    2. Avatar photo Icaraa says:

      @James Depends I suppose. I believe most of Liverpool is served from their Knowsley “Exchange” but Wirral, Ellesmere Port, Wrexham and Chester is served from Bromborough. Looks like they also have a site in Southport.

    3. Avatar photo Icaraa says:

      I appreciate you asked about Edinburgh but the situation could be similar there

    4. Avatar photo James™ says:

      Thanks guys, I’ve just checked and it’s now reporting I’m able to get 1Gig package now. So it must be all Edinburgh area codes

    5. Avatar photo DAVE D says:

      Tom the Birmingham upgrade did not include Telford

    6. Avatar photo Leex says:

      It’s really street level (1 FTTN covers 10-20 street repeater cabs) so when your local node is upgraded you can get it

  2. Avatar photo Santi says:

    1Gb down and a mere 50mb up? Is it a joke? It’s obvious that they are not trying to lead but just playing against Openreaxh. Docsis 3.1 would allow them to offer symmetry, as Vodafone Spain has been doing for at le east 3 years now.

    1. Avatar photo 1 says:

      There’s no need for them to do increases to upload. There hasn’t been any substantial increase in files being uploaded unless done by people with torrent ratios to maintain. 20-50Mb is perfectly fine for 99.98% of the clientele. If you want more feel free to buy a leased line or move to Spain.

    2. Avatar photo Mike says:


      Many online businesses need more upload speed.

    3. Avatar photo 1 says:

      @Mike this is why Leased lines/VMB is available.

    4. Avatar photo A_Builder says:


      We had VMB at our old head office and they were unable to offer us symmetrical (or reliable but that is another story) so I’m not sure it is true that VMB leased offers symmetry in all areas.

    5. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      To be honest, if you’re buying 1Gbps today then 50Mbps upload is pretty poor versus the competition and that’s an issue no matter what people may or may not actually need. Somebody buying a 1Gbps plan will often be expecting more (you have to get into that mindset).

      I’m sure that after 2021 we may well see them double the upstream speed, but first they need to finish the D3.1 downstream upgrade.

    6. Avatar photo Phil says:

      “There’s no need for them to do increases to upload.” There is also no need to increase download speeds either yet they doing just that because they can and need to look competitive. Upload speeds are suddenly just as important with the numbers of people working from home now, with many finding things aren’t quite so brilliant on superfast broadband despite the moniker of ‘superfast’ because that only applies in one direction. This is an industry problem, for example Openreach and VDSL might see someone with a fairly reasonable download rate of 30Meg, but upload might only be 3 to 4Mbps, or on ADSL upload is 1Meg or less, and that doesn’t really cut it now.

      Upload speeds are always brushed under the carpet by ISPs, never dominantly advertised because the technology used favours only download speeds, and we’ve been brainwashed with marketing that only one number counts, and that is download rate. Arguably download speeds for many (certainly on Virgin) are as fast as they need to be and emphasis now should be on upload speeds. Once DOCSIS is on version 3.1 and upload speeds can be symmetrical, you can bet Virgin will be shouting about it, but now, finding the actual upload speed on their products on their website is not easy, they don’t want you to know.

    7. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      You have just summed up my problem in a nutshell Phil, 3-4 upload at best so now scheduling video call time for one person at a time which isn’t right in 2020.

      People moan about 50 – I don’t even get that down.

      Heard about another Call of Duty 30 GB patch the other day so have had to force the Xbox to only have the internet access from 10pm – 7am or it grinds everything to a halt.

      Welcome to the UK in 2020. Joke

    8. Avatar photo Spurple says:

      @Ryan, you need a better router with a working qos configuration. Dig into your router settings and stop resorting to these barbaric methods

    9. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Vodafone spent a lot of money on that network and can push it harder. They’re actually the only operator I’m aware of offering symmetrical gigabit over DoCSIS 3.1. To accomplish that they rebuilt most of it bar the cabling and some bits at the ends.

      They also used evil Huawei equipment as the other big 3.1 upstream project I’m aware of did.

      I wonder how the Vodafone network holds up for speed at peak periods actually? Don’t have the same harsh regulation we do.

    10. Avatar photo Ryan says:


      I am using a different router (TP-Link Archer) with correct QOS applied – work laptop, school chromebooks and then in the evening I switch it to tv and xbox have a TP link mesh Wi-Fi so the Wi-Fi is off on the router and using the mesh setup – really are fantastic those things. Powerlines used for every static device in the house – new wiring so 0 speed loss. Also using Pi hole to stop ads coming through to help with that regard and not loading them.

      I can’t fix the bad line so stuck with what I have and the above still doesn’t help solve the issue.

