Virgin Media 200Mb broadband review

virgin media

VIRGIN Media offer the fastest widely available broadband in the UK: up to 200Mb.

Our Rating

Value for money:

Customer service:

5 out of 5

But is that kind of speed achievable and, most importantly, is it worth the extra cash?

We hope to answer both of those questions in full in this review. Read on or skip ahead to the outcome.

The price of superfast

People looking to move all their services should pay particular attention to the offers Virgin run of their pre-made Big Bundles of TV, broadband and phone:

What's on offer? When you join online for:
virgin media Money off TV, broadband and phone for up to 12 months + free set up worth £49.95One of Virgin Media's Big Bundles
virgin media Save over £180 on broadband and phone + free set up Virgin Media broadband
(with a Virgin phone line)
virgin media Exclusive offer: 50Mb broadband + phone £5 a month for the first 6 months (then £17.50)This exclusive 50Mb broadband and weekend calls deal only

And here's a rundown of some of the main Virgin Media packages available with their new up to 200Mb "Vivid" broadband:

Package Price Line Rental (where required) Total price (inc line rental)
virgin media Vivid 200 £45.25 N/a £45.25
virgin media Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends £25
for 12 mths,
then £34
£19 £44
for 12 mths,
then £53
virgin media Player Bundle (with 200Mb instead of 50Mb) £25
for 12 mths,
then £39
£19 £44
for 12 mths,
then £58
virgin media Mix TV + Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends £31
for 12 mths,
then £44
£19 £50
for 12 mths,
then £63
virgin media Fun TV + Vivid 200 + Talk Weekends £34
for 12 mths,
then £49
£19 £53
for 12 mths,
then £68
virgin media Full House Bundle £35
for 12 mths,
then £57
£19 £54
for 12 mths,
then £76
virgin media VIP Bundle £68.50
for 12 mths,
then £101
£19 £87.50
for 12 mths,
then £120

At first glance prices do look high - with broadband plus weekend calls and line rental costing around twice as much as with the UK's cheapest up to 17Mb ADSL packages (including line rental).

People with Virgin's slowest broadband - 50Mb - wanting to upgrade also face a jump in their bill of £13 a month.

On the other hand, Virgin's 200Mb broadband with weekend calls is only a couple of pounds a month more expensive than the closest competitor - BT's Infinity 2 service, which offers speeds of up to 76Mb along with evening and weekend calls - so the price isn't actually that high compared to similar services.

But do note that only about half of the UK's households can get Virgin Media, and a smaller proportion still can currently get 200Mb.

In fact, this is where it's worth pointing out that the 200Mb service was only introduced in October 2015. Virgin are prioritising its rollout to new and upgrading customers; existing subscribers may have to wait until early 2017 before they're upgraded.

That means that the top speed many Virgin users can get is still 152Mb.

Virgin have been quite vocal about their desire to widen their availability to many more households, at the highest speeds possible, but it's going to be some time before it's near universal.

To check whether Virgin Media is available nearby, use our postcode search below - although take note about this search.

Enter your phone number and / or postcode above to check availability in your area.

The patchy coverage is partly down to technical issues - some places may simply never get Virgin Media services.

It's also partly because despite the pace at which Virgin are attempting to upgrade customers to the fastest possible speeds, it does still take a while to get the necessary equipment upgrades in place.

If Virgin Media services are available nearby, it's possible to get some idea of when the latest speed boost is likely to arrive by checking here.

For those in areas that aren't Virgin Media enabled, there are two possibilities.

Until the past year or so, Virgin Media have increased their footprint by just a little every year, mostly in new builds - and the majority of their other expansion plans have focused on urban areas, although there are now efforts to expand to smaller communities.

There are also the odd spots in Virgin Media areas that were missed out for some reason. These missed properties were rarely upgraded - sometimes only by request.

In February 2015, however, they announced a £3 billion plan to start filling those gaps, and it's being directed in part by public demand.

There's more information on making a good case for getting cabled here.

But for the lucky souls who already have access to Virgin Media, and can get up to 200Mb broadband, the next question is clearly "is it worth the money?"

Supersonic broadband: how fast?

Ok, so it's pushing it a bit to say that 200Mb broadband is supersonic, but it definitely fits in with Virgin's future-facing planes, trains, and space shuttles image: this should be really fast broadband.

The burning question, though: is that kind of speed achievable?

Short answer: the signs are promising. Virgin Media take speeds seriously and it shows.

