What is Virgin Business VOOM?
If you keep up with rising stars in British business, then Virgin Business Voom may be a name you’ve heard around before. If you’ve been on the search for broadband foVirr your UK business, Business Voom has almost certainly popped up somewhere too.
So what is it?
Virgin Business Voom is the ‘lightning fast’ fibre broadband provided by Virgin Media aimed at businesses. It claims to provide ‘all the speed you need’ and includes business mobile SIMs and a host of other perks, features and add-ons.
Many in the business community will be familiar with VOOM from the initiative started in 2010 by Richard Branson’s Virgin company that provided opportunities for smaller businesses. Primarily focused on receiving many pitches from aspiring startups, the initiative set a Guinness World Record in 2016 by having 160 businesses pitching non-stop for 29-hours during the Global Entrepreneurship Week event in 2016.
During the initiative, which has now been wrapped up, millions of pounds were invested in prize funds to support innovative small businesses across the country. The last annual Pitch to Rich competition in 2018 had over 3,500 businesses competing for the opportunity to pitch to Sir Richard Branson himself in an attempt to win a chunk of the £1 million prize fund.
Virgin has not abandoned its attempt to support small British business growth; it is taking a moment to reflect on the successes and failures of the initiative that ran through the 2010s. Whilst they have proudly stated their pride in surpassing their’ nominal target with more than a year to go’, concerns have been raised about the inability to measure the ‘specific impacts’ of the businesses that have been supported. Virgin hopes this will be an area where they can improve even more in similar initiatives in the coming years.
In the meantime, Virgin’s broadband offering means the British business titan can continue to work with newcomers and smaller groups in the UK corporate scene.
Virgin Business VOOM price points
Voom Fibre Broadband is currently offered at four tiers with different prices and perks. Beginning at just £32 per month, businesses can get download speeds at a slick 350Mpbs on Voom Fibre 1. Fibre 2 and Fibre 3 are the next two tiers, offered at £47 and £50. The cream of the crop is Voom 500.
This mega package allows businesses download speeds of up to 5000Mbps, upload speeds of 50Mbps, the ability to choose between dynamic or static IP’s (Internet Protocol), and a rapid 12 working hours resolution time from first reports.
This bundle comes in at only £62. All packages can be upgraded to bundles that include unlimited calls for just £7. Adding 4G back up that allows business to switch straight to 4G if something goes wrong costs the same. These all come as 24 month contracts, which is fair considering Virgin’s work to get business broadband up and running, but for a slightly higher monthly fee, these can be chopped down to 12 months.
Some of these speeds will be more than usually needed outside special circumstances by those running a sole practice from home, such as a consulting service. For many the upload speeds, in particular, will be game-changing, however. Sharing data-intense work on a remote server, such as graphics and videos, will be a much smoother task for those who have the right broadband equipment.
Virgin Media Business can even provide symmetrical download and upload speeds for an increased cost, which no company working in these fields should be missing out on.
A variety of perks are included with all 4 tiers. Packages are available to allow your business to work and stay connected from more than 5 locations whilst a personal account manager keeps things running smoothly, allowing teams to stay focused on what they do best. The broadband installation has also been made fast and so easy that Virgin says ‘you can do it yourself. This QuickStart option not only saves on installation fees but also means the connection can get up and running almost as soon as the kit arrives through the post.
In the rare cases when a technician is needed, the 4G Start-up is available to connect you in the meantime instantly. Virgin knows that even with all the great things on offer, sometimes a bump in the road comes up. That’s why as well as the 4G Back-up on offer, a 7-day data boost on all your Voom Mobile Sims is available if something goes wrong. The aforementioned rapid tech support means that even these proper backups won’t be needed for long when they do come in to save the day.
Does that sound like a lot? That’s because it is. In their 5-star review of Virgin Media’s business broadband cable.co.uk calls everything on offer ‘overkill’ before rightly pointing out that its ‘better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Past the four main plans offered, Virgin Media Business offers leased-line setups for the bigger businesses, including a WAN (wide-area network) and a Blade Runner-esque 5Gbps (5,000Mbps). Those with these larger needs can also set up whole business phone systems and lines, SIP trunking, cloud voice solutions, business mobile plans, and even hosted unified comms, including off-premises! Such terms might sound like space talk to those running smaller operations, and that probably means your fine without.
But these advanced options come in handy for larger companies, and with the proven track record Virgin Business Zoom has with helping companies to grow, its good to know that the infrastructure is waiting there if you ever need it.
One indicator that Virgin Media business is taking broadband to companies even more seriously than its competitors is the router that it provides with VOOM packages. Whilst most broadband providers will offer the same router for residential and corporate plans, possibly with a different sticker on, Virgin offers the Hitron CGNV4-BIZ. This piece of tec is not to be sniffed at.
