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Virgin Media O2 Bring 1Gbps Broadband to 12.8 Million UK Homes

Thursday, October 7th, 2021 (8:26 am) - Score 15,096

Broadband ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) has today upgraded a further 2.5 million UK premises to their latest DOCSIS 3.1 network, which means that 12.8 million homes can now access their top “gigabit” download speeds of 1130Mbps (52Mbps up) and this will surely push UK coverage of “gigabit-capable broadband” to well over 50%.

The latest areas to be upgraded include Brighton, Colchester, Doncaster, Derby, Gillingham, Portsmouth, Southend, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Wakefield and many others that have not been specifically named (the list would be very long if they included all the smaller towns and areas too).

NOTE: D3.1 utilises enhancements like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which can encode data by using multiple carrier frequencies, and boosts the amount of radio spectrum up to 200MHz. This also supports other enhancements, like Distributed Access Architecture / Remote Phy (R-PHY) – here and here.

The move suggests that Virgin Media may only have one final upgrade left to do before completing their rollout to all 15.5 million of their covered premises by the end of 2021, which, when combined with rival Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) deployments from other operators, could push the UK coverage of gigabit-capable broadband networks to around 60-65%.

Until today, many of VMO2’s customers on the operator’s existing EuroDOCSIS 3.0 based Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and FTTP network could already access top ultrafast speeds of c.630Mbps (Ultimate Oomph TV bundle), but by adopting the D3.1 standard they’ve been able to significantly boost the downstream performance of those existing services.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of VMO2, said:

“Our continued investment means more than three-quarters of our network is now gigabit ready, offering millions of households across the country access to future-proof services and the fastest broadband available from any major provider.

We’re continuing with our mission to upgrade the UK and connect our entire network to gigabit speeds by the end of the year – a pace unrivalled by any other provider.”

For the next few years’ VMO2 will be able to claim that they’re the largest UK provider of gigabit speeds, even if it is only the on the downstream side (upstream is still stuck on the older D3.0 standard). By comparison, arch rival Openreach (BT) plans to reach 25 million premises with gigabit FTTP by December 2026, but they’re currently only at 5.2 million+ and will be playing catch-up for some time.

Meanwhile, VMO2 has previously stated an “ambition” to expand their newer FTTP network to reach an extra 7 million homes over the next 5-years. On top of that, they’ll also go back to upgrade their entire fixed line network – c.14.3 million premises in existing HFC areas – to FTTP by the end of 2028 (here). A wholesale solution for UK ISPs is also being prepared.

Otherwise, customers who take out the related Gig1Fibre package from Virgin Media today 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 their various Pay TV and phone bundles, albeit at extra cost.

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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.
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70 Responses
  1. anonymous says:

    Dover (including Kearsney, River and Temple Ewell outlying areas) and Folkestone are also able to upgrade to 1GBs.

    It actually had a soft launch yesterday as the system was showing it as “orderable” but by today it actually now says on virginmedia.com “You can get our M1000” instead of saying M600.

    1. David sobis says:

      1gig at £62 no thanks complete rip off I left virgin as they are overpriced and now using a 4g home broadband from three using a outdoor aerial on top of my flat getting 100 mpbs Constantly for £18 speeds maybe be slow compared to vm02 but lot cheaper .

    2. Bob says:


      A £100,000 ferrari is faster than a £5,000 Dacia.

      What’s your point?

    3. Kenneth says:

      £18 for 100meg is a rip off. You can get 500meg on vodafone for 35 quid for a far better service, 45 if you go with sky. 100meg doesnt cut it if you are a gamer, video editor or pc enthusiast. Xbox games are now 100gb+ so good luck with your 4g broadband.

    4. Buggerlugz says:

      Yeah David, you’ll see speeds upto and over 200mb on Three’s 4g+ for a few months, then it’ll start to slide, by month 4 it’ll be maxing out at 70-80mb for most of the day, and by month 6 it’ll be sub 50Mb, then it’ll be sub 10mb most evenings, next it’ll be totally unusable when you want to do anything.