Ofcom's last report into broadband speeds, released March 2016, showed that, on average customers received:

Average over 24 hours Peak (8-10pm weekdays)
Up to 50Mb 49.4Mb - 51.6Mb 44.6Mb - 49.1Mb
Up to 100Mb 93.3Mb - 98.2Mb 81.6Mb - 90.6Mb
Up to 200Mb 168.0Mb - 179.9Mb 148.0Mb - 164.4Mb

Meanwhile these are the most recent figures from SamKnows, the company who help Ofcom gather their speed test data, for the up to 200Mb service:

Average over 24 hours Peak (8-10pm weekdays)
August 2016 187.8Mb 158.1Mb

SOURCE: SamKnows and Virgin Media. Available here.

Virgin Media are among the few providers to consistently deliver speeds near the elusive "up to" (ideal world) speed.

The actual speeds a household receives are affected by numerous factors including household wiring and interference.

Other fibre customers will find that the speed of their connection depends on how far from the exchange or on-street cabinet they are; because they're not reliant on the telephone exchange system, Virgin users don't have to worry about distance slowing their connections.

Virgin's fibre broadband also has the benefit of being much less affected by environmental factors than copper cables.

The ISP's maximum speeds are quite a bit higher than those they advertise, in keeping with their campaigns against other ISPs for failing to meet the claims in their "up to" adverts. Note in the table above how the averages for the slower packages are above the advertised figures.

It's been a bit different with the top package, though.

Users on the old maximum speeds of 100Mb and 120Mb got much closer to those advertised speeds than customers on the old 152Mb and the new up to 200Mb package manage.

In fact, fewer than 40% of 200Mb customers were shown to get connections of at least 90% of those advertised.

Even so, the average speed achieved far outstrips anything possible from the other big fibre providers - and as we mentioned above, for a similar price.

Upload speeds

As the new speed limits are rolled out, Virgin are taking the opportunity to upgrade some of their upload speeds - and customers taking the Gamer version of the 200Mb package will get faster uploads again.

Package ...with speed boost Old upload speed New upload speed
50Mb Up to 70Mb 3Mb 5Mb
100Mb Up to 150Mb 6Mb 10Mb
152Mb or 200Mb Up to 200Mb 12Mb 12Mb
Gamer 200Mb Up to 200Mb N/A 12Mb

BT and their resellers actually offer far better upload speeds: Ofcom's latest data shows the average upload speed for the up to 76Mb fibre from EE and Plusnet was approaching 17.0Mb - which, for Plusnet, continues a pretty impressive tradition (more here).

The brakes: Virgin end user experience and traffic management

It's worth being aware that a good throughput speed on a broadband connection doesn't always lead to a great end user experience.

People using, say, Netflix, will find the service's performance affected by their ISP's traffic prioritisation, how it manages the connection to Netflix's Content Delivery Network (CDN), and by the quality of the site itself as much as broadband speeds.

Users can get some idea of what this will mean in terms of their experience by looking at their ISP's fair use policy (FUP) - which often effectively puts the brakes on heavy users.

Virgin Media used this tool quite a bit up to February 2014.

That was the point at which they brought in their 152Mb service, and with it they took the chance to get rid of their previously complicated policy. Now users only face a slowdown for going over an upload limit, which few are likely to do.

Here's how it works: users who upload more than a certain amount per hour during peak times see their upload speeds throttled by 50% for an hour.

If they reduce or stop uploading data as soon as they notice they've been throttled, they'll be able to upload at full speed again after 60 minutes have passed.

If, however, they continue to upload material to the extent that they pass another data limit, they'll be slowed again, by up to 65%, for two hours.

When Virgin introduced the Gamer packages in September 2016, they announced that people with those deals would be free of all traffic management and fair use restrictions.

Otherwise, the ISP suggest that customers set uploads to run overnight to avoid throttling - but that's not practical for everyone.

There's more detail on the Virgin Media FUP, and how it compares to that of other providers, here.

Routers: The Super Hub and Hub 3.0

virgin media super hub

Virgin Media help to keep their users' speeds high by including one of their top of the range hubs. The newest version, the Hub 3.0, is a wireless 'AC' router capable of handling data transfers at up to 1.3Gb.

Note that transfer speeds aren't the same as download speeds - but the better the stated data transfer speed, the more chance the wireless performance will offer downloads and uploads anywhere near those advertised.

To be guaranteed the fastest possible connection, therefore, it's worth connecting Hub to device via an Ethernet cable.

