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What is Virgin Media gigabit broadband? Virgin’s Gig1 hyperfast service reaches new high speeds in latest trials

Virgin’s hyperfast broadband service could give you multi-gigabit download speeds – if you qualify for it

Virgin Media’s Gig1 hyperfast gigabit broadband service has just reached new highs in trials across Manchester and Southampton. The tests – run using Virgin’s existing fibre-optic network – produced speeds of up to 2.2Gbits/sec (gigabits per second), some 40 times faster than the local average and almost twice as fast as the Gig1 broadband service currently available to Virgin customers. But what exactly is Virgin Media gigabit broadband?

Initially launched in London at the end of 2019, Virgin Media has since enabled gigabit internet for around 7.1 million homes across Great Britain and Northern Ireland and plans to complete the rollout by the end of 2021.

By the end of this year, around 15 million customers will be able to upgrade to gigabit internet, with download speeds potentially reaching lofty highs of 1,130Mbits/sec for the average user. For comparison, the current average download speed in the UK is just 64Mbits/sec; a 20GB download that takes 45 minutes at the UK average will take less than three minutes on Virgin’s gigabit service.

Better yet, Gig1 broadband requires no engineering work or additional infrastructure, meaning Virgin can upgrade every household on its network remotely. 

Here’s everything else you need to know about Virgin Media gigabit broadband.

Choose your Virgin Media broadband package here

Can I get Virgin Media gigabit broadband?

Of course, there are a few caveats. Chief among them is availability: the Gig1 service is available in select few locations at present, so you may have to wait your turn. At the moment, you can access Virgin’s gigabit service if you live in or near to one of the following cities:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Cardiff
  • Coventry
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Reading
  • Southampton

Many towns in surrounding boroughs are also eligible for the Gig1 upgrade. These are listed on Virgin Media’s website, where you can also use a postcode checker to determine whether your area has been upgraded.

Choose your Virgin Media broadband package here

How much does Virgin Media gigabit broadband cost?

Availability aside, the other major consideration is the price. The Virgin gigabit package (confusingly called M1000 on Virgin’s website) starts at £62/mth for 18 months, with a £35 upfront cost and Hub 4 wireless router included. You’ll need the Hub 4 to make the most of the service, Virgin says. This price is for broadband only: if you want to add phone, TV and SIM contracts to the plan you could be looking at spending around £102 every month.

The good news is that the Gig1 service is the only one of Virgin’s broadband plans that doesn’t increase in price after the first 18 months. In fact, Virgin guarantees that the price won’t change for at least the first 24 months of your contract. By comparison, the M500 package (with average speeds of 516Mbits/sec) starts at £46/mth then increases to £62/mth after 18 months, leaving you paying the same amount as a Gig1 customer at half the speed.

How do I get Virgin Media gigabit broadband installed?

The final caveat is of course that new customers transitioning to Virgin Media gigabit broadband from another provider will still need to be visited by an engineer. Virgin operates its own independent fibre-optic network, which means you’ll need to be hooked up before you can enjoy Gig1 broadband – but as we’ve already mentioned, existing Virgin customers can sidestep this requirement altogether. Virgin is in the process of remotely activating Gig1 support for customers across the UK.

If you’re interested in making the move to Virgin Media’s Gig1 hyperfast broadband service, be sure to have a read of our full Virgin broadband review.

Choose your Virgin Media broadband package here

Do other ISPs offer gigabit broadband?

You don’t have to become a Virgin Media customer to enjoy gigabit internet. BT, Vodafone and Hyperoptic all offer similar services for similar prices, although similar limitations also apply. Hyperoptic is already available in around 40 towns and cities across the UK, while BT’s Full Fibre 1000 broadband and Vodafone’s Gigafast service are rolling out across the UK right now.

You can check whether you qualify for BT’s gigabit service here, Vodafone’s service here and Hyperoptic here. Prices start at £60/mth for BT Full Fibre 1000; £43/mth for Vodafone Gigafast; and £60/mth for Hyperoptic. None of these providers match Virgin’s average speeds of over 1Gbits/sec, with most quoting around 900Mbits/sec average.

Editor’s note (21/04/21): This article incorrectly claimed that Hyperoptic’s broadband network was limited to parts of London. This error has been corrected. 

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