As online lifestyle demands combine multi-device streaming, smart home tech, gaming, social media and video calls, we need internet speeds that can keep up.
Here, we look at the fastest broadband provider in the UK (it’s Virgin, if you’re in a rush to know) and which of its current broadband plans is right for your household.
Fastest broadband provider – Virgin
Broadband Genie surveys thousands of UK broadband users to identify which service excels in reliability, value for money, customer service and, of course, speed.
While the overall winner was Plusnet Broadband, Virgin topped the speed rankings for the seventh year in a row, with an average download speed of 71.5Mbps. This is however slightly slower than its record last year of 85Mbps.
Vodafone came second, but at less than half of Virgin’s rate, at 24.9Mbps, which is also slower than its average speed last year of 34.0Mbps.
Virgin broadband packages
Virgin has a few fibre broadband packages to choose from that bundle phone and TV services, but you can also choose from broadband only packages as well. Plans are all on 12 month contracts and bundled plans have £35 set up fees (at the time of writing). Keep in mind, the prices are introductory for the first year of service and then increase.
Keep in mind, the area you live in has to be equipped for fibre connections. Use our tool below to see if you post code would qualify for Virgin’s fibre deals.
Let’s delve into the types of broadband packages available from Virgin. You can separately see the best broadband deals of the month in this article.
Fastest Virgin broadband packages
Virgin’s fastest broadband only plan, the M350, gets you average download speeds of 362Mbps for £52 per month.
If you want an even faster connection, you’ll have to bundle it with TV and mobile via Virgin’s Ultimate Oomph plan. This includes the provider’s new M500 Fibre broadband option – which offers the ridiculous average download speed of 516Mbps, along with Sky HD TV channels, phone and unlimited mobile SIM. The Ultimate Oomph bundle costs £89 per month for the first year.
Which broadband speed is right for me?
Remember, you may not actually need the fastest of speeds to effectively use the internet in your household. Your optimal speed should take into consideration the number of people online and how much is being used on daily.
Light to moderate usage: You’re in a household of two people at most and casually browse the web, or check email. Streaming is usually from a single device. In this case, look for speeds in the 11Mbps range or above.
Virgin’s M50 fibre (broadband only) plan is ideal for such households. In fact, Virgin recommends this plan for homes with up to 4 devices. Download speed average to 54Mbps and upload speeds average to 5Mbps. The M50 plan costs £37 a month on a 12 month contract.
You can pay less for a faster speed if you opt for the M100 (108Mbps) broadband and phone bundle, which is £27 per month for the first year (then £49 per month). Or if you bundle broadband with phone and TV, you can get the 213Mb speeds for £33 the first year.
Moderate to high usage: You’re in a shared household of 5 or more people and are fairly heavy users, with some streaming in 4K or streaming from smart TVs in different rooms. You might also browse and stream from your phones, tablets and laptops often. In this case, you will likely need a speed up to 60Mbps or more.
Virgin’s M100 fibre broadband would be the best option, at £27 per month for the first year (£49 thereafter). This plan allows download speeds of 108Mbps and an average upload speed of 10Mbps. Virgin recommends this for households with five to nine devices. There is a £35 set-up fee.
If you would prefer this speed without a Virgin phone line, you can get it for £42 per month on a 12-month contract. There is a £35 set up fee. Get the M100 broadband only plan here.
High usage: You’re in a big household and its a connected one – think smart speakers, thermostats, lighting, alarm systems, the full works. Most of you stream films in 4K, game heavily, download films (legally, we hope), and livestream. You might also be running an at-home business that requires frequent video calls and uploading large files to the cloud. Such usage typically needs upwards of 200Mbps.
Virgin’s M200 or M350 fibre broadband plans would be the most useful. The M200 offers average download speeds of 213Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps, while the faster M350 plan has download speeds of 362Mbps and upload speeds of 36Mbps. Again, these offers are ideal if you consume tonnes of content on a monthly basis.
The M200 plans costs £32 per month for the first year (£38 thereafter) if you bundle with a phone line, or £47 per month if you prefer the broadband on its own.
Virgin broadband rolling plans
If you don’t want to be tethered to a year-long contract, Virgin also offers its broadband plans on a rolling basis though these are more expensive. A rolling contract allows you to cancel anytime with 30-day notice. All the speeds above are available on a rolling basis but include an £80 upfront fee. You can see all Virgin rolling plans here.