Those who want to use tablets and mobiles, or wander around with their laptop, will benefit from the fact that the Hub offers dual band connectivity over the 802.11ac protocol - which provides improved coverage, better range, and more sophisticated security encryption than older hardware.

Those interested in seeing how it stacks up against the hubs provided by some of the other big providers should have a look at our more in-depth review here.

The outcome: do you need it?

Putting price and speed together, is it worth paying out for Virgin's version of ultrafast broadband?

We say yes - for those who regularly use streaming services such as the BBC's iPlayer, Netflix, or online gaming - especially if they're sharing a connection.

Here's a table of the actual difference various speeds make to online activities:

Time to... download 250kB
web site
download 750MB
Youtube clip
4GB film
24Mb 0.1 sec 4 mins 22 sec 24 mins
50Mb less than
0.1 sec
2 mins 11 mins
100Mb less than
0.1 sec
1 mins 5 mins

Note that this table is based on the top speed shown, not a real world connection.

Considering that the average up to 24Mb connection (sold as up to 17Mb) often delivers more like 8Mb, it's not difficult to imagine that the actual difference is much greater than that shown above.

However, there is some evidence that the need for speed has been overblown.

Despite Ofcom's assertion in late 2014 that the minimum speed necessary for "basic" broadband is at least 10Mb, a November 2013 report found that even households with the heaviest internet usage would be fine with a connection of just 35Mb.

The report concluded that it was really only households with many users simultaneously going online and using high bandwidth applications like video calling, certain types of gaming, and peer to peer services that need very fast broadband.

Final word

Finally, there are a couple of other things worth bearing in mind for those thinking about taking Virgin Media.

Virgin Media are the only widely available UK broadband provider to offer home broadband without the need for any kind of home phone line, as we note in further detail here.

As line rental pushes ever higher this sounds attractive, but it's actually not as frugal as all that: those who do take line rental pay a discounted monthly price for their broadband, and tend to get a more attractive introductory rate.

Virgin Media also offer pay TV, and bundling that with broadband may prove to be better value in the long run.

For more on how Virgin Media TV compares to other big providers see this full review looking at the differences and similarities between Sky, BT and Virgin Media TV.

For more information on 200Mb or to sign up, have a look at this page on Virgin Media's site.

And whether you're thinking about joining or waiting patiently for an upgrade, to let us know what you think via the comments section below.


5 April 2016

We are on the Vivid 200, the broadband jumps around from 10mbs to 90mps throughout the day. During peak time everything freezes and often I'm asked by the router to put my password in again but it doesn't work. I've finally found out after four months they have "congestion problems" in west London which loosely translates to the fact they can't handle the demand. I've been told the problem should be sorted out on 14th April. I just hope they mean 2016 as I now have SKY broadband for £5 a month so at least I can get online as I work from home. The only service which seems to provide a tolerable service from what I hear is BT fibre broadband, unfortunately it's not on our street. Anyway back to the vivid party!....

24 January 2016
matthew smith

Very happy with Virgin media, we get the speeds we pay for (152mbps) and as a matter of fact, in my area Wimbledon London, at non peak times we usually average 163mbps. I'm looking forward to the 200mbps speed boost :)

2 November 2015

I've also been getting a fair bit above what I pay for. I got my upgrade of 200Mb/s today and tested it quite a few times during the day (Finished work at 3pm, home by 3:20). I am getting 206 - 208Mb/s.

22 October 2015
kevin dunne

I have the 200Mb vivid package connected via ethernet and have never seen it above 172Mb a sec.

22 October 2015
Paul H

7:20pm on a Thursday evening. 'nuff said..

14 June 2015
Paul L

I'm really glad I came accross this, I've been trying to find legitmate reviews for Virgin Media for a while now. All I've been finding is complaints about the smallest thing such as blocked torrenting websites and poor customer service. I have signed up for Virgin Media and an engineer will be at my flat on the 27th, I'm really looking forward to some faster speeds as my current provider as nice as they are just isn't cutting it for me and my download needs anymore.

9 June 2015

I'm paying for 100Mb package but routinely only see about 5Mb/s down and 3Mb/s up if I'm very lucky. I phoned Virgin Media to complain and we went through restarting the router 3 or 4 times and they told me if I wanted the contracted speeds I should use the internet between the hours of midnight and 6AM as there would be less traffic. Seriously if these guys oversubscribe and then keep signing up new customers promising the earth and failing to deliver at every turn.

18 May 2015
Carl Wilson

But look at your upload speed.

7 May 2015
Ricardo Azevedo

Just yesterday I upgraded from the 30Mb/s speed to the 152Mb/s tier I can't wait for tomorrow.

