Virgin Media begins free broadband speed upgrades

Back in January, we reported that Virgin Media had announced plans to at least double the speeds of almost all of its cable broadband customers, free of charge, with over 4.1 million households due to be upgraded as part of an 18-month, £110m GBP ($175m USD / €132m EUR) investment programme. Today, the company has confirmed that upgrades are now underway, with the first wave of 1.5m homes due to have their speeds boosted over the next two months.

But while, in the strictest sense, Virgin Media isn’t charging for these upgrades, they are coinciding with an across-the-board price increase that the company says will see prices increase by an average of £2.68 per month for each customer. Its most popular cable broadband package will rise by £1, while some call charges will increase by up to 12%. The price changes come into effect on 1 April 2012.

The speed increases will see considerable value added to user packages though, with some connections actually tripling in their maximum speeds:

While the top-tier 100Mbps service will get a comparatively modest 20% increase in speed, Virgin Media says that when that new 120Mbps service becomes available, customers on that package will see a reduction in price.

The upgrade programme won’t cover all areas in one go, and is not scheduled to be completed until mid-2013. But you can find out now when your area is due for upgrade, by checking out the new Virgin Media Double-Speed site.  

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I'm currently on virgin media 50mb (previously I had 20mb with them) and I've never had one complaint about their service.

There is no ISP in the UK which offers 50mb down 5mb up for as cheap as virgin offer.

They may have throttling at peak times for p2p but that doesn't bother me as I work 8am - 6pm Mon-Fri and I tend not to download via p2p.

I will also stick up for BT who I was with for a number of years and my service was 100% stable, I only had 6mb down and 448kb up but I was never throttled and it was reliable.

So I say good luck to BT with their infinity rollout and good luck VM with the double speed rollout, because the more you push for better speeds the more competition there is and that is great for us consumers

I am a lot happier with virgin media than what I used to be with BT. I said I loved AMD few minutes ago and now its VMs turn

The theory is the 50Mb and 100Mbps lines will eventually merge and be 120Mb for both sets of customers, at that point the price will reduce for the "ex" 100Mb customers to be the same as the "ex" 50mb customers.

Hope that makes sense.

StevenNT said,
The theory is the 50Mb and 100Mbps lines will eventually merge and be 120Mb for both sets of customers, at that point the price will reduce for the "ex" 100Mb customers to be the same as the "ex" 50mb customers.

Hope that makes sense.

I'm on the 50Mbit awaiting my upgrade. We don't even have 100Mbit service here yet, and the upgrades are rolled out in October. However, shortly after the announcement of the upgrades I did get a leaflet saying as an existing 50Mbit customer we'll be getting upgraded directly to 120Mbit service.

I'm not sure if this is due to us not having 100Mbit users already, or just to keep existing customers on 50Mbit to sweeten the deal... the 'theory' of the 50Mbit to 120MBit upgrades in existing areas might be different, but that's officially what I got in the mail.

I've had 8 downstream channels since January and it has improved my connection somewhat though the other week there was some instability at around 11pm for an hour or so on a few days, it's been fine since. All I am awaiting for now is the new config file and upstream bonding, my upgrade says March - April.

Inklin said,
I've had 8 downstream channels since January and it has improved my connection somewhat though the other week there was some instability at around 11pm for an hour or so on a few days, it's been fine since. All I am awaiting for now is the new config file and upstream bonding, my upgrade says March - April.

March April here too but no sign of the channels being upgraded yet.

artnada said,
"Free" for extra £ per month...before any upgrade.

Yeah... read the comments above. The extra you are charged is nothing to do with the upgrade. My ISP (Sky) has put their prices up and they're not even upgrading.

Considering im actually paying for 700k and soon to be getting 20mbs, All through FREE upgrades. Up time is 99.9% and ping is average 12ms with 9.80mbs average current download speeds, Happy here.

Our internet has become slower than 56k since these upgrades were purposed and our bill increased. I'm in the cardiff area and using the 30mbps student service. This page takes about 1 minute to load including comments on the mobile version.

ShMaunder said,
Our internet has become slower than 56k since these upgrades were purposed and our bill increased. I'm in the cardiff area and using the 30mbps student service. This page takes about 1 minute to load including comments on the mobile version.

Have you called them to get it fixed?

SnoopZ said,

Have you called them to get it fixed?


We were told that it would slow down, but didn't know it would be this much. If it persists then we will get a engineer out again.

Contact the social media team via facebook.com/virginmedia or @virginmedia via Twitter.
These guys are very helpful and had if needs be they will ask you to log your enquiry here http://www.virginmedia.com/socialmedia. Note, where it says "Account password" that would be your "telephone password" you would have set up when your VM account was made used for telephone enquiry.

