Bell Labs researchers just broke the broadband Internet speed record.
It is eight times faster than the previous record -- and it was done over copper landlines.
With speeds of 10 gigabits per second, Bell Labs' technology proved to be 1,000 times faster than traditional broadband speeds. It is even 10 times faster than Google (GOOGL, Tech30) Fiber, which offers the fastest broadband available to consumers.
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Bell Labs' parent company, dubbed the new technology "XG-FAST." The company called it a "major breakthrough," giving broadband companies the ability to provide fiber-optic-like speeds over the existing copper landline infrastructure that blankets most of America.
Verizon (VZ, Tech30) FiOS, Google Fiber and others have sought to bring ultra-fast fiber connections directly to people's homes. But the process is extremely expensive, and often involves digging up homeowners' yards. Providing fiber to the majority of American households could cost hundreds of billions -- or even trillions -- of dollars, depending on various estimates.
XG-FAST could potentially make it unnecessary to bring expensive fiber for ultra-high-speed Internet.
Bell Labs says that XG-FAST can provide up to 10 gigabits per second over a distance of up to 30 meters. So if there is a fiber connection on the street, it would be sufficient to deliver lightning-fast Internet over a home's existing landline wires. For big buildings, fiber could be brought into the basement without needing to route it to individual apartments or offices.