Virgin Media has started trials to deliver fibre-optic high-speed broadband over telegraph poles.
The firm believes it could be used to extend its reach to another one million homes in the UK, mainly in rural areas.
The trial will initially deliver 50 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband to the Berkshire village of Woolhampton.
The government has pledged to ensure that everyone in the country has access to 2Mbps broadband by 2012 and ultrafast speeds by 2017.
Neil Berkett, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, said the trial would allow the firm to "understand the possibilities of aerial deployment" that may provide a "new way to extend next generation broadband services".
Typically, fibre-optic cables are run through underground ducts. Some firms have also experimented with running cables through the sewer network.
Virgin's trial is an attempt to bring faster broadband to people who live beyond the reach of its current network.
The trials will run for six months.
The government has said it will make available £200m to extend broadband coverage to the 15% of UK homes - predominantly in rural areas - which do not receive broadband at 2Mbps.
Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive