Virgin Media doubles broadband speeds free of charge

Virgin Media has a well-earned reputation for championing higher broadband speeds as one of the UK’s leading internet service providers. In fact, back in July, we reported that the company was trialling connections with downstream speeds of up to 1.5Gbps (and 150Mbps upstream), which at the time it claimed was the world’s fastest cable broadband connection.

The company already offers the fastest home broadband connections in the UK, with its 100Mb service having been available for over a year, and now Virgin Media has announced plans to invest £110m GBP ($168.5m USD / €132m EUR) on an 18-month programme to at least double the speeds enjoyed by almost all of its 4.1 million broadband customers, free of charge; where appropriate, customers will also be provided with new modems and routers without charge to cope with the faster connections.  

Currently, 74% of its subscribers connect via the up-to-10Mbps service, and these will see their connections double in speed to 20Mbps. The 12% of subscribers who currently have the 20Mbps service will see their speeds tripled to 60Mbps, while those on 30Mbps will also rise to 60Mbps. Those currently on 50Mbps will double to 100Mbps, while those on 100Mbps will see a more modest increase to 120Mbps.

Virgin’s 120Mbps service will enable customers to download HD movies in just a few minutes and an album in seconds, and is three times faster than the fastest speeds currently offered by rival provider, BT. Currently, its fastest service, BT Infinity, offers speeds of up to 40Mb to customers, but last year, the company announced a massive £2.5bn ($3.8bn / €3bn) investment to roll out fibre-optic broadband to at least two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by 2015, with the aim of delivering speeds of up to 300Mbps to major urban areas.

For now, though, Virgin remains the king of the hill as far as broadband speeds go, and not just on paper. According to the UK’s telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, Virgin Media customers enjoy speeds that are consistently close to the advertised downstream speeds. In November 2011, for example, Virgin customers on 10Mb connections averaged speeds of 9.55Mbps; by contrast, the average 'real world' speeds of 20Mbps and 24Mbps connections from Virgin’s leading competitors – BT, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband – was around 7-9Mbps.

British Prime Minister David Cameron voiced his approval for the upgrades, saying that Virgin’s investment in higher broadband speeds “will provide a great boost for the economy and change the way many households, consumers and businesses use the internet”.

Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Burkett, underlined the company’s commitment to supporting the Government's initiatives to dramatically improve the quality and reach of the UK’s broadband services over the next few years, stating that Virgin has a “track record of leading Britain’s digital development”, adding that “having a fast, reliable broadband service should not be a luxury”.

The company hasn’t yet provided details of changes to upload speeds, but in a statement explained that “upstream speeds and traffic management fair usage amounts will be increased in proportion to the increase in downstream speeds”. When the company upgraded its customers' broadband speeds free of charge in September 2010, upload speeds more than tripled for some customers.

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neo158 said,
Just got an email from Virginmedia, I'll be getting an upgrade to 120Mbps Broadband.

I just got this email too. Except I'm on the 10mbit package. Me thinks they screwed the email up.

"Virgin Media"
Oops! That last email, 100Mb Broadband Announcement, was sent in error.

Please ignore this, and rest assured current Virgin Media Cable Broadband customers will be receiving some good news about their broadband in the next 2 weeks. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The Virgin Media team

well i signed up with them when they was known as yorkshire cable for broadband when it was £25 per month and i still pay that today for 10mb connection, when i called virgin to complain that i was paying that when they was advertising it on web and tv for much cheaper i was told it was cause of the contract signed when i join and price on tv and web was for new customers only. i can't cancel my contract and re-join to get the newer pricing either. although i did end up with a loyalty discount which did make my bill cheaper.

so i am looking forward to the faster speed, makes the £25 per month charge a bit easier to swallow

Is this not a case of technology running ahead of needs? I'm on 50meg now and apart from latency issues during peak times am very happy with it.

I can play Xbox live while the rest of the family are streaming music / video etc no problem.

WP7 said,
Awesome, I'm currently on 30Mbps - cant wait to see 60Mbps :-)

Might be worth contacting Virgin. I upgraded to 50 from 30 a couple of months back and it worked out £3 a month CHEAPER :-\ due to a promotion

Virgin are great for speeds when there working but in the run upto Christmas when a lot of people where using tinternet the service was massively overloaded in a ot of areas.
The support forums were rammed with complaints!

I know a lot of people who've had nothing but trouble recently from Virgin on their 20mbps packages, it takes the **** a bit when they're being praised for "doubling" speeds when for my friends at least their connection barely works at all let alone quickly.

hotdog963al said,
I know a lot of people who've had nothing but trouble recently from Virgin on their 20mbps packages, it takes the **** a bit when they're being praised for "doubling" speeds when for my friends at least their connection barely works at all let alone quickly.

