Christian M. 5 min read

Cable Business Broadband

Most business broadband providers use the Openreach full fibre network to deliver their fastest broadband products. However, depending on the location of your business, Virgin Media may offer the best choice for business broadband.

This guide explains Virgin Media’s alternative approach to delivering ultrafast broadband using its proprietary cable broadband network.

Continue reading to understand if your business could benefit from Virgin’s cable broadband technology.


How does Virgin’s cable broadband work differently?

The best way to understand Virgin’s cable broadband network is to compare it to the fibre optic broadband networks offered by Openreach:

  • Fibre optic business broadband (Speeds up to 80Mbps) – Fibre optic cables run only as far as an Openreach cabinet on your street. From there, the connection uses copper cables to reach your commercial property.
  • Full fibre business broadband (Speeds up to 1,000Mbps) – Fibre optic cables run all the way into your property, connecting directly to your business broadband router.
  • Cable business broadband (Speeds up to 1,100Mbps) – A part fibre network that uses coaxial cables for the ‘last mile’ connection between the local internet cabinet and the end-users business.

Virgin’s coaxial cables enable significant performance advantages in broadband speed and reliability compared with ordinary fibre optic broadband.

Why are coaxial cables better than copper telephone wires?

From the 1980s onwards, coaxial cables gained prominence for their important role in advancing cable TV, largely replacing TV antennas as signal receivers.

Initially exclusive to cable TV signal transmission, these cables evolved to accommodate telephone signals and the internet.

Software advancements have enabled coaxial technology to keep pace with rapid evolutions in communication technologies.

Today, coaxial cables boast greater bandwidth, enhanced shielding against interference, and superior resilience against signal loss over extended distances.

How fast is Virgin Media’s cable broadband?

Virgin Media’s HFC broadband employs the DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) standard, an international benchmark for data transmission over cable systems.

Previously, DOCSIS 3.0 enabled Virgin Media to deliver speeds reaching up to 300 Mbps. However, since the introduction of DOCSIS 3.1, Virgin’s cable broadband has been able to support download speeds soaring up to 1.1 Gbps.

Virgin Media’s best business broadband package offers gigabit internet speeds with similar performance to the top full-fibre packages offered by providers like BT business broadband, which utilise the Openreach network.

💡 The fastest business broadband contracts are expensive. Determine how much internet speed your business needs.

Comparing cable to full fibre performance

The headline download speeds of the best full fibre and cable business broadband packages are similar, but here we’ll compare specific aspects of their performance:

Download speed

  • Cable business broadband – Up to 1,100 Mbps
  • Openreach full fibre – Up to 1,000 Mbps

Verdict: Both gigabit broadband speeds are sufficient for most business activities, providing ample bandwidth for multiple simultaneous users.

Upload speed

  • Cable business broadband – Up to 100 Mbps
  • Openreach full fibre – Up to 120 Mbps

Verdict: Performance is similar for both. Businesses that regularly need to upload data-intensive files should consider a leased line business broadband service.


  • Cable business broadband – c.15ms
  • Openreach full fibre – c.10ms

Verdict: Full fibre offers better latency. This is particularly advantageous for live video services with remote employees. Visit our full guide to latency for more information.

💡At Business Broadband Hub, we’re experts at helping Britain’s business owners find the best broadband packages. Compare business broadband deals today.

What are the advantages of cable broadband?

Virgin Media’s cable broadband presents several important advantages over other fibre networks:

  • Wide Coverage – Virgin’s cable broadband is available to 15 million UK properties and, where Openreach coverage is limited, can offer the only viable option for gigabit broadband.
  • Gigabit Speeds – Cable broadband is among the best-performing business broadband connections. See above for details.
  • Bundled Services – Virgin Media offers commercial broadband bundled with business phone lines, O2 mobile broadband, and 4G broadband redundancy backup.
  • Affordability – Virgin’s cable broadband offers a spectrum of pricing tiers starting at 400 Mbps.

💡Review the latest offers on our Virgin Business Broadband page.

What are the disadvantages of cable broadband?

If you are considering cable broadband for your business it’s important to be aware of the following potential drawbacks.

  • Limited Rural Availability – Like other fibre networks, Virgin’s cable broadband is not present in most of the UK’s rural regions. For many in these areas, alternatives like mobile business broadband, or even Starlink, might be more viable options.
  • Higher Latency – Despite cable broadband’s gigabit capabilities, it cannot match the low latencies of other fibre connections.
  • Long Contracts – Switching to a cable business broadband contract currently requires a minimum contract term of 24 months.

Is cable business broadband available in my area?

Virgin Media maintains a postcode checker on their website, which can tell you if their cable business broadband packages are available at your commercial property.

Is Virgin Media transitioning from cable to full-fibre?

Regrettably, coaxial cables lag behind fibre optic cables in aspects such as bandwidth, signal strength, and reliability.

While cable broadband has managed to compete with full fibre through system updates, inevitably, full fibre will eventually realise its superior potential.

Even though cable broadband offers high-performance connections, Virgin Media has set its sights on transitioning from cable to full-fibre connections.

Review Virgin Media’s Network Expansion in your area page for more details about the status of the cable broadband in your area.

Cable business broadband FAQs

Our business broadband experts address additional questions regarding cable business broadband.

What is a coaxial cable?

A coaxial cable is a type of electrical cable that consists of a central conductor surrounded by an insulating layer, a metal shield, and an outer insulating layer. It is commonly used for transmitting television signals, internet connectivity, and other data.

Why is Virgin Media the only owner of a cable broadband network network?

Virgin Media was established in 2006, following the merger of NTL and Telewest, two primary stakeholders in the UK’s coaxial cable networks. Subsequently, Virgin Media persistently acquired other cable providers, swiftly reinforcing its status as the predominant owner of the network.

Over the following decade, Virgin made substantial investments in integrating fibre optics into street cabinets. This led to the development of the Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) network, enabling Virgin Media to deliver high-speed broadband with significantly reduced investment compared to competitors who had to implement FTTP to achieve comparable performance.

As of 2024, only Virgin Media and Wight Fibre provide high-speed cable broadband via their HFC networks. It’s worth noting that Wight Fibre’s cable broadband is limited to select properties on the Isle of Wight.

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