Ofcom shows Virgin Media is more super slow than “superfast” on upload speed

UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, released new research (PDF) today showing average UK broadband speeds across various ISPs. The comprehensive document gives clear insight into the positive direction of infrastructure.

Virgin Media, as expected, led download speeds with their “superfast” fibre offerings averaging above their advertised speeds. When it comes to upload, however, the speed is more super slow…

Upload speeds are becoming vital for both consumers and businesses alike, and in many cases, more important than download. It dictates how fast you can share a file, the quality of your video chats, and affects your gameplay when online gaming.

The average upload speed by FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) providers such as BT, TalkTalk, and Plusnet for “up to 76mb [download]” packages is 17.4mbps. Virgin Media’s closest package (for comparison purposes) is their “up to 60mb [download]” package which delivers 3.1mbps… a 14.3mbps differential.

In fact, Virgin Media’s top “up to 120mb [download]” package still offers below FTTC providers with its 11.4mbps upload speed.

TelecomsTech reached out to a Virgin Media spokesperson about the results to this response: “We know our customers look at download speeds first – it’s what gives Virgin Media households the ability to stream and download media content.

We make sure our upload speeds are matching what our customers need and helping them do what they want at home; but it’s our download speeds that really drive that unbeatable experience.”

After experiencing frustratingly slow uploads as a customer of Virgin Media, TelecomsTech pushed in the call to see if any plans are in place to improve the service in this area.

The spokesperson said: “We’re always looking at ways of making our services faster and more suited to our customers’ needs. At the moment, they are very much giving our customers what they need and keeping us a step ahead of that increasing demand for more connectivity at home.”

On request, no timescale for improvements was available.

For other findings, in the UK the average download speed is now 17.8mbps – five times faster than when Ofcom first started publishing results in November 2008. The average urban download speed is 31.9Mbps, average suburban speed is 21.8Mbps, and the average rural speed is 11.3Mbps.

Virgin Media will be increasing its starter superfast broadband packages from 30Mbps to 50Mbps for free. The company achieves the fastest download speeds over a 24 hour period, and this upgrade will push it above the average download speed in urban areas.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Ofcom’s report confirms the remarkable transformation of UK Broadband currently underway. The UK has the best superfast coverage of all five leading European economies, and the news that average speeds continue to rise is tremendous news for homes and businesses alike.

We are working hard to close the digital divide between urban and rural locations and are investing £790m to ensure that 95% of the UK will have access to superfast speeds by 2017.”

But not everyone shares the Minister’s enthusiasm.

Boris Ivanovic, Chairman of Hyperoptic, says: “The frustration with these types of speed reports is that it makes the mediocre sound positive. If the UK wants to compete with the fastest growing economies of the world, then it needs to be reporting double digit growth in its broadband speeds, not a couple of Mbps.

“This also means looking beyond average speeds to highest speeds, enabled by FTTH/B. China and Japan currently have 37 million and 24.7 million FTTH/B subscribers. Thirteen countries in the EU have experienced growth greater than 30% in subscribers in the past year - France and Sweden now exceed 1.2 million FTTH/B subscribers each. The UK isn’t even figuring on FTTH/B rankings. It’s time that Britons challenged the status quo, these small increases are no longer worthy of celebration.”

Should Virgin Media put more of a focus on increasing their upload speed?

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24 Sep 2014, 1:05 p.m.

I'm a Virgin Media Broadband customer on the 50 Mbps service. I currently have an upload rate of 3.11 Mbps. That is supremely slow for my needs. I run a very popular game called Warframe. At present I'm considering changing my ISP for one that 'provides' what I want. I need to reduce lag times in my online play. Other gamers I connect to complain so much about my connection being a bad host. I'm pretty peeved off at Virgin Media's advertising claiming they have the fastest broadband in Britain when players say "Are you using a 56K dial up or something?" No, you know what... I'm changing my service to another provider after I leave this comment. Thank you so much for the article. I hope Virgin takes note. They're not getting my pennies anymore.


19 Oct 2014, 11:06 a.m.

I've just done three speed tests this morning on Virgin at about 10 am Sunday.
Ping varies between 143 and 39, download between 0.15 (x2) and 0.18 MPS, and upload 0.21, 0.19 and 1.47. this isn't even good enough for reading mail, never mind using Skype. And it's fairly consistently poor at this time of day during the week. If you run about 5 speed tests in quick succession , however, upload usually jumps back up to between 20 and 30 MPS, and upload to between 2 and 5 MPS, at least for a few minutes. That's a 100x increase in speed in a few minutes, which doesn't seem credible.


2 Nov 2014, 9:22 a.m.

Virgin need to be a brand leader in upload speed as well as download speed. I have signed up to a cloud backup service and it will take 9 months of 24hour uploading before my first backup is complete!


22 Dec 2014, 11:11 a.m.

they may have one of the best download speeds but when you hit a certain mark (100mb). Any more than that is sort of pointless, instead of increasing downloads speeds beyond 100mb they could instead use it to increase uploads, so instead of 160mb down they give us the extra 60 in upload....problem solved...

i have been a virgin custamer for over 6 years and now i am seriously considering changeing my isp for another company who can supply an upload of 20mb minimum. even as a heavy gamer 30mb download is more than enough to play with but less than 10mb upload means that live streaming and game hosting is far from ideal and in most cases impossible


17 Jun 2015, 7:11 p.m.

Just been reading this article and I have to agree. I was with Virgin Media and was getting their top broadband package, however I use VPN for work and was finding it slow as I needed fast upload speeds. I found Virgin media out of proportion with their upload speed and I do think they should start to at least give a 30% upload speed compared to the download speed, at the moment it seems around 7 %. BT however seems a lot better, an 80 mb package gives you 20 mb up, much better.
I have now moved to BT fibre and the quality of service all round is much better, my VPN works perfectly.


21 Aug 2015, 9:21 p.m.

bad service all day. Ping fluctuates like hell. bad service, bad everything. So never buy from them even if they have good ervices...they need to be taught a lesson , that companies should never disconsider customers . So us all should cancel and never sign up to them even if it is 2 pounds all services.