It "takes the ****" because a few people out of millions of subscribers are having problems? That's an odd thing to say...

those on the lower packages are getting upgraded too btw:

Broadband Size : S (2Mb) - >5mb
Broadband Size : M (10Mb) - > 20mb

So all their cable customers will have 5mb or faster, which is pretty neat.

lgabi said,
Meanwhile in Romania for $5~6/month you get 100Mbps fiber optics connection.

Taking GDP per capita into account that's probably a more similar cost than first appears.

You guys are lucky. We are browsing at 1.5 download here at work and at home I get 6.0 download. Now that's slow. This is in Atlanta, GA. I pay $50 per month for 6.0 speed at home.

Boyd Petersen said,
You guys are lucky. We are browsing at 1.5 download here at work and at home I get 6.0 download. Now that's slow. This is in Atlanta, GA. I pay $50 per month for 6.0 speed at home.

I pay £40 ($60) for 100Mbit down/10Mbit up.

You guys get stung!!

Yet still stuck here paying for 24mbps and getting 12. Plus there is no fibre optic-cable in my area, STILL so I couldn't get Virgin even if I wanted to.

~Johnny said,
If only it wasn't so damn expensive for their packages...

£40 for 100Mb isn't expensive, plus it's getting discounted soon I guess it is quite expensive if you have the TV and phone too.

Currently on 50Mb over here, and that was already plenty for me. Can't wait for 100Mb; my Steam downloads will be ridiculously fast! I can already download a full ~10GB game like Just Cause 2 in 10-15 minutes, so after the upgrade, I'll be able to download, say, Total War SHOGUN 2 (which is over 15GB), in under 10 minutes.

MightyJordan said,
Currently on 50Mb over here, and that was already plenty for me. Can't wait for 100Mb; my Steam downloads will be ridiculously fast! I can already download a full ~10GB game like Just Cause 2 in 10-15 minutes, so after the upgrade, I'll be able to download, say, Total War SHOGUN 2 (which is over 15GB), in under 10 minutes.

I have 50Mbit/s, too here in Germany.
It's just so flipping awesome, you don't know what to throw at that kind of line!

GS:mac

MightyJordan said,
Currently on 50Mb over here, and that was already plenty for me. Can't wait for 100Mb; my Steam downloads will be ridiculously fast! I can already download a full ~10GB game like Just Cause 2 in 10-15 minutes, so after the upgrade, I'll be able to download, say, Total War SHOGUN 2 (which is over 15GB), in under 10 minutes.

100Mb is great until you start downloading from servers outside of your country and get the same crappy speeds you got back on 20Mb!

(slight exaggeration but you get the point )

Sofaires said,
now i know where to move xD UK here i come!

South Korea is for you. Or Japan as well...

Those two are the wet dream of any linux iso downloader...
Grab them faster than the server can handle, you know...

GS:mac

Sofaires said,
now i know where to move xD UK here i come!

South Korea is for you. Or Japan as well...

Those two are the wet dream of any linux iso downloader...
Grab them faster than the server can handle, you know...

GS:mac

Meanwhile, in a part of the UK that doesn't have cable, I'm stuck with a 1.75 Mb/s connection from TalkTalk. I can get a fibre optic connection from BT, now, but it's a bit too expensive for us with a low income.

Sorry. I'll stop moaning.

Meph said,
Meanwhile, in a part of the UK that doesn't have cable, I'm stuck with a 1.75 Mb/s connection from TalkTalk. I can get a fibre optic connection from BT, now, but it's a bit too expensive for us with a low income.

Sorry. I'll stop moaning.

I'm in the same boat, New housing area and Virgin won't cable as its not cost affective. So I'm stuck with ADSL but seeing as I'm far from the box It's ****ty speeds

Meph said,
Meanwhile, in a part of the UK that doesn't have cable, I'm stuck with a 1.75 Mb/s connection from TalkTalk. I can get a fibre optic connection from BT

That doesn't sound right, BT Infinity is FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) so it would still arrive at your house via copper, which will be the same line your TalkTalk is coming in on. TalkTalk are a terrible ISP but give them a ring and ask for a line test, and tell them BT are offering you 40mb so there must be something wrong on their end

Meph said,
Meanwhile, in a part of the UK that doesn't have cable, I'm stuck with a 1.75 Mb/s connection from TalkTalk. I can get a fibre optic connection from BT, now, but it's a bit too expensive for us with a low income.

Sorry. I'll stop moaning.

