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Virgin Media UK Switches on 1Gbps Broadband in South Wales

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 4,368

Cable broadband ISP Virgin Media will today switch-on their new DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade for “hundreds of thousands of homes” in Cardiff and across South Wales, which means that well over 7 million UK homes can now access their top Gig1 service (1104Mbps download and 52Mbps upload).

At present Virgin Media’s customers can already access top ultrafast speeds of 516Mbps (636Mbps on Ultimate Oomph) via the operator’s existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 based Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network. But the on-going upgrade to the latest DOCSIS 3.1 network standard is gradually making gigabit speeds available.

NOTE: D3.1 boosts performance by utilising improvements like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which can encode data by using multiple carrier frequencies, and boosting the amount of radio spectrum available.

Until today around 6.8 million premises had already gained access to this upgrade across big parts of London, N.Ireland, Southampton, Manchester, Reading, Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow and various surrounding areas. However, today’s announcement sees a large number of additions (spoken only as “hundreds of thousands” of premises) across South Wales.

As a result, the D3.1 upgrade has now gone live across VM’s “entire network” in Cardiff and surrounding areas such as Adamstown, Ely, Grangetown, Lisvane, Pentwyn, Rumney, Saint Mellons, Thornhill and Whitchurch. Other areas set to benefit across South Wales include Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The rest of their network – 15 million+ premises in total (likely to hit 16m in around 12-months’ time) – are planned to follow by the end of 2021. For the next few years VM can rightly claim to be the largest UK provider of gigabit speeds, even if it is only the on the downstream side. Openreach’s rollout of FTTP to 20 million premises won’t catch up for a few years, although VM have signalled that they could build to a further 7m premises in the future (here).

Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“At a time when our services play a vital role in supporting people’s lives and powering the economy, Virgin Media is continuing to invest and as a result our gigabit footprint is growing like gangbusters.

With our latest switch-on in Wales today, all four UK countries and capital cities can now benefit from our next-generation connectivity and the rest of our network will follow suit next year.

Whether people are working from home, learning online, video calling friends and family, or binging on a box set in 4K, with Gig1, they’ll be able to do it all at the same time without worry or delay.”

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. 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 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 (this will change eventually). As a result, some of the latency improvements that come with the D3.1 standard haven’t yet been introduced and upload speeds continue to be very limited.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
22 Responses
  1. Gorilla Gary says:

    For the love of…!!!

    The East Mids will be dead last on the list no doubt.

    I need my Gigabit fix :’-(

    1. Random Precision says:

      Nothing here in the North East either, bet we are last as usual. Still Cityfibre and Openreach are in the process of building FTTP so it’ll be bye bye Virgin for me.

    2. Jamie Simms says:

      Gorilla Gary- With the continued overlooking of the East Midlands I can only assume that the original Diamond Cable network that was built is not in a good condition to upgrade. As Leicester currently has no large scale Gigabit provider so VM could be the first but CityFibre have started their build so they will likely get that honour.

      In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Openreach are doing a mass FTTP rollout

    3. Sylvester McMonkeyMcBean says:

      meh, im on 350/10 and I can’t wait to ditch it. OR are supposed to be digging up the road next year if they are to be believed (still says my area has no plans for fibre when I check, but OR announced it would be building here?! oh well)

      i have literally zero need for gigabit. I do however have a need for more than pathetic 10mbit upload (yes i’m aware they do a whopping 25 too at double the price). Even on their gigabit networks you’re still going to get lumbered with a 50mbit upload speed. it’s pathetic.

      Meanwhile, on the rest of the liberty global network in other countries, 100/200/500mbit upload is apparently no problem, but in UK? nah we don’t need it. Only Poland does.

    4. aqx says:

      What are you smoking? UPC.pl 1Gb is 1Gb down 40 upload; https://www.upc.pl/internet/kup-internet/superszybcy-internetowi-start-1000/
      Exactly the same for Ziggo(owned by Vodafone 50% Liberty Global) https://www.ziggo.nl/pakketten
      Upc.ch has 1Gb down 100Mb up if you take all 3 services(TV, broadband and landline)
      Where are you seeling they have other downloads of upwards 200?

    5. aqx says:

      That’s Vodafone Ziggo, Liberty is only a 50% shareholder/partner. That’s not their own doing.

  2. Alexander Bevan says:

    Who wrote this? Adamstown, Ely, Grangetown, Lisvane, Pentwyn, Rumney, Saint Mellons, Thornhill and Whitchur are all parts of Cardiff.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      “surrounding areas” is the language VM used.

  3. Jay says:

    They have Gig1 in London but any idea when it will be on the business service?

  4. Amy Matthews says:

    Dammit I just left :/ Mind you based on the community feedback not really going to be missing much

    1. Amy Matthews says:

      Just checked an address in Rhumney – can get Gig1 but can’t see a way to order it – I also checked an address in Newport – still on 600 so I guess they are doing it in stages OR it’s not this part of South Wales – time will tell I supose.

      But even when it says you can get it – 500 is the max you can get stand alone right now.

    2. Steve Price says:

      Ring Virgin. Select thinking of leaving option and they’ll help.

  5. Amy Matthews says:

    After doing a dummy order in Rhumney it seems it’s only part of a bundle – if this changes I will let you know.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Virgin media is completely no good in my home I only get it in the downstairs normally not work in the bedrooms and I have amazon fire right next to router it works sometimes

    1. Leex says:

      That’s not a network problem that’s a WiFi problem in your house

  7. Aaron says:

    Would be nice if they finished doing it in oldham/manchester

  8. Virgin Customer says:

    Little tip for everyone out there. Don’t like virgin charge £35 to active the 1gb it’s a total ripoff and with a bit of moaning you should get them to give it to you for free.

  9. Virgin customer says:

    Little tip for everyone out there. Don’t let virgin charge £35 to active the 1gb it’s a total ripoff and with a bit of moaning you should get them to give it to you for free.

  10. Anna says:

    We’ve just had an e-mail from an Altnet to say they are giving Newport 1Gbps both ways – so VM don’t need to even bother now – they will be completed by Feb they say

    1. Anna says:

      Well a call to them tells me it’s 900/900 for £69,99 a month home or business and free install – blows 1000/110 or 1145/52 out the water for now

    2. Karl says:

      Which ALTNET?

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