HOMEOWNERS in Basingstoke are taking part in a trial which could deliver vastly-improved broadband speeds.

Media giant Sky has built its own fibre-optic broadband network for “a small number of homes” in Basingstoke that could deliver download speeds of up to 950Mbps. The current top download speed in the UK is 152Mpbs, from Virgin Media.

Sky confirmed the 12-month trial, run by Sky TV installers Love digital and starting this month, is taking place in Basingstoke – but would not give its exact location or size, when asked by The Gazette.

A statement said: “This trial will enable us to understand the potential for new technology to support us in giving customers an even better broadband service.” It added: “We await the results of the trial before confirming any further details.”

The trial involves the use of overhead poles to bring fibre-optic cables directly to residents’ homes instead of to the local exchange. This would reduce the need to use copper cables between the exchange and a user’s home, increasing download speeds.

The trial has been welcomed by Hampshire County Council, which wants to bring superfast broadband to 95 per cent of homes and businesses in the county by 2017.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of the county council, said: “The Sky trial is a wholly commercial initiative, but it will test a new approach to delivering superfast services and will mean more choice for customers. In principle, this means that more people will access faster broadband speeds sooner and I welcome the initiative on that basis.”