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Gigabit Broadband Now Available Across 92% of Virgin Media’s Network


Virgin Media is nearing the end of a two-year project to upgrade its cable network to deliver 1.1Gbps broadband.

On Tuesday, Virgin Media flipped the switch on the upgrade for another 1.6 million UK households, in Lincoln, Bath, Lancaster, Fife, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Slough, Salisbury and many smaller places.

The update boosts the maximum average download speeds on Virgin’s network from 630Mbps to 1,130Gbps (although upload speeds stay at a poky 52Mbps). Virgin Media says this is 22 times faster than the national average of 50.4Mbps.

The recent progress means Virgin’s fastest speeds are now available to 14.3 million homes out of a network of 15.5 million—92% of Virgin’s footprint and over 50% of the UK.

Virgin has one final push to meet its target of extending gigabit speeds across its network by the end of 2021. The rollout began in late 2019 in Southampton, Manchester and Reading.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said: “We’re making great strides ahead in upgrading the UK and are within touching distance of bringing the benefits of future-proof gigabit broadband to everyone on our network.

“With our gigabit rollout progressing at an unmatched pace, we’re building the next-generation broadband network that’s ready for the technology of tomorrow.”

While Virgin is the UK’s undisputed leader in providing gigabit broadband, its cable connections aren’t quite the full-fibre networks rivals are laying. For one, upload speeds are limited to 52Mbps, while they're generally equal to download speeds on gigabit-cable full-fibre. And while the updated cable network is delivering download speeds of 2.2Gbps in trials, full fibre has even more capacity for faster speeds.

Virgin itself recognises this distinction: it’s why it announced this summer that it will replace its entire network with symmetrical full fibre by 2028.

Currently, the top speeds are available on Virgin’s Gig1 tariffs, with standalone broadband costing £62 per month on an 18-month contract, plus £35 upfront. You can also access the lightning-fast speeds on the Ultimate Volt bundle, which comes with 230 channels and extras including Sky Sports and Sky Cinema for £99 per month on a similar contract.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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