      Enjoy it while it lasts, it won’t be for long.

    5. David sobis says:

      1gig at £62 no thanks complete rip off I left virgin as they are overpriced and now using a 4g home broadband from three using a outdoor aerial on top of my flat getting 100 mpbs Constantly for £18 speeds maybe be slow compared to vm02 but lot cheaper .

      By the way 5g is not available in my area I meant to put yesterday

      So it’s either get ripped off with virgin pay £62 extortionate in my opinion and put up with there rubbish aris super hub 3 and stay in my current home for 18months or put up with 4g from three as 5g is not available in my area as I’m still waiting for it to be on in my postcode as I love plug and play home broadband . So yeah I just stick with three as I’m getting 100 mpbs with a outdoor 4g install on top of my home I be saving ££££ with 4g and 5g if it’s available .if and when it’s switched 5g I want at least 350 minimum from from a 5g tower and upto to people want to get ripped off by virgin than there provocative . My opinion virgin I despise as I was with them forced because of no 5g if I want 350 mpbs .

  2. anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, I was with Three and glad to come off in my area. Virtually every area other than Dover was top speed of 8mbps! Dover was the only place where Three reached 40mbps. I tested at various points to London too and all were rubbish speeds on latest 5G capable handset (5G non existent for a lot of south east too).

    I agree though, there 1GB service on VM is grossly overpriced. The upload speed is pathetic compared to FTTP providers and its still stuck on DocSIS 3.0 for the upstream too at the moment. A lot of people though don’t have any for of decent FTTC let alone FTTP as any form of competition and 5G not broken through yet too.

    1. David sobis says:

      So many virgin media defenders on here 1gb is not worth £62 in my opinion in my eyes ceo of virgin media 02 is a another money grabbing Mike Ashley scum in opinion . 1gb is worth max standard price £30 not £62 overpriced and chumps on here saying they love it so niave and gullible if they want Mike Ashley ££££Lutz Schüler they can carry on . Left virgin as I was fed up paying £62 a month for 500 mpbs broadband on its own with them so yeah . Bring on 5g

  3. Rich says:

    I wonder if Colchester indicates Ipswich is Soon™….

    1. Ben says:

      Well there was a planned outage yesterday between 9AM and 10AM there (or at least in Felixstowe, so I assume Ipswich too) for “essential works to improve our network”. Looks like my Hub 3 is now using different frequencies for the downstream channels so presumably it’s “ready” now…

  4. Dave says:

    Just need a symmetrical 1gbps service so that I can bring all my AWS hosted services into my back bedroom 🙂

    1. Dave says:

      @Damien – it was a joke, even if the uptime could be guaranteed replicating the inter-connectivity of AWS services would be far more trouble than it’s worth, if not totally impossible.

  5. Dave says:

    Where abouts in Barnsley are you? I’m S71 and VM 1gig is available, CityFibre listed as ‘delayed’ but coming soon.

  6. AnotherTim says:

    This is good, but it will give politicians a warm feeling of good progress while in fact only improving the speed of already fast broadband. It does nothing to help those without superfast broadband, and only makes the disparity greater.

    1. MikeyMole says:

      TO be fair VM have been investing in completely new FTTP based areas too – you see them pop up all the time on here (20k new premises here and there etc.). I think overall they want to add another few million premises in the next few years.

      I think VM are doing a good job on their rollout. It’s always frustrating when you’re just not in the right area though – we’ve all suffered that at some point or another.

      I went from VM to FTTC and it felt like a step backwards. Took forever to finally get into a place that had a VM connection again.

    2. AnotherTim says:

      Yes, it is very area dependent. My area has no VM, no TalkTalk, no Sky, no NowTV, no Vodafone etc. – only OR ADSL resellers (no LLU). We are in the Gigaclear plans (via BDUK), but no other change is likely. Meanwhile we are falling further and further behind other areas.

    3. MikeyMole says:

      Hold tight AnotherTim! It will get there someday I promise. And besides if you get super desperate you could try Starlink?

