Virgin Media switches on 1Gbps broadband across Irish network

20 Aug 2020

Paul Higgins, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media Ireland. Image: Jason Clarke Photography

Virgin Media has made 1Gbps speeds available on almost all of its national network, covering nearly 1m homes in Ireland.

Both new and existing Virgin Media Ireland customers can sign up to gigabit broadband from today (20 August), the company confirmed. Speeds of 1Gbps will be available across 97.5pc of premises linked to its network. Up until now, the maximum speed available to Virgin Media customers was 500Mbps.

Existing customers will have to upgrade if they want to avail of the higher speeds, with prices starting at €60 a month for six months for a broadband-only package, rising to €85 a month thereafter. The service will also be available packaged with telephone, TV and mobile services.

“We’re not announcing plans or ambitions or focusing on limited areas. Instead, from today, we’re providing lightning-fast broadband connectivity across the country on our gigabit network,” said Paul Higgins, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media.

“We’re able to do this as a result of our constant investment across many years in our infrastructure and network capacity, now totalling over €1bn, together with the most advanced in-home customer experience.”

According to the company’s research, there was a 40pc increase in data usage and a 22pc increase in Wi-Fi usage across its network between March and June this year. Over the first 10 weeks of Covid-19 restrictions, customers downloaded more than 50pc more data per day on average.

Word of caution

Customers looking to sign up to the package will require a gigabit-capable router. Virgin Media said that customers who switch to the 1Gbps service will receive the company’s new V2 router, built on DOCSIS 3.1 broadband technology.

Commenting on the launch, Daragh Cassidy of welcomed the availability of 1Gbps broadband. However, he said that “the price isn’t exactly cheap” and that customers should ensure beforehand that they can avail of gigabit broadband.

“Older laptops and computers often can’t reach speeds anywhere near as fast as 1Gbps, while if your device is infected with a virus or malware this will significantly slow down the speed of your connection too, no matter what plan you’re on,” he said. “Wi-Fi connections will always be slightly slower than a wired connection too.”

One of Virgin Media’s competitors in this space, Eir, announced in June that its gigabit fibre network is now available in 47 towns across the country. As part of the company’s €1bn capital investment programme, Eir is investing €500m in Ireland’s fibre network, which aims to cover 84pc of premises in the country once completed, with 90pc of those served by fibre to the home.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic