TELECOMS bosses predict the new high-speed broadband infrastructure being installed in Basingstoke will attract businesses and homebuyers to the town.

BT Openreach is currently laying fibre optic cables from its Victoria Steet exchange to 77 of 171 telephone cabinets in the borough. This will allow residents whose phone lines run off them to access broadband data download speeds of between 15 and 40 megabits per second (Mbps). Nationally, current average download speeds are about 2.5Mbps.

A delegation from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, which lobbied the telecoms giant to bring the technology to the area, travelled to London last week to see what the download and 5Mbps upload speeds will allow businesses and residents to do.

Delegates were shown how a family would be able to simultaneously watch Internet-streamed high definition television, play an online computer game, download music and upload pictures to a social networking website from different points in the house.

The demonstrations showed super-fast broadband would enable three-dimensional television, allow computer games to be downloaded in less than a tenth of the time it takes via standard broadband and facilitate high-quality video conferencing.

In the office, small businesses would not be hamstrung if multiple users simultaneously tried to perform different data-intensive tasks over the Internet via a single phone line, and it would facilitate cloud computing, where software is stored on servers rather than individual machines.

Super-fast broadband will enable multiple security cameras to be monitored at the same time from anywhere in the world, or sports fans to watch game broadcasts from the camera angle of their choice.

After watching the demonstration, Councillor Keith Chapman, the borough councillor with responsibility for the broadband push, said: “All of those applications seem to have a high degree of use, for business in particular.

“It shows that the fast broadband coming to Basingstoke offers residents unbelievably good opportunities.”

Just under 30,000 homes in Basingstoke, and about half that number in Dartford, Kent, will be the first in South-East England to get the service.

Peter Cowen, BT Retail’s regional manager South East, said once the wires are in place in January, people will be able to start using them when Internet service providers offer packages which utilise the new network – and this should happen quickly.

He predicted the network will boost house prices and attract, and keep, computing businesses in town.

“If I was a small business in Information Communications Technology (ICT) looking to relocate, there are only two places I would be looking to relocate to – Basingstoke and Dartford. It’s a fantastic advantage,” he said.

“Houses in Basingstoke are going to get added value. If I was buying a house and I was a remote worker, I would look at Basingstoke.”

BT aims to make super-fast broadband available to 40 per cent of the UK homes by 2012 through its £1.5billion upgrade programme.

Mr Cowen said BT could not connect every Basingstoke and Deane home because it would leave other towns and cities with no investment, but he thought the company would consider extending coverage once it started to see returns from its initial investment.

The Government is introducing a 50p landline telephone tax to fund the roll out of super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the country by 2017.