While the UK is seeking to improve its rollout of full fibre technology to bring speeds of up to 1Gbps to more people, a new breakthrough by researchers in Australia could pave the way for the next generation of broadband connectivity that could allow speeds that are up to 100 times faster than today.
Scientists at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have demonstrated a new technique for transferring data based around 'twisted' beams of light in order to overcome the limitations of today's fibre-optic technology.
Currently, fibre-optics work by sending pulses of light down cables to transfer data between locations. But while this can deliver very high speeds, there are limitations to the technology, as it can only use a fraction of light's full capacity.
The new technology taps into a property of light known as it's Orbital Angular Momentum, which measures how beams twist similarly to DNA's double helix. By using this, the researchers were able to greatly increase the amount of data carried.
While it's still a long way off being commercially viable, Professor Min Gu, who co-authored the research, said that in years to come, it could be a practical solution for future broadband solutions.
"It fits the scale of existing fibre technology and could be applied to increase the bandwidth, or potentially the processing speed, of that fibre by over 100 times within the next couple of years," he said.