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Virgin Media Flips Switch on Gigabit Broadband Update for 1.5m Premises

Households in Bournemouth, Bristol, Sunderland, Wigan, Wolverhampton and York can now access gigabit broadband speeds through Virgin Media, as the ISP continues rolling out a speed-boosting update.

The DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade dials up speeds on Virgin’s cable broadband network to 1,130Mbps downstream (and 52Mbps upstream), from previous top speeds of 636Mbps. 

Virgin Media has been in the process of rolling the boost out to all 15.5 million premises in its footprint, with a deadline of the end of this year. Before this week. the top speeds were available to just over 7 million addresses, with areas in South Wales most recently upgraded.

Yesterday, the upgrade reached another 1.5 million premises, in cities and towns from Sunderland to Bristol, solidifying Virgin’s position as “the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider.”

Lutz Schüler, chief executive of Virgin Media O2, said: “We are upgrading the UK to next-generation connectivity and today we’re hitting another important milestone with more than half of our network now able to access gigabit speeds.”

Virgin will deliver “most of the Government’s broadband target ahead of schedule,” he added, referring to the government’s pledge to deliver gigabit speeds to 85% of the country by 2025. Indeed, when Virgin Media complete its upgrade at the end of the year, it alone will have brought gigabit broadband to around half of the country. 

However, gigabit Virgin cable isn’t quite the same thing as gigabit full fibre. While upload speeds on Virgin’s cable network are limited to 52Mbps, the full-fibre networks being built by Openreach and a range of independent providers offer symmetrical upload and download speeds.

Virgin Media itself acknowledges this difference. That's why, despite its upgrading of the cable network, it intends it replace it all with full fibre by 2027. 

In the meantime, Virgin is offering the 1.1Gbps cable speeds to households through the Gig1 tariff. Prices start at £62 per month for standalone broadband (and more for bundles with TV), on an 18-month contract, with prices fixed for 24 months. After signing up or upgrading, you’ll receive a new HUB 4.0 router equipped to handle the new speeds.

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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