Virgin Media speeds to a new milestone that spells bad news for Sky and BT broadband
Virgin Media has now become the largest gigabit broadband network in the UK – beating Openreach, which supplies the broadband infrastructure for a number of well-known brands, including BT, EE, TalkTalk, Zen, Sky, Giganet and more. At the latest count, Virgin Media now supplies 3.6 million premises with its Gig1 gigabit fibre speeds.
For those who don’t know, Virgin Media Gig1 offers speeds of 1,140Mbps. The average broadband speed in the UK right now is 64Mbps. That’s almost 18x faster downloads and should be more than enough bandwidth to handle dozens of video calls at once, video game streaming, watching boxsets on different TVs around the home in pixel-packed Ultra HD and much, much more.
While 1,140Mbps speeds might seem like overkill at the moment, Virgin Media says that broadband data-usage tends to increase tenfold every seven years in the UK. This rule of thumb means we’ll all be crying out for Virgin Media’s Gig1 – as well as rival offerings from BT – in order to take advantage of emerging technologies, like 8K video streaming and cloud-powered gaming in the next decade or so. In the meantime, it means you’ll never see a buffering icon when watching Netflix at peak times.
Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford are the latest locations to benefit from the gigabit fibre network, following the likes of Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Southampton – the first to benefit from the speed boost. According to Virgin Media, it’s well on track to hit its goal of connecting 15 million homes to its eye-wateringly fast fibre broadband by the end of 2021.
Commenting on the news that Virgin Media now operates the largest gigabit fibre network in the UK, Virgin Media Chief Executive Officer Lutz Schüler said: “We’re proudly leading the charge to make the UK faster by offering our gigabit connectivity to more homes than any other provider.
“We set out an ambitious target to roll-out gigabit speeds across our entire network of 15 million homes by the end of next year, and we’re on track to deliver that promise with Glasgow, Leeds and Bradford being the latest cities to have access to our blisteringly-fast Gig1 service reaching 1,140Mbps.
“Providing next-generation connectivity across the country is a mission that is increasingly important as the role of our services to everyday lives and the economy has never been clearer. We’ll be connecting more cities to our gigabit network this year at a speed and scale unmatched by anyone else. Whatever the future holds, we’re connecting our customers to what’s next.”
Anyone who takes out a Gig1 Fibre Broadband plan will benefit from Virgin Media’s new gigabit-capable router – the Hub 4. The new router is Virgin Media’s fastest to date and features improved WiFi hardware to provide speedy and reliable connectivity throughout your home.
The Hub 4 boasts more antennae than its predecessor, the Hub 3, meaning it can manage multiple devices at the same time around the home which can all share the hyperfast speed.
So, if you’ve got plenty of connected home gadgets – from smart doorbells, security cameras, always-listening smart speakers from Google or Amazon and more – these should all get a strong connection throughout peak times. The new router makes use of Virgin Media’s next-generation broadband technology, known as DOCSIS 3.1, which it will deploy across its entire cable network over time.
Gig1 broadband is available to new and existing customers and can be packaged with or without telephone, TV and mobile services. Prices start from just £62 per month on an 18 month contract with a guaranteed price freeze for at least 24 months.
Openreach, which – like Virgin Media – has recently announced plans to dramatically expand its gigabit fibre footprint across the UK to boost connectivity, currently supplies ultra-fast speeds to 2.75 million premises in the UK. The company has plans to expand this figure to 4.5 million homes by March 2021.
After that, Openreach says it hopes to reach an additional 20 million premises by the late 2020s.
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