    11. Avatar photo Santi says:

      @1 cool answer “move to Spain if you don’t like it”.
      Anyway, you might think 50mbs is super fast but working from home with up to 20mbs is becoming a problem in the era of remote working. Also, cloud services are becoming the norm, with slow uploads being a problem, especially as the number of connected devices grows. So yeah, the Spanish might have an advantage with their symmetrical speeds and 87% of the country already covered by fibre to the premises.

    12. Avatar photo Leex says:

      It help if virgin would enable QOS on there DOCSIS network as well

    13. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      There is QoS on the network already. The configuration files have a lot more in them than just a maximum speed.

      VM make use of dynamic service flows. QoS isn’t going to help with higher upstream speeds, though, only offering bigger pipes and sharing them between fewer customers can do that.

  3. Avatar photo phb says:

    “but now, finding the actual upload speed on their products on their website is not easy, they don’t want you to know.”

    Really? Found them right here:


    1. Avatar photo Phil says:

      They are now, that’s a lot better.

  4. Avatar photo Jamie Simms says:

    I am rather surprised that Virgin Media have not made Leicester one of the first places to get Gig1 service as they have an extensive network already in place but more importantly Openreach have no FibreFirst areas in Leicestershire at all and Alnets there is none really of note. CityFibre have started in one area in the last few weeks but that has stopped now as this area is the centre of Covid19 outbreak in Leicester with nearly all terrace houses and narrow pavements.

    I do think that Virgin could have capitalised here easily and captured all users that want that extra speed before the other networks do it at a later stage

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Can’t enable it if the network isn’t capable.

    2. Avatar photo Archie says:

      Amen, Jamie!

      Leicestershire is definitely one of the forgotten counties in this instance.

      I was hoping and waiting for the next announce to be about Leicester(shire) considering the West Mids was the last group to go live in February.

      Virgin need to bloody hurry up and let us know when Gig1 is coming.

  5. Avatar photo SimonR says:

    Six months ago the “I need more upload for when I’m working from home” would be met with a blanket “then get a business line”. Fast forward and it’s becoming obvious how important upload speed is to many. Multiple video calls, working on remote systems, transferring large/many files between colleagues. All while the kids may be streaming/gaming/chatting. Then staying connected with friends and family

    All of which is legal and normal and necessary for some households.

    There should be a better way of advertising connection speeds. An average of the up and down? List the slowest of the two? List both? Appreciate it’s of little interest to some (and 50 up may be fine), but 1 gig down, 50 up is like making astronauts travel to the launch pad on bicycles.

  6. Avatar photo Jimbo says:

    Virgin use docsis 3.1 for download. It’s still 3.0 for upload hence the low speed.

    Eventually when Virgin get docsis 3.1 upload things will get faster

  7. Avatar photo muffin says:

    I’ve been with VM for maybe 10 years (there was 2 years I lived in a place that didn’t have Virgin) and this unknown timeline for getting gigabit is really really disappointing.

    At least Openreach publish their plans for upgrading areas.

    Now that my area is FTTP enabled I’m considering cancelling Virgin. I want to stay with VM (changing networks is a pain with the need to WFH 24/7 and the telecoms point is located rather inconveniently behind a cabinet bolted to the wall.) but I have no idea if they’ll provide gigabit at the end of next month or the end of next year.

    1. Avatar photo Leex says:

      If you don’t currently have FTTP point installed in your house, the engineer usually flexible of where it gets installed (as long as it’s not internal or really far out side the building, all you can do is ask) as it does not use the copper cable

      If FTTP came onto my street as available I would strongly consider leaving virgin as fake fibre (vdsl/FTTC) from openreach is 27/5 even if it gives me consistent ping

      My sister is getting talktalk fibre 150/30 for £28 on the 27th this month (but as far as i am aware that is G.Fast, she is quite close to the cab so she should get them speeds)

    2. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      VM plans to upgrade its entire UK network to DOCSIS 3.1 by end-2021, and I expect Gig1 to be available to all as well.

    3. Avatar photo randy partridge says:

      Roger not all areas can even get 350 yet.

  8. Avatar photo B says:

    But Wolverhampton is not switch on yet

  9. Avatar photo William says:

    I work for virgin and what I have seen in Scotland is cabs rotted with dog piss .the fibre will be stretched when cab no frame by level 3 cab by outage

    1. Avatar photo Percy Wantage says:

      In English please.

  10. Avatar photo randy partridge says:

    I feel neglected by both VM and Openreach.

  11. Avatar photo Peter says:

    Would love the option to even be able to get VM fibre, but here in Gorebridge, Midlothian they have pulled all the street install dates for Newtongrange and Gorebridge when COVID-19 started.

    Mind you they didn’t set any dates for the edge house streets of the town either where I live, this sucks 🙁

  12. Avatar photo Stuart Paterson says:

    What do they have to do to upgrade to docsis 3.1? Is it essentially a cabinet upgrade or do they have to upgrade the existing line plant as well?

Comments are closed

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