Hope you get things sorted.

My first speed with Virgin(Ntl) was only 600K and have had free upgrades for the last 10 years and now i will be getting 60Mb so i am pretty happy although i am suffering from congestion at peak times so i hope the 8 downstream channels fixes that, they haven't been added last time i logged into check.

The network is being heavily upgraded and we will all be getting 8 downstream channels rather than the present 4, so hopefully that will improve things.

Wish they'd sorted out the slower speeds in my area before doing this, because now it's just going to be even worse. I couldn't watch a 360p YT video yesterday without leaving it to buffer for 5 minutes, and I'm on "50mb" (in air quotes), with my laptop and tablet being the only things on the network, and in a room where I easily pull 2mb+ over wifi when it's behaving.

Nothing but bad experiences with them and their engineers tbh, I'm salivating at the chance to get an ADSL connection again.

Have you ever had a good '50Mb' service. I guess what I'm asking is did you get close to the advertised 50Mb speeds at one time and now it has significantly degraded to the poor service you describe, or has it always been poor?

I'm based in Northern Ireland and despite the odd splutter here and there, my 50Mb service is normally fairly close to the advertised speeds. During my 15 year history with CableTel -> ntl: -> Virgin Media (13 with cable broadband) I've always gotten a service that's pretty close to the advertised speeds. Can't say the same for my friends experience with ADSL... Of course, there has been the rapid boom in torrents and P2P traffic in the last 5+ years and that takes its toll too

The 50Mbps and 100Mbps tiers are being merged to a speed of 120Mbps eventually and the 100Mbps tier will see a price reduction to to match the 50Mbps tier.

hardly a free upgrade. got a letter in the post saying they're charging me more on my bill.

I don't even think I'll benefit from the free upgrade as it wont touch my area any time soon and I leave my house in 4 months. also wont be moving to a house that has virgin media available.

edit:
just checked they say will upgrade in July - I move out in July.

b_roca said,
True, but mine has gone up £4.50pm, which is quite considerable really.

Mine only went up a bit (can't remember exactly) it was essentially in line with inflation. For 2x broadband speed I'm not complaining!

It's not free though is it? I got a letter saying my bill was going up £3.50 from April.. 1 months notice for a bill increase is rather unprofessional... and it falls a month BEFORE my area upgrade.

I love virgin media and i'm happy about the upgrade but the free part is a little misleading.

ClearedForDuty said,
It's not double the price though either, is it.

Well i'm currently paying £51.99 for 10MB broadband (amongst other things) i can upgrade to 30MB broadband right now putting my bills to £56.99.. I'm being upgraded to 20MB for ''free''.. putting my bills to £55.49.. so which ever way you look at it, i'm paying for my upgrade.

In documentation that I've subsequently received from VirginMedia about the upgrade they've stated that once the XXL customers (of which I am one) are upgraded to the 100Mbps service they will be further upgraded to 120Mbps. Can't complain!

From the VirginMedia 'Double Speed' website:

And as an extra thank you, we'll be boosting our up to 100Mb packages up to 120Mb. This will also include customers on Broadband XXL (up to 50Mb). These upgrades won't start until the summer and in most cases will follow shortly after the main upgrades. We'll be in touch to let you know nearer the time.

ClearedForDuty said,
In documentation that I've subsequently received from VirginMedia about the upgrade they've stated that once the XXL customers (of which I am one) are upgraded to the 100Mbps service they will be further upgraded to 120Mbps. Can't complain!

From the VirginMedia 'Double Speed' website:

And as an extra thank you, we'll be boosting our up to 100Mb packages up to 120Mb. This will also include customers on Broadband XXL (up to 50Mb). These upgrades won't start until the summer and in most cases will follow shortly after the main upgrades. We'll be in touch to let you know nearer the time.


Yep, we're getting extra 20Mb too for being with them for ages. Been on the same line ever since Eurobell probably a decade ago now. They became Blueyonder, then Virgin bought them + NTL, and it all became Virgin Media.

Great to see they won't be increasing business speeds at all, and want to whack you on a 24 month contract at a higher price despite that their business site says business users will get upgraded for free.
Can't wait to get the **** off virgin, worst internet I've ever had, and I'd know a thing or too about it since I've been with them since 1996.

n_K said,
worst internet I've ever had, and I'd know a thing or too about it since I've been with them since 1996.

If you've been with them since 1996 how many other ISPs did you have before then that were better? 1996 is a long time ago.