Virgin Media / O2 gigabit upgrade nears completion

21 January 2022 Technology

The Virgin Media / O2 (VMO2) mega-merger says it is “within touching distance” of fully upgrading its network to gigabit speeds. Over 90% of their customers – that’s 14.3 million UK homes – can now access average download speeds of 1,130Mbps  

Going All Out On The Gigabit Rollout 

The current upgrade brings millions of UK homes up to speed with the fastest broadband available on the market after Virgin Media / O2 announced a major milestone back in September. The network operator flicked the switch for gigabit speeds to activate in Blackpool, Cambridge, Leicester, and Nottingham. At the time this covered two thirds of their network, approximately 10 million homes. 

The gigabit upgrade dubbed Gig 1 offers average speeds that are 22 times faster than the current national average. However, it seems the speed of Gig1 is challenged by the speed at which Virgin Media / O2 is installing the upgrade. A seemingly confident CEO Lutz Schüler said:

“As the UK’s largest gigabit provider today, committed to connecting our entire network to these speeds by the end of the year, our investment is helping the UK meet its broadband targets and providing consumers with connectivity fit for the future.”

Set to reach their target

Clearly, he had reason to be confident! Almost two months later to the day, Virgin Media / O2 has almost closed the gap to 100% completion; a target they’ve set for the end of 2021 and are sure to hit. Especially with the current jaw dropping rate of 5.5 million homes in just eight weeks! The latest switch saw homes in Lincoln, Bath, Lancaster, Fife, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Slough, and Salisbury added to the rota. Overall, Virgin Media / O2 estimated in total that’s another 1.6 million homes.  

What The Upgrade Means For You

We’ve covered a fair bit of the latest techy broadband news. From fibre in water pipes to the sci-fi implications of 5G. Needless to say, here at Broadband Freedom, we’re nerding out just a little bit over the latest news. And while it’s true that Virgin Media are competitors, we cannot help but feel excited about their upgrade. They’re paving the way for faster and reliable broadband for customers. We’re excited for you. 

With Gigabit broadband you can do a whole bunch of stuff. As Virgin Media / O2 themselves state, you can download movies, games, and TV shows within seconds. Some of the most taxing media for our current broadband bandwidths are videos and streaming. So, when we watch our favourite shows on Netflix, sometimes they’ll buffer. The same thing happens when our favourite song cuts out midway on YouTube. When the little ‘un starts to cry you know Mickey Mouse suddenly vanished from the screen. Disney+ is down…again.

Even superfast fibre broadband sometimes struggles to keep up with households that use multiple devices. Essentially that’s increased demand for bigger bandwidths. Combine that with 4K quality, which uses up to five times as much bandwidth as 1080p streaming, and you can see why a 100Mbps connection can sometimes falter. 


Gig1 offers download speeds of 1,130Mbps. That’s over ten times the amount of a current superfast fibre broadband package. So, your teens can enjoy online gaming sessions without disturbing your favourite show. You can sing along to your favourite song on YouTube safe in the knowledge that the music won’t cut out. And there’ll be no more tears because Mickey Mouse left the telly! 

Popular amongst gamers are video game streaming platforms like Twitch. Matching download and upload speeds will drastically improve the quality of your gaming experiences. Whether you’re streaming gameplay or a gamer who watches their favourite streamer whilst gaming. In fact, gigabit walks hand in hand with the advent of new gaming technologies like VR. You can immerse yourself in a digital online world without lagging or high latency. 

In the most recent upgrade progress update, Lutz Schüler went on to say: 

“With our gigabit rollout progressing at an unmatched pace, we’re building the next-generation broadband network that’s ready for the technology of tomorrow.”

The new upgrade promises to overhaul the way we use broadband. We’ll need faster broadband more than ever now that more of us are working from home. Gigabit internet will enable us to send and receive large files and conduct online meetings with minimal disruptions to connection.   

Virgin Media / O2 Mission To “Givabit” More  

What’s more, those lucky customers who receive gigabit internet through full-fibre will enjoy similar upload and download speeds. Full fibre means the majority of UK Households no longer need to worry about weak connections, including homes in rural areas where broadband is notoriously weak. 

VMO2 aims to give a bit more on top of the Gig1 broadband upgrade, amidst government plans to provide gigabit coverage to at least 85% of the UK by 2025. The race for a full-fibre future in the UK is on! VMO2 intends to upgrade its current fixed network to FTTP by 2028. However, Openreach expects to deliver FTTP to a whopping 25 million premises by 2026. No doubt VMO2 endeavours to compete with BT’s widespread FTTP coverage. Is it any wonder they are racing through the implementation of the Gig1 upgrade? Being the provider of the fastest FTTP broadband is an effective counter to BT’s title as the biggest FTTP ISP. 

How Much Will Gigabit Internet Cost? 

According to a recent article on VMO2’s website, customers can expect prices for Gigabit internet to start from £62.00 a month. This is for an 18 month contract that has a 24 month price-freeze guarantee. We’d recommend you check out our Guide to Your Rights as a broadband consumer before signing contracts with any ISP.  

Alongside the Gig1 upgrade, you can expect the arrival of Virgin Media gigabit-capable router. The Hub 4 router features ‘intelligent’ WIFI, providing fast and reliable connectivity. More antennae in the Hub 4 means it can deliver hyperfast speed to multiple devices compared to the Hub 3. 

Can Broadband Freedom Compete with Virgin Media?

We may not be the biggest but when it comes to flexibility we’re the best! The competitive race of digital network builders means providers like Broadband Freedom will eventually access faster networks. Expect improvements to our fast and reliable broadband packages, without the commitment of signing up to long term contracts.  

Imagine Gigabit internet on a 6 month contract? Or even a 12 month contract or possibly even monthly Gigabit broadband?

But remember, no matter how fast your Broadband is, unless you are safe online you can still fall victim to scams.