Virgin Media has confirmed plans to boost its broadband service nationwide with a swathe of upgrades designed to make browsing the web and bingeing on Netflix in crisp Ultra HD quality a whole lot faster. The shake-up, which was announced earlier this week, includes a new option for customers to sign-up to 18-month contracts to keep bills at discounted prices for longer and improved ways to add TV channels to your current plan.
But perhaps the most welcome announcement from Virgin Media this week comes to those subscribing to its Ultimate Oomph bundle. This update will bump anyone on this plan from M500 to M600 broadband speeds with it being confirmed that this change will be applied at no extra cost. M600 should bring downloads to your living room at over 600Mbps which is around 10 times faster than the UK average.
Virgin says that the free boost will arrive with customers when the speed tier becomes available on their street.
Along with that upgrade, there’s also another big broadband change with the arrival of Virgin’s M500 for all customers. As the name suggests, M500 offers average download speeds of 500Mbps, which means you can beam a 4K movie to your telly in around 2 minutes.
Until now, M500 has only been available to those who subscribed to Virgin Media’s Ultimate Oomph bundle, which includes a 4G SIM-only plan for your smartphone, Sky Sports and BT Sports, two TV V6 set-top boxes and more. However, this speedy broadband is now open to everyone.
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If you’re only signing-up for the M500 broadband speeds, you’ll need to spend £46 per month for the first 18 months. That might sound like a lot, but compared to the £140-odd that you’ll have to pay for the Ultimate Oomph bundle at the end of the discounted first 12-months, it’s a bargain for those speeds. It’s also much faster than the majority of BT’s broadband plans.
In fact, the quickest speed BT currently supplies nationwide is Fibre 250, which offers downloads at average speeds of 300Mbps – around 200Mbps slower than Virgin.
“We’re adding the racing stripes to our entire bundle line-up by making our M500 Fibre broadband available with all of our packages,” said Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media’s Chief Operating Officer. “It means our customers can live life in the fast lane and do everything they want online.”
The final big change that’s worth being aware of is that Virgin has cut the price of its Gig1 fibre broadband. This ultimate service can beam a full HD blockbuster into your living room in under a minute and a PS4 game will take just 14 minutes – that’s compared to around 4 hours on a standard connection.
Gig1 is currently available across Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Reading and Southampton and those lucky enough to have it in their street can subscribe from £64 per month – saving £3. Although that is a better price it’s worth noting that BT is also offering similar speeds in some parts of the country and it is cheaper than Virgin.
BT’s pricing starts from £59.99 per month. All of the changes announced by Virgin are available from this week.