28 January 2015
Richard Ogden

The answers are almost all here.

Instead of using wifi when you could used ethernet... use ethernet and get faster more reliable speeds.

We have plenty of people posting their results on here. Ethernet cable is cheap and most of us don't trampoline whilst online FPS or MMO gaming or watching an online movie. We stay in one place where a wired connection is perfectly possible !

You don't need anything like a 50Mb connection unless you are in a very busy household with several people streaming movies or online gaming, uploading video etc at the same time.

Most of us don't live in those sorts of households.

You might get:
- 2-4 people surfing the net
- 1-2 people streaming a movie
- 1 person playing a data intensive online game.

"If you wish to view HD video on the iPlayer you'll need a 3.2Mbps or faster connection."

Netflix "5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality

Gaming 1-2.5Mbps is plenty

Surfing the net ....1-3Mbps

So... 35Mbps is going to be fine for a busy household.

If Little Billy is file sharing 24 / 7 it isn't the internet connection speed you want to be worried about, it is a knock on the door from the police or a letter from your ISP/solicitor. Giving your ISP more cash for a fatter connection for him to carry on isn't the answer... really.

Now if we are talking ping, congestion and the correlation with internet package that would be a more interesting and relevant discussion.

4 January 2015
Graeme of Farnborough writes .

In the article it states "high bandwidth applications like Voice over IP (VoIP), ". From experience I can tell you, VoIP isn't high bandwidth but it does prefer lower and consistent latency (ping times). It also relies on bandwidth in both directions so the upload speed is important. Virgin's 10:1 download to upload bandwidth ratio is pretty bad when compared to BT and others. FYI, The highest Bandwidth requirements are generated by Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Sky's On Demand services.

26 November 2014
Gareth brown

I am currently on 50Mb medium package, I thought when the faster speeds were rolling out you were to be automatically to go from 50Mb to 100Mb. I am currently still getting 50Mb, can anyone shed some light on this?

25 January 2015

When I logged into "my virgin media" on the Virgin website there was a banner add saying my area has been supercharged. Essentially you have to opt in if your area actually has had its speed increase, just give them a call.

8 November 2014

I've been with Virgin for years (Blueyonder 512k when I first signed up many moons ago!!). I've never had any real issues, only the occasional downtime. Speeds are always better than what is listed. I was with BT for a short period which throttled the speeds depending on the time of day; never again!!

29 October 2014

Just recently upgraded to 152Mb broadband and I'm achieving 160Mb, but to do this you have to mess with the router's advanced settings then go to 'wireless radio' and enable 'best performance 1.3gb' on the 5GHz radio frequency and you have to have a compatible device, also enable greenfield if you've got latest gadgets and you should achieve almost 152Mb in some places like mine you'll achieve higher. I've attached photo to show my speedtest.

24 February 2016
John Tyler

Go Jake! As far away as possible. There is more to life! Get out more!

3 October 2014
Kevin Flemming

Getting over 160Mb/sec with the Speedtest, after swapping from WiFi to direct cable to the router. If you're stuck around the 40-50Mb bracket and you have a large amount of information being sent back and forth, switch to a cable. Defeats the object of wireless, I know but that's just the way things are at the moment.

30 September 2014

The upload speed sucks - I get 18Mb _upload_ on Zen's FTTC. Also, Virgin don't offer a static IP address which can be a pain for some applications.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

1. You think 18Mb upload speed is slow? What is wrong with you, mine is 2.5Mb and it's plenty, yours is apparently somehow 10 times that and it's a problem? How?

2. You can set yourself one with a router... and what "applications" need a static ip?

15 August 2014

Just had my speed "doubled" to 50Mb/s and I'm getting 54.66 Mb/s.

Luvverly jubbly!

3 January 2015
shaun jones

I'll be getting nearly 3 times that soon xD

10 August 2014

I am struggling to get 10Mb on any device and my mobile shows I'm connected but I keep getting chucked off.

6 August 2014
Jon Footlong

Test with a decent computer via the Ethernet cable. No consumer wireless device will have the throughput to cope with that speed. Product is amazing for those big downloaders, hardcore gamers and Bluray video streamers, but is as unnecessary as 32GB RAM for the majority of the population.

1 August 2014
Pete Coventry

Sorry but...

"Virgin Media are allowing households further away from the exchanges, which will cause speeds to degrade a little, to take 100Mb.

Virgin don't use exchanges. The "cab" that everyone connects to is usually in the street and is a smaller green box. I have one right outside my house!

