Sky has offered the strongest hint yet it is ready to take the broadband bull by the horns and build its own superfast infrastructure to rival BT and Virgin Media.

The company is ending its reliance on other firms for its latest fibre optic broadband tests by delivering near-gigabit speeds to to homes in the Hampshire town of Basingstoke.

Instead of relying on the BT exchange, Sky will use overhead poles taking fibre optic cables directly to the property (FTTP), TechWeekEurope reports.

The result for those participating in the year-long trial will be wired speeds of 950Mbps and Wi-Fi speeds of 150Mbps. If that wasn't enough, they'll also get half price Sky telly for the duration of the experiment.

Currently the maximum speeds offered by BT and Virgin's infrastructure top out at around 300Mbps.

Time for The Big Three era?

This isn't the first time Sky has trialled its own superfast network, but it is the first time it has done so without any assistance from partners. The broadcaster's forthcoming 1Gbps trials in York were made possible through its partnership with TalkTalk and CityFibre.

Could this be moment we look back on in years to come, when the seeds were planted for the big two to become the big three? Sky remains coy on its future plans.

"This is just one of many trials we are undertaking around the country. Our approach is going to be flexible and local as no one size fits all across the UK," the company says.

"In some areas demand for very high speed products will be greater, and in some areas the cost of delivering this will be less. Technical trials in these initial areas are helping us explore these opportunities, and the decision on when and how we extend, will be based on their success."

Via Engadget