Feel sorry for me! I'm stuck at 0.3mbps

richardsim7 said,
That doesn't sound right, BT Infinity is FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) so it would still arrive at your house via copper, which will be the same line your TalkTalk is coming in on. TalkTalk are a terrible ISP but give them a ring and ask for a line test, and tell them BT are offering you 40mb so there must be something wrong on their end

Actually, they built a new green cabinet, so now we have two. Everyone is stuck on the legacy one until we one day buy a fibre optic connection.

Feel sorry for me! I'm stuck at 0.3mbps

Yeah. That is bad!

Brian Miller said,
Here in America, Verizon advertises "Hight Speed" internet that is only 1 Mbps for about $90 per month.

no they don't... verizon's lowest tier is NO where near $90 a month, heck 3Mbit DSL is only $19 a month

PLEASE will someone spend more money on rural broadband, we're on Virgin and most of the time you can't even watch a YouTube video without it stopping to buffer every 5 seconds -_-

CDav said,
PLEASE will someone spend more money on rural broadband, we're on Virgin and most of the time you can't even watch a YouTube video without it stopping to buffer every 5 seconds -_-

These are private companies and if they brought fibre to the cabinet in every hamlet and village the costs would be astronomical Without government grants (which are work in progress) it isn't happening.

CDav said,
PLEASE will someone spend more money on rural broadband, we're on Virgin and most of the time you can't even watch a YouTube video without it stopping to buffer every 5 seconds -_-

I'm guessing you're on Virgin National, which is just a bog standard ADSL service =\

CDav said,
PLEASE will someone spend more money on rural broadband, we're on Virgin and most of the time you can't even watch a YouTube video without it stopping to buffer every 5 seconds -_-

You might have an issue with your computer or may be just your browser. YouTube should run fine even with 2Mbps speed without considerable lag.

thealexweb said,

These are private companies and if they brought fibre to the cabinet in every hamlet and village the costs would be astronomical Without government grants (which are work in progress) it isn't happening.


Yeah I know I don't even need fibre though, just something better than this! Our town has about 9000 people living here and more in the surrounding areas so if someone could offer high speeds I'm pretty sure everyone would jump ship and move to them!

still1 said,

You might have an issue with your computer or may be just your browser. YouTube should run fine even with 2Mbps speed without considerable lag.

Definitely not computer or browser - we don't even get 2Mbps (unless it's the middle of the night when no one else in the town is online), sometimes it's even gone below dial-up speed...

SuperKid said,
Hopefully most people will be on DOCSIS 3 then, ready for even faster speeds in the future!!

Anything above 20meg will be DOCSIS 3 (So 60, 100 and 120). The only people left on older DOCSIS will be those who are currently on 10 and going to 20 with an old modem.
All new customers get a Superhub as standard, which is DOCSIS3.

excalpius said,
Another place when the US is falling behind technologically behind other nations...

falling behind? Holland has had 20mbit ALL over the country (98% coverage) for more then 10 years already. i got 40mbit vdsl, and im below average! Average speeds throughout the whole country is 65mbps.

And we have had no bandwidth limits either since dial up era (early 90s)

excalpius said,
Another place when the US is falling behind technologically behind other nations...

Your country is in too much debt to give everyone faster broadband.

excalpius said,
Another place when the US is falling behind technologically behind other nations...

behind? over 40% of the country has access to 100Mbit service now via cable or Fiber due to companies like comcast, time warner, cox, verizon, and a few local fiber projects for communities comcast which has a 39% market share has DOCSIS3 deployed across the entire country now and allows up to 105/15Mbit

the only thing that makes us look bad is rural areas which corporations see as "not worth the money" so WISPS have to take over, but a lot of them are going LTE and giving out 15Mbit / 2Mbit wireless internet and the latency on that is pretty good to, our local WISP uses verizon's LTE network and we get 17Mbit down with only 59ms latency on average

neufuse said,

behind? over 40% of the country has access to 100Mbit service now via cable or Fiber due to companies like comcast, time warner, cox, verizon, and a few local fiber projects for communities comcast which has a 39% market share has DOCSIS3 deployed across the entire country now and allows up to 105/15Mbit

the only thing that makes us look bad is rural areas which corporations see as "not worth the money" so WISPS have to take over, but a lot of them are going LTE and giving out 15Mbit / 2Mbit wireless internet and the latency on that is pretty good to, our local WISP uses verizon's LTE network and we get 17Mbit down with only 59ms latency on average


yeah how much does it cost? UK ISP's provides 60Mbps for the same price I pay for 7Mbps.. Yes, we are way behind in that perspective. Also, my ISP is big in my place and all they did is made a new plan 40Mbps but the rest remain the same... Look at them most of them got double the speed at no extra cost.

