Alcatel-Lucent may have breathed new life into copper broadband by achieving speeds of 10Gb in laboratory tests.
The telecoms giant has developed a prototype technology called XG-FAST, which could potentially allow network operators to achieve ultra-fast speeds without fibre.
Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs division achieved 10Gb speeds over a distance of 30 metres using to pairs of copper lines.
Researchers also achieved 1Gb symmetrical speeds over 70 metres using a single copper pair.
Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs, said the firm's constant aim is to "push the limits of what is possible".
He said the researchers are aiming to 'invent the future', with breakthroughs that are ten times better than are possible today.
"Our demonstration of 10Gb over copper is a prime example - by pushing broadband technology to its limits, operators can determine how they could deliver gigabit services over their existing networks, ensuring the availability of ultra-broadband access as widely and as economically as possible."
Federico Guillén, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Networks Business, added that the Bell Labs copper speed record is "an amazing achievement".
"But crucially, in addition they have identified a new benchmark for 'real-world' applications for ultra-broadband fixed access," he stated.
Mr Guillén added that XG-FAST can help operators accelerate fibre-to-the-home deployments, taking fibre "very close" to customers without the major expense and delays associated with entering every home.
"By making 1Gb symmetrical services over copper a real possibility, Bell Labs is offering the telecommunications industry a new way to ensure no customer is left behind when it comes to ultra-broadband access," he added.