I get 161Mb 24/7 and I have 2 bonded together to get 322/24.

4 August 2014
Choose team

Thanks for spotting this Peter. Slip of the tongue on our part! We've now corrected this.

7 June 2014
Scott Relentles Woodacre

I have never had a problem with Virgin Media speed, I'm on the 152Mb package and I get this speed any time any day.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

Impossible, you do not get it "any time of day" as they have throttling, you ca't just avoid throttling xD. It happens most weekdays between 11 and 6.

24 May 2014

If you've upgraded to 152Mbps and are still getting low speeds (on mine it dropped to around 30Mbps after upgrade) from your superhub wireless router you'll need to reset your router to factory default settings as your router may be set to a max value of 50Mbps or so depending on what was set at installation. I reset mine and my wireless now max's out at around 68Mbps with wired running at around 125-140Mbps depending on server load.

8 May 2014
Richard Ogden

How does "We say: yes for those that regularly use streaming services such as BBC iPlayer" require a 100Mb connection?

You need to be careful when discussing "online gaming". You hardly need a 100Mb connection to play Candy Crush do you?

Many online games have plenty of issues that a 100Mb connection won't fix.


"A November 2013 report found that even the heaviest using households would be fine with a connection of just 35Mb.

The report concludes that it's really only households with many users simultaneously going online and using high bandwidth applications like Voice over IP (VoIP), certain types of gaming and peer to peer services that need very fast broadband."

So I am left thinking where is the essential analysis you rely on to arrive at your justification that it is worth getting a 100Mb connection?

The average household has to include someone streaming iPlayer (or equivalent) or playing online games doesn't it ?

16 December 2015
Melvin Howley

I had Plusnet at a previous property with it's max connection of 75mb over BT equipment and it's far superior for gaming than Virgin is. Obviously changing back when contract ends as gaming was reason for having broadband for me.

9 May 2014
Choose team

Although many households will be happy with lower fibre or even ADSL speeds and there are many other factors, including site quality, that affect experienced speeds, we think high usage households will often benefit from faster speeds. We highlighted the BSG's report on speeds to show two sides of a very contentious issue and we trust our users to make up their own minds.

5 May 2014

Very useful thanks! Looking at broadband packages for me and my housemates from July, it's looking very likely we'll be going with Virgin.

21 April 2014

Do NOT upgrade your Virgin broadband if you are in the first 6 months of installation. Virgin removed the initial 6 month discount when I did, so the £5 per month upgrade they offered actually cost £18.99 per month.

Even though I now purchased the advertised 100Mbps connection I never receive more than 25Mbps on a wired connection. This is the same as when I was on their basic service.

Virgin Media relies on small print.

8 April 2014

I've supposedly been upgraded to Virgin's 150Mb broadband but so far on a speed test I'm struggling to hit 40Mb!

16 April 2015
A Nerd

Use Ethernet not Wi-fi as Wi-fi technology isn't as fast as cable.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

Upgrades aren't supposed to be done until January, how did you get it so early?

20 August 2014

Hi, I've just had my 152Mb installed and the guy kindly told us we won't reach 152Mb on phones or tablets. You will only get the full effect of 152Mb on a HD computer or laptop! So my Lenovo tablet only picks up the 2g one and reaches 49Mb download spead. My iPhone is reaching 95Mb though!

2 June 2014

I've got the same problem but phoned up 150 (from my landline) and they are sending an engineer out tomorrow.

28 March 2014
Ken Flago

What is the point of getting 152Mbps if they have traffic shaping and 'Fair use policy'?

What a scam. I use to have 50MB XXL and it was just unusable as throttling would kick in even when watching youtube video. Imagine waiting for buffering on youtube on a 50MB connection. Useful for anything but casual browsing. You're better off with BT, Be There or anybody else if you want consistent un-throttled speed.

3 January 2015
shaun jones

I've had 60Mb for 2 years almost and never once had a problem "watching youtube" xD You must have been downloading heavily to be throttled, that's the point, you abuse it, it effects others, they slow you down, sharing is caring my friend, but you want a greedy package where it's "me me me all mine" nope.

17 April 2014

Actually, the only throttling on Virgin is now on uploads rather than downloads:
even then, back when it was in place, the worst that happened was to halve your speed. If you were on the top tier 120Mb package, you dropped to 60Mb - which is still more than the vast majority ever got out of BT et al.

2 March 2014

Thanks, saved me looking elsewhere for the info. Thanks,

28 December 2013

Really useful information. Thank you.

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