When people look for super-fast broadband the two providers they come across are BT and Virgin Media. While these two providers are not the only companies that offer fibre optic or super-fast broadband, they are the leaders in this arena. When you research these providers it is best to compare the BT internet packages against the Virgin Media packages to identify which one will work in your home.
The first thing you have to check when you look at BT and Virgin Media is the availability. BT and Virgin do provide internet to most of the country, but you need to check the availability of the fibre optic connections. Virgin Media is able to offer fibre optics to 50% of the country. However, BT is able to offer fibre optics to 60% of the country. You can see if you are able to get fibre optics by using a broadband postcode checker. These checkers determine all the connection types available for your area and who the service providers are.
If you are unable to get fibre optics in your area you should see what these providers do offer. BT internet is available to reach most people because it runs off the BT phone exchange. This includes rural areas which may not be able to get Virgin Media.
BT Internet and Virgin Media Speeds
One of the points that most consumers look at when choosing broadband is the speed of the connection. The fastest broadband package offered by BT can reach speeds of up to 78mb per second. At one point BT did offer a 100mb per second package through BT Infinity, but this has been cancelled until further notice. The fastest package from Virgin Media has speeds of up to 100mb per second.
Of course, when you look at these speeds you have to note that you are likely to not get the advertised speeds. Only 10% of all consumers will get the advertised speeds and there are a number of reasons why your speeds could be lower. If you are unable to get fibre optic broadband then you are not eligible for these super fast speeds as your connection will use ADSL cables.
Factors that can affect your broadband speed include:
How far your house is from the local exchange. If you are using an ADSL connection the distance the signal travels degrades the connection and the speeds. This is not something you have to worry about with fibre optics as the connection is not degraded on these cables.
The type of fibre optic connection you have. Virgin Media uses a FTTH connection which has the fibre optic cables running into the house. However, BT may use an FTTC connection where the fibre optic cable runs to the street cabinet and then an ADSL cable runs into the house. An FTTC connection will be slower than an FFTH connection because of the degrading of the connection in the last bit of cabling.
The Data Allowances
The data allowance of the packages is also very important when you compare the two providers. Virgin Media offers unlimited download limits with all of their fibre optic and one of their ADSL packages. The other ADSL package has a data limit of 40GB per month. BT offers unlimited broadband with two of their fibre optic packages and two of their ADSL packages. The standard BT broadband has a limit of 10GB per month and the BT Infinity package has a limit of 40GB per month.
Something you may notice when looking at the unlimited broadband is the fact that BT states that they have truly unlimited broadband. This is the best type of unlimited broadband because it is not subject to traffic management policies. All Virgin Media packages are subject to traffic management which throttles the speed of the connection during peak times.
Many consumers like to bundle their broadband packages with phone or TV options. This is possible with both of these providers as they offer a range of TV options and phone packages.
BT offers three different phone packages and you can bundle your broadband with one of 4 different TV packages. Of course, you need to have a phone line with BT because of the nature of their fibre optics. This means that most of the broadband packages you get with the provider already have the phone package bundled in.
Virgin Media actually takes bundling your packages to the next level. You are able to bundle phone, TV, mobile phone and mobile broadband packages together. Many consumers feel that Virgin offers a better TV option as you are able to get more TV channels and add on Sky Sports and Movies to the package. When you get Virgin Media fibre optic broadband you may not need a phone line which does save you money. The FTTH service this provider offers eliminates the need for a phone line and you can save money with the phone line rental costs.
The Contract Length
It is important that you consider how long you will be locked into a contract with these providers. In the time you are locked in there may be significant changes in household broadband that you want to take advantage of. Virgin Media offers 12 month contracts on their ADSL packages and 18 month contracts on their fibre optic packages. With most of these packages you are able to get a number of months at a special rate.
BT internet offers 12 month contracts with the two packages that do not offer unlimited data. However, the packages that do have unlimited data allowances are subject to contract lengths of 18 months. This does not place much distance between the two providers and the winner would be down to personal preference.
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