BT's record-breaking bandwidth can download 44 HD films per second

Fibre optics
Speeds skyrocket as 'Flexigrid' bundles cables

BT's tech boffins, joined by experts from French company Alcatel-Lucent, have set a new record for data transfer speeds over fibre cables.

Peaking at 1.4Tb, the speeds were achieved using commercial hardware, suggesting that home networks may be get similar bandwidth in the future.

In October and November last year, the two companies began to conduct speed tests on a 410 kilometre stretch of fibre cables between the BT tower and the telecoms firm's research centre in Suffolk.

They created the ominously sounding 'Alien Super Channel', composed of seven 200Gbps channels bundled together using 'Flexible Grid Technology'. The technology reduced the spacing between the channels in the transmission, from 50GHz to 35GHz, and resulted in an increase in efficiency of 42.5 per cent.

Better cables, lower costs

The speed of the transmission, 1.4Tbps, is fast enough to transmit 44 uncompressed High Definition films every second.

BT is looking to the future of this new technology, hoping that the 'Flexigrid' would increase the company's capacity for data transfer without having to lay more tracks of fibre-optic cables.

This in turn would result in more value-per-cable in BT's infrastructure and, more importantly, would reduce the expense for both the company and the customer.

"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 maximizing the efficiency of our existing infrastructure," said Neil J. McRae, chief network architect at BT in a statement. "Working with Alcatel-Lucent on this trial has been highly productive in demonstrating the viability of an alien wavelength approach."

While it's doubtful that 1.4Tbps speeds will be coming to our streets and homes in the near future, BT's announcement is encouraging, especially as the rollout of superfast internet throughout the country picks up steam.