    4. AnotherTim says:

      I have looked at Starlink, but it isn’t really any better than the 4G I use currently (I’m lucky enough to have a good EE signal). In fact the 4G is fast enough – it is just the very variable latency that is a problem, and I don’t think Starlink would help with that.

    5. MikeyMole says:

      I would give Starlink more consideration – they’re putting so many new sats out the latency is going to be coming down considerably and the service more and more consistent. Either that I guess or wait for 5g – maybe that’s a better option.

      Happy interneting Tim 🙂

  7. Billy Nomates says:

    We only found out we lived in a gig1 area when we went to renew the contract, I looked to see what the present deals were and was surprised to see gigabit was available. VMO2 kept that totally quiet, nobody informed us. Meanwhile TalkTalk,Vodafone and Sky won’t stop barraging us with junk mail despite being on the MPS list and despite asking them not to.

    1. Tom says:

      If that junk is not postmarked you are probably being delivered it through the deal royal mail have.

      To stop it you have to agree to no longer get ANY unaddressed items.

    2. Billy nomates says:

      Hey thanks for the info/link guys.

      I didn’t know about that. Some of the junk is directly addressed but some is obviously just put through everyone’s door. I’ll fill out that form now.

  8. Jamie Simms says:

    It’s ok saying an area is enabled but in truth that is not correct especially in Leicester there are a number of areas that still cannot have the Gig1 service due to high utilisation so are limited to 500Mbps service which in reality is a 200Mbps service during daytime and evening hours

  9. Meadmodj says:

    If VM had announced this earlier Boris could of been even more ludicrous in his speech. Apparently the 7% to 68% increase in Gigabit broadband is solely down to them. Amazing since their initiative doesn’t actually start until next year.

    Looks like VM upgrade includes Crawley, but no visible work on local distribution network so assume any TLC activity will follow if anybody actually orders it. M350 still running under 200. A new router probably isn’t enough around here.

    As always, regardless of the technology always buy based on the guaranteed speed and you will not be disappointed.

  10. Gavin says:

    I just checked my place in the Oldham area and nothing as been upgraded. It has the option on broadband only. But when I selected the option it told me on the next page it wasn’t available in my area yet.

    Oldham seems to be having a bad time trying to get a 1gig service. So far with the exception of Failsworth, they haven’t appeared in any rollouts from anyone.

  11. Mark says:

    Batter waiting for cityfibre it will be cheaper and more reliable with symmetric speeds

  12. MilesT says:

    VM does not have a good reputation for reliability in my area of North London (lots of noise on next-door, WhatsApp etc), and anyway the top package is really overkill for many people who would be better off buying a properly set up mesh network with a few hard wired links to key devices like consoles and streamers/TV.

    Re pricing: maybe US based part owner of VMO2 is trying to apply a US type price list (people in the US have to pay a lot more often for a lesser service)

  13. William Cowe says:

    Size of my hometown, Sunderland and nothing .Iam putting up with lousy Sky at a pathetic 31mb buffering is horrendous, often drops to 8-9 mb…

  14. Oddsandmods says:

    Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Caister switched on today. Mine is activating 11th October (Hin switch from hub 3 to hub 4)

  15. MikeyMole says:


    Got mine ordered.

    And to the haters that say “it’s a rip off” – ahh well, it’s fine – I can afford it 😛

    And to the haters that say “meehmeeeh only 52mbps upload” I say: it was only a year ago that I could barely get 12mbps up on FTTC so 52mbps will be a dream! And like most people, I don’t spend all day uploading files.

    Still… looking forward to the D3.1 upstream switch on all the same 😀

    1. Uploads says:

      Should see people posting on the official VM forums that they have 3.1 upstreams in the next month or two.

    2. MikeyMole says:

      Seriously?! The D3.1 on the upstream will be mega, I would expect them to at least up the upload on the gig1 to 100Mbps to make it more competitive with typical FTTH, but also D3.1 on upstream should improve service quality across the board with the introduction of AQM.