It can support 13 static IP addresses, dual-band wifi using the latest 802.11n/ac standard and impressive 4 Gigabit ethernet. This blows the Superhub 3 that Virgin Media provides to residential customers out of the water. The Hitron CGNV4-BIZ is up there with the best as far as routers in packages like these go, and it costs a hefty sum to get one of the fewer models that offers anything more, yet it comes included in VOOM packages.
Despite all these great perks on offer, one downside will unfortunately take the option away from many businesses. Virgin Media Business is only available to around 60% of UK premises.
This is essentially due to the infrastructure required throughout the country for FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) to operate. FTTP is the fibre wiring setup that allows Virgin Media to offer such dazzling speeds, and since all of their offers provide this, anywhere in the UK where the tech hasn’t been rolled out can’t yet join the VOOM party. Technically, Virgin Media doesn’t offer a pure fibre-optic connection due to the particular cable mostly made of copper that it uses. However, these are still much faster than standard phone lines and provides a huge gap between Virgin and other companies.
Whilst missing out on all that VOOM packages offer will be a big loss to some, it allows us to compare it to the competition. Although those who can get this offer from Virgin probably need not look elsewhere, there is one main competitor that some might consider for the different perks on offer, even if the speed can’t keep up.
The competition of Virgin Business VOOM
First, BT business broadband comes from a reputable starting point, being one of the most well-known names in the industry. Like VOOM, options for a static IP address and bolt-on calls packages are available. Small to medium-sized businesses tend to be the target clientele. Again, 24-month contracts are the default.
The gaps begin to show, at least in comparison to Virgin VOOM broadband, with the upload and download speed, which come in at 1Mbps and 17Mbps respectively for both BT’s Unlimited Broadband and Premium Broadband. This is in comparison to 50Mbps and 5000Mbps for Virgin’s Voom 500! If BT customers do want to upgrade to a fibre option on Unlimited Infinity or Premium Infinity, the offerings still only go up to 19Mbps and 76Mbps.
The provision of BT’s Guest Wi-Fi is a nice touch. This tool is undeniably handy in boosting company security by importantly allowing guests to connect to Wi-Fi (which will be expected by many visitors) without sharing log-in details, passwords etc. It also automatically blocks illegal and malicious content from the network, helping make operations really watertight. The inclusion of BT Business Email Lite with 1GB of hosted email per user is also a nice touch, and add-ons are even available to boost this to 1TB per user and add online access to Microsoft Office apps.
If, like me, you’ve had the itch of seeing BT’s locked Wi-Fi hotspots almost everywhere then this is your opportunity to get it scratched. Over 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK become freely accessible once you get your login to the BT Wi-Fi app. For those who travel for business in particular, this can be a lifesaver. 5 million isn’t a number to be sniffed at! Installation isn’t exactly rapid, although it is unobtrusive.
Engineers use green street cabinets to change your broadband over to BT, minimizing office disruption. Unfortunately, though, this process takes a minimum of ten days. For those already on BT Home Broadband, the minimum wait time is halved, and you could be up and running in as little as 5 days! The BT Business Broadband router, named the Smart Hub offers little improvement on the Home Hub they provide to residential customers.
However, it offers impressive Wi-Fi range across the property and is very easy to set up, essentially being a case of plug and play. You can’t discuss BT without mentioning their reliability, and the transparency on their website goes a long way to assuring customers on this point.
BT business live chat is easy to reach, and unlike most providers, the connection on offer is truly unlimited, as opposed to most providers who enforce a fair-use policy that caps similarly-worded offers. Ultimately though, for many in the market for speedy internet, BT’s use of FTTC (Fibre to the cabinet) and the subsequently limited speeds means it won’t be able to compete with Virgin in the areas where both are available.
As FTTP becomes more widely available across Britain, expect BT to start providing this option widely. A minimal number of areas do currently have access to BT’s ultrafast broadband, and this area is likely to grow in the coming years.
The only other company that offers FTTP on a wider scale is Gigaclear. Whilst many may be skeptical of entrusting their company’s connectivity to a relatively obscure name in the broadband business, their outstanding speeds of up to 900Mb can’t be argued with. By the time FTTP becomes available nationwide, they may have made enough of a name for themselves to compete with the other fibre cable providers that will surely arise in the next decade.
In the meantime, though, Virgin Business VOOM packages are ahead of the pack. If its available in your company’s area, get connected for enough speed to stay at the front of the pack.
Other useful links about business broadband
TalkTalk ultrafast business fibre
7 Reasons you need business wifi
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