ADSL: Yes (only if fiber is not accessible)
Full fiber: yes
TV bundle: yes
BT is one of the UK's most famous broadband providers. It's also easy to see why the company is so popular. All in all, BT offers a great selection of speeds, a variety of add-ons, and some bundle options. However, BT is definitely one of the most expensive internet service providers on the market. In addition to this, many of the company's cheaper contracts are locked in for 24 months.
- Great choice of speed
- TV bundles available
- impressive router
- expensive provider
- long term contract
- Limited access to full fiber
Full fiber: yes
TV bundle: yes
Virgin Media boasts that it offers up to 16 times faster speeds than BT and Sky. But while the company undoubtedly offers lightning-fast speeds and a wide range of bundles, its customer service is lacking. Additionally, customers should also note that many of the deals offered by Virgin Media are at the higher end of the market, and the company only covers around 60% of the UK.
- amazing speed range
- excellent reliability
- High spec hardware
- poor customer service score
- Many trades are not worth much
- lacks coverage
BT and Virgin Media are two of the most popular internet service providers in the UK. Although both are at the premium end of the broadband market, they are very popular choices for customers looking for fast speeds and reliable connections.
BT and Virgin Media are also popular providers for a reason. After all, they offer a wide range of broadband speeds, the best broadband deals, extra perks, reliable service, and even incentives.
Additionally, while Sky has traditionally been the top choice for those looking for a broadband and TV bundle, both BT and Virgin Media are starting to push into the space. Both providers currently offer a wide range of broadband and TV bundles, including bundles that include Sky TV channels.
Many people looking for a new broadband deal will have a hard time separating BT from Virgin Media. Thankfully, this is exactly where we can help. We've done a lot of work for you and created this guide that compares the two providers head-to-head. We also made the final verdict on which one is better.
BT vs. Virgin Media: Broadband options
BT and Virgin Media both offer a wide range of broadband speeds, including superfast full fiber options that offer superfast connections. However, while BT offers a range of speeds to suit every need (including an entry-level ADSL option available in areas where customers cannot receive a fiber connection), Virgin Media focuses on speed instead. Even the slowest option is a fiber optic connection.
In a direct comparison, BT offers all of the following broadband speeds:
- BT Broadband Unlimited: Average speed of 10Mbps (only available in areas that cannot receive fiber optic speeds)
- BT Full Fiber Essentials: Average 36Mbps speed
- BT Full Fiber 1: Average 50Mbps speed
- BT Full Fiber 2: Average speed 74Mbps
- BT Full Fiber 100: Average speed 150Mbps
- BT Full Fiber 500: Average speed 500Mbps
- BT Full Fiber 900: Average speed 900Mbps
In contrast, Virgin Media offers the following speeds:
- Virgin Media M125: Average speed 132Mbps
- Virgin Media M250: Average speed 264Mbps
- Virgin Media M350: Average speed 362Mbps
- Virgin Media M500: Average speed 516Mbps
- Virgin Media Gig 1: Average speed: 1130Mbps (1.13Gbps)
As you can see, BT offers the largest range of speeds, while Virgin Media offers the fastest speeds available. This is partly due to the fact that BT relies on the Openreach network, while Virgin uses its own network and specializes in full-fiber trading.
So if you're looking for a basic fiber package or live in an area without fiber access, BT is your best choice. However, if you're looking for high-speed internet and your streaming needs are high, Virgin Media may be a better choice.
However, one more thing to note before proceeding is that both providers offer different contract lengths. BT tends to offer him 24 month contracts, while Virgin Media specializes in his 18 month contracts. Therefore, if you want to keep your detention time as short as possible, Virgin Media is the best choice.
BT vs Virgin Media: Coverage
Coverage is one area where BT has a big advantage over Virgin Media. As mentioned earlier, BT uses the Openreach network for connectivity. This means we can't offer you the fastest speeds, but it does mean we can provide you with a stable connection almost anywhere in the UK.
The Openreach network is also used by many other providers, including Sky and TalkTalk. Covers 97% of the UK. Furthermore, coverage on the network is constantly improving and Openreach aims to provide ultra-fast full-fibre broadband to 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026.
In contrast, Virgin Media uses its own network. This offers many benefits to providers. For example, the company is able to use much faster cables than the older copper-based network that Openreach relies on, so it can offer faster speeds.
However, as a direct result of this, Virgin Media's broadband coverage is lacking. Although the company is rapidly building its network, it is still only able to provide broadband to around 60% of UK properties. Therefore, Virgin Media's broadband service may not be available in your area.
BT vs. Virgin Media: TV Bundle
BT offers a wide range of internet and TV bundles, with various packages including the TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) channel.
In addition to this, you can also access Sky Cinema through BT's 'Big Entertainment' package. If you prefer, you can also add all Sky Sports channels to the company's 'Big Sport' package. If you want all the options, you can combine the 'Big Entertainment' and 'Big Sports' packages with BT's 'VIP' package. However, the price of this package is incredibly high, so if you want Sky channels, you're probably better off opting for the Sky broadband and TV bundle instead.
The same applies to Virgin Media, which offers a wide range of broadband and TV benefits. This includes options with Sky channels such as Sky Sports. But again, these bundles are more expensive, and if you want Sky channels, you're probably better off opting for the cheaper Sky TV and broadband bundle.
BT and Virgin Media: costs
When it comes to cost, both BT and Virgin Media tend to be considered low-cost broadband providers, with both companies sitting on the more expensive side of the market.
Of course, the exact amount you pay for the Internet will depend on the deals available at the time you make your purchasing decision. However, from a top-level perspective, BT prices range from £29.99 per month for the ADSL package to £54.99 per month for the full-fibre 900 option. The company also typically has set-up fees, which start at £9.99 and go up to £29.99. However, BT has now waived these.
In contrast, Virgin Media's broadband-only deals start from just £26.50 per month for the M125 option. Unsurprisingly, you'll pay the most for Gig1 broadband. It currently costs £30 per month for his first six months and £50 per month for the remainder of the contract. Both of these options are provided with no setup fees.
Neither provider is particularly cheap, but there are still some great deals to be found if you look at the right time. This is because both BT and Virgin Media offer regular promotions and sales throughout the year. That's why we recommend checking regularly for great broadband deals.
BT vs. Virgin Media: Customer Service
Neither BT nor Virgin Media score particularly well when it comes to customer service. However, BT's customer service is rated higher than Virgin Media's.
Virgin Media customers rarely complain about speed (perhaps rightly so), but customers complain that the troubleshooting section of the company's website is inadequate and that customer service agents are difficult to reach. I'm holding you. But those with complaints say the agents they spoke to were incredibly friendly and helpful, even if the wait times were long.
In contrast, statistics show that fewer BT customers are compliant. It also shows that those who file complaints experience shorter wait times. However, broadly speaking, both providers offer an acceptable level of customer service, with both having satisfaction scores of over 85%, according to Ofcom data.
You probably noticed at the beginning of our review that we gave BT a slightly higher rating than Virgin Media. After thoroughly researching the options offered by both providers, we support this.
Virgin Media can undoubtedly offer faster speeds than BT, but the company simply cannot match BT's range of coverage, range of options (including ADSL options) and superior customer service.
That said, Virgin Media is still a great broadband provider. This is especially true if you're looking for the fastest speeds available. What's more, the provider also offers a wide range of TV and broadband bundles.
In short, they're two of the country's largest and best internet service providers for a reason, and we thoroughly recommend them both.