      Let’s see 🙂

    3. PacketLoss says:

      Just ordered 1GB also via VM. I’ve been on at them for about 6 months straight, i’m very glad its now available and can now match my router 1GB WAN port 🙂

    4. Tesseract says:

      Whoopeedoo for you

    5. David sobis says:

      Mike Ashley lover go lick his bum as you love paying £62 a month I could afford the 1gb £62 on vmo2 but I prefer to save money as I don’t like company’s like virgin ect overcharging customers with there broadband get real .

      Lutz Schüler iS not your friend pal he’s laughing all the way to the bank £££ whilst chumps like you paying £62 for 1 measly gigabit

    6. MikeyMole says:

      David sobis grump angry man 🙂 I can recommend a good therapist if you need one

    7. Peter Smith says:

      David sobis
      Really? You are getting upset because someone likes vm? Hahaha sad man that you are

  16. Andy says:

    S74 is showing as available as well..

    Tempted to upgrade our ooomph package to it….

  17. Darc says:

    It’s pretty exciting to see all this progress been made in broadband. 50% above 1Gb is quite the milestone!

  18. FibreAddict says:

    Just like busses they could me in threes.

    In last few months we now have Cityfibre, BT Full Fibre and now VM 1Gig.

    Well I guess it should push down prices

    1. FibreAddict says:

      Come in threes*

    2. Whats isname says:

      Crazy that somewhere like Southend can get 2 (or 3?) 1Gbs but where I live it’s either via Virgin or 63Mb via an openreach ISP

    3. Whats isname says:

      Forgot to say I can get 500mb via Virgin but it costs more than Gigabit from other ISP’s and it’s not even symmetrical like CityFibre and half of BT’s speed

  19. Duncan says:

    Maidstone has also been switched on I’ve heard. If you can get it!

  20. Hector says:

    This is such a ripoff. I have 1 Gbps since 2018 in Milan, Italy; and just upgraded to 2.5 Gbps with Vodafone paying €20/Month

    1. JJ says:

      Milan is a different market..
      Apples and kumquats

  21. Dan Jenkins says:

    Shame they’re not allowing the gig service on their business offering. Not sure if it’s just because it would “compete” with their leased lines because of how they market everything; or whether they’re not doing it because of technical issues with the business hub? Or maybe they realise that 50 meg up on a gig service isn’t really business worthy? 😀

    1. Billy Nomates says:

      They do 500/50 which is enough for most. I imagine they’re keeping it exclusive to the residential arm at least for now. That’s what they used to do with 500 (only 350 was available on business cable before)

      Most business don’t need gigabit. Heck most residential users don’t, it’s more of a bragging thing .. look at me I got gigabit, I can’t use it .. but I’ve got it, just like people who have to buy a new iPhone each year despite not needing it, or a BMW to drive to work 1 mile down the road. I doubt they don’t offer it because it would compete with their DIA leased line business, for one their leased lines aren’t capped out at 50mbit upload but more importantly leased lines aren’t a shared medium it’s a 1 to 1 connection between you and the ISP. Cable and leased line are in no way comparable.

    2. Dan Jenkins says:

      hence my “compete” – I know it doesnt compete. And for someone who is on 500/50 business I could certainly make use of 1 gig down but I really need better upload – not enough to pay the outrageous prices for DIA though. Hopefully trooli come my way soon…

  22. BlueTattoo says:

    Upgraded to Gig1 in Sheffield today
    Already had a Hub4
    Getting 1.2 down
    Not bothered about upload but around 52
    Suits me for now

    1. liarliarpantsonfire says:

      liar. how are you getting 1.2 down with a gigabit interface then.

    2. Winston Smith says:

      He’s probably be getting more than 1 Gbps by the fiendishly cunning method of connecting more than one device to te hub.

  23. Sean Smith says:

    Looks like it’s live in Peterborough as well. Will be getting in touch in the morning

  24. Buggerlugz says:

    IMHO even if it was symmetrical 1gb up and down, it’d still be grossly overpriced.

    When you can get good value from switching sites with Virgin 100mb (£21 a month with cashback deductions.) why would folks even consider this rip off?