Edited by still1, Jan 12 2012, 4:53pm :

neufuse said,

behind? over 40% of the country has access to 100Mbit service now via cable or Fiber due to companies like comcast, time warner, cox, verizon, and a few local fiber projects for communities comcast which has a 39% market share has DOCSIS3 deployed across the entire country now and allows up to 105/15Mbit

the only thing that makes us look bad is rural areas which corporations see as "not worth the money" so WISPS have to take over, but a lot of them are going LTE and giving out 15Mbit / 2Mbit wireless internet and the latency on that is pretty good to, our local WISP uses verizon's LTE network and we get 17Mbit down with only 59ms latency on average

What's not show and should is the price. I'm sure the 100Mbit service in the UK is 1/3 the price in the US. Paying $200/month is not really feasible for any consumer.

jedilord said,

What's not show and should is the price. I'm sure the 100Mbit service in the UK is 1/3 the price in the US. Paying $200/month is not really feasible for any consumer.

It is $53 for a 100 MB line if you also get a land-line, $60 without the land-line.

So yep, a lot cheaper:P

Shadowzz said,

falling behind? Holland has had 20mbit ALL over the country (98% coverage) for more then 10 years already. i got 40mbit vdsl, and im below average! Average speeds throughout the whole country is 65mbps.

And we have had no bandwidth limits either since dial up era (early 90s)

Netherlands - 16,039 sq mi. USA - 3,794,101 sq mi. 'nough said. Despite the US being so big, I get 35 Mbps on TWC, which is really crappy internet.

still1 said,

yeah how much does it cost? UK ISP's provides 60Mbps for the same price I pay for 7Mbps.. Yes, we are way behind in that perspective. Also, my ISP is big in my place and all they did is made a new plan 40Mbps but the rest remain the same... Look at them most of them got double the speed at no extra cost.

It all depends on where you live in the UK though...

Minimoose said,

It all depends on where you live in the UK though...


At least the cost is cheap in many places! The price I am talking about is from a city where the cost of living is below nations average Cost of living... so imagine all the big cities it would be very expensive.

Dusco25 said,
Mean while here in America I pay $50 for 15/1 and get around 11/.80

Mean while here in America (Central America). I pay $51 for 5/0.5

JoZerByte said,

Mean while here in America (Central America). I pay $51 for 5/0.5

Mean while here in America I pay $49.95 for 100Mbit fiber connection from the local town fiber project.. or pay $29 from comcast for 15 MBit, or $79.95 for 7Mbit from Verizon.....

price is all relative to where you are and who you deal with...

Dusco25 said,
Mean while here in America I pay $50 for 15/1 and get around 11/.80

Meanwhile in Canada i pay $100 a month for 75mb down and 2mb up lol

Neobond said,
I wish they were soi pro-active with this where I live. I pay for more than my line can handle

Same, With Sky I pay for "upto" 20 Meg, I get 4

I've been on their 100Mb service since September 2010 and it has been excellent. I get 98Mb/ps all times of day. I couldn't ask for more really and now they are giving me an extra 20Mb? Just excellent service. That 12Mb upload will come in handy.

Vice said,
I've been on their 100Mb service since September 2010 and it has been excellent. I get 98Mb/ps all times of day. I couldn't ask for more really and now they are giving me an extra 20Mb? Just excellent service. That 12Mb upload will come in handy.

Same! I also have Tivo on Virgin and I love it, and it comes with a dedicated 10mb line for itself too for the apps

Spirit Dave said,

Same! I also have Tivo on Virgin and I love it, and it comes with a dedicated 10mb line for itself too for the apps

I have Tivo with them also. Great box

The max speed my ISP provide is 40Mbps and have to pay huge price for it... I really envy that. I wish we had the same here.

johnporter29 said,
Virgin leading the way again. Fastest broadband on offer and getting faster!

No information when this is rolling out to everyone, I'm still on 50MB, can't wait for the double boost. Edit, just seen it's an 18 month program, I hope I get upgraded soon

Edited by Gaffney, Jan 12 2012, 5:57pm :

Cryton said,
Virgin leading the way again (in 18 months time)

To be honest they've been leading ever since they launched 50Mb several years ago. BT only just have an answer to that in the way of BT Infinity but even that is 40Mb.

Vice said,

To be honest they've been leading ever since they launched 50Mb several years ago. BT only just have an answer to that in the way of BT Infinity but even that is 40Mb.

BT announced last year that they are doubling that to 80, which is why VM have done this. Competition is good though

johnporter29 said,
Virgin leading the way again. Fastest broadband on offer and getting faster!

Double the speed with the same bandwith limitations and unplanned outages! Terrible excuse of a company.