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BT and Alcatel-Lucent have opened the door for the future of fibre broadband after delivering data speeds of up to 1.4 Terabits per second (Tb) using existing commercial grade hardware.

The two companies have revealed that a field trial of new Flexgrid technology delivered the record-breaking data speeds over an existing commercial grade fibre optic link, with the use of a record spectral efficiency of 5.7 bits per second per Hertz.

Though previous trials involving both Alcatel-Lucent and BT have resulted in speeds of 31Tb and 73.7 Tb, using a single long-haul 7200km optical fibre and hollow fibre optic cable respectively, the latest trial represents the first time that such a speed was achieved in a real-world environment.

In short, it means that such technology is already at the disposal of ISPs, and could lead to consumers benefiting from fastest-ever broadband sooner than expected.

Neil McRae, BTs chief network architect, summarised: "Investing for the future is core to BT’s strategy and this outstanding achievement demonstrates that BT can easily introduce new features and technologies across our core network, maximising the efficiency of our existing infrastructure."

Although BT has yet to reveal if and when the new service will be rolled out to major corporate networks, mobile operators or fixed line broadband ISPs, the success of the trial points towards unprecedented broadband speeds becoming a reality.

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