    1. David sobis says:

      MikeyMole says:
      October 7, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      Got mine ordered.

      And to the haters that say “it’s a rip off” – ahh well, it’s fine – I can afford it

      And to the haters that say “meehmeeeh only 52mbps upload” I say: it was only a year ago that I could barely get 12mbps up on FTTC so 52mbps will be a dream! And like most people, I don’t spend all day uploading files.

      Still… looking forward to the D3.1 upstream switch on all the same

      Because this chump and other niave gullible customers like him loves being ripped by a foreign Mike Ashley vm02 Lutz Schüler carry on I’m laughing at you not with you .

      MikeyMole says:

    2. NE555 says:

      > even if it was symmetrical 1gb up and down, it’d still be grossly overpriced

      It’s a market price: you can take it or leave it.

      People who want it and can afford it, will pay for it and be happy (like @MikeyMole). If *you* don’t want it, that’s fine. However, you can’t tell other people what represents good value for *them*.

      Some people pay thousands of pounds to join a golf club and hit a ball around some fields. If that’s what they want to do, then why not?

      And sure, the club owner makes a profit. But they have to pay for all the upkeep as well.

    3. MikeyMole says:

      Exactly! Thing is people like David sobis are UNHAPPY paying less,

      I am HAPPY paying more! I’m generally a happy person. David is a grump 🙂

      (plus I can’t get anything remotely close to 1gbps down on any other provider – once I do, i’ll vote with my wallet perhaps, but until then)

      Good for me 😀

    4. Peter Smith says:

      That’s only viable if you have more than one supplier for your area, all I have is virgin media or phone line broadband so I have no choice

  25. David sobis says:

    Couldn’t careless about profits as I’m just a customer .

  26. David sobis says:

    And 5g and 6g are the future in 2030 I don’t see virgin media 02 as a business existing once 6g is rolled out might get on a broadband speed 500 mpbs for £20 whilst virgin charge you £120 for 2gig

    1800 down and 50 up with virgin I’m just taking the Micky out there business model that’s why I despise them more than the Tory’s

  27. Clem Dye says:

    Planned outages here in Harrogate today as VMO2 are doing ‘essential maintenance to improve the network’. Is that 1G, I wonder? CityFibre has installed cables everywhere so I’m just waiting to hear when it’s going live and what the deals are. BT is hopeless. 30mb down on overhead ‘phone cables. At least with VMO2 I can get 380 down / 38 up. We live in interesting times …

    1. Lexx says:

      At least you be the first to get real fiber (fiber via pole)

  28. Redayejedi says:

    Thanks for the article, I just got it for an extra £1 a month + £35 activation. I’m on the 650 ultimate ommph.

    1. Roger C says:

      May I ask what you’ll be paying for VM 1Gbps Ultimate Oomph? I got quoted £111 which is way more than the deal I’m getting on 650 Ultimate Oomph so I had to pass.

  29. Lee says:

    Same,turn off virgin WiFi but leave in router mode, 2 ethernets out of the hub 4 into a high end AX router with 2 port wan aggregating. Then plug an ethernet in the 2.5gb port on the router. Voila 1.2gb downloads on one device.

    Reason I got the Asus Ax11000 a year ago waiting for this upgrade.

  30. bobby jackson says:

    50mbit upload for 1gbit down? Abysmal. Should be atleast a 10:1 ratio down/up.
    This is why I prefer Openreach products.

  31. Amrul Choudhury says:

    I am in East London and best I am getting from SKY and BT is 72MB. Virgin for some reason is not available in my area!!! I have done the cable my street for around 10 years now.

  32. mike says:

    Have they forgot Norwich exists? I remember we used to be quite early in the upgrade schedule. Now it looks like it will be near-last despite having a much larger population than many of the tiny towns they’ve enabled so far.

  33. nigel hoar says:

    CityFibre project in Barnsley has hit a roadblock the main contractor for CityFibre – NMCN (North Midlands Construction), went bust. As far as I can tell the project has been mothballed for now.

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