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Virgin Boosts Broadband Upload Speeds—and Raises Prices


Customers subscribed to Virgin’s ultrafast broadband packages will soon see upticks in their upload speeds, but they’ll be paying for it on their bills.

Virgin Media has lifted the upstream speeds on its 200 Mbps ultrafast broadband packages from 12 Mbps to 20 Mbps, as the provider delivers a 10/1 ratio on most of its cable broadband connections.

Upstream speeds traditionally lag well behind those of downstream speeds. As of November 2018, the average download speeds received by domestic broadband customers was 54.2 Mbps, while the average upload speed was just 7.2 Mbps, according to Ofcom data.

Most residential broadband connections are designed to be asymmetric, to reflect the way most homes use broadband, downloading more content than they upload. Upload speeds on Virgin’s cable connections have especially trailed the average, falling behind even those on slower FTTC fibre optic packages.

However, Virgin has taken steps to improve its upload speeds across all its broadband packages, as it rolls out its speedy 500 Mbps broadband. Customers on its 200 Mbps connections will be the first to see improvements, but subscribers of other packages should find their uploads ticking along faster before the end of the year.

Virgin Customers receiving 50 Mbps download speeds should see an uptick in their broadband speeds from 3 Mbps to 5 Mbps, and those with 100 Mbps downloads speeds should see upload speeds improve from 6 Mbps to 10 Mbps.

Subscribers of Virgin’s premiere 350 Mbps and 500 Mbps downstream packages will get upstream speeds of 35 Mbps.

Simultaneously, Virgin is hiking prices across its broadband range, citing the £1 billion a year it invests in its network.

In addition to supercharging speeds, Virgin has launched Intelligent Wi-Fi features to improve in-home connectivity and automatically detect and solve connection problems.

Cable broadband customers will see price increases of between £2.50 and £4.50 a month, with the average jump being £3.30, from their September or October bills. That means an average of a 4.9% increase in monthly broadband bills.

All affected customers will receive a letter from Virgin notifying them of the changes to their bills.

Virgin also attributed the price hikes to increased data consumption by customers—rising by an average of 40% annually— and a “300% increase in business rates,” which it called a “direct tax” on its network.

“Changing prices is not a decision we take lightly,” a Virgin spokesperson said.

Some of the price increases will exceed the rate of inflation, violating Ofcom’s rule about mid-contract price hikes and thus enabling customers to exit their contracts without penalty. Customers wishing to leave their Virgin contracts will have to do so within 30 days of being formally notified about the price increase.

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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