BT claims to have achieved 'real world' broadband speeds of up to 1.4 Tbps

How fast is your broadband connection? No matter how quick it may be, we doubt you recorded anything on Speedtest.net that's close to what BT claims to have achieved in a recent trial using an existing fiber connection that connected two locations about 80 miles apart.

In their press release, BT said that in October and November of 2013, the UK broadband provider worked with Alcatel-Lucent on their super high speed broadband research project, which used a fiber connection that went from BT's Adastral Park research campus in Ipswich to the BT Tower in London. The trial used what BT called the 'flexible grid' infrastructure that allowed the fiber connection to bundle seven 200 Gbps channels into one channel with speeds up to 1.4 Tbps.

In case you need some perspective for that high of a number, BT says that 1.4 Tbps speeds means 44 uncompressed HD movies can be downloaded in just one second. While it's unlikely BT subscribers in the UK will be able to sign up for those kinds of services anytime soon, the ISP did say that the trial proved current fiber connections are capable of handling much higher broadband speeds than previously thought. That means BT can spend less time building new fiber lines in favor of boosting speeds with its existing network. Of course, you will still need to ask BT to unblock their default porn filter.

Source: BT press release | Speed image via Shutterstock

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Well...having speeds like that could come in handy as every new version of Windows grows about 2 GBs every volume. I know when I downloaded Windows 8.1 Pro from Microsoft's website...it took about 15 minutes to download.

So...I figure in about 40 years or so...Windows should be about 1 TB in size.

Remember back in the mid 1990's you could go to a speed test site and on first try get (on a 56K modem) 3-10 kbps down. Then, run the test again without clearing the browser cache and get a Gigabit speed result? I remember waiting several years for Comcast Cable Broadband to come to my hood!!! I was a gamer back then and even tried the "shotgun" 2 phone lines/2 56K modem setup. ISDN and T1 was just out of my cost range. I now have a 50/2 with WoW Cable and love it.

Wow! Makes my 80Mbps FTTC connection look slow. I am one of the lucky FTTC customers who get the full 80Mbps and the line can support more

BT engineer told me I'm the first property on my line

in what context is 80 miles considered REAL WORLD now if BT could get that between London and Auckland NZ I'd be damn impressed

Most people don't understand why these types of high-speed links are important. They think it's something to do with downloading movies. That's funny. No, the race is on for high-speed, zero latency, error free transmission connections so the entire financial community can get the Hell out of Europe. People in the EU think they can just bash the bankers and tax them to death and everything will be OK. But just as soon as someone comes up with a lossless, hi-speed link, bankers and traders all over Europe will be able to shift their trading to Hong Kong and Singapore and thereby avoid the dumb stupid regulations imposed on them by the EU.

You should pray it takes a long time before these connections are available. As soon as they are the world's financial sector will move their trading base out of Europe/North America and your taxes will have to double to cover the shortfall. It's coming.

Major_Plonquer said,
Most people don't understand why these types of high-speed links are important. They think it's something to do with downloading movies. That's funny. No, the race is on for high-speed, zero latency, error free transmission connections so the entire financial community can get the Hell out of Europe. People in the EU think they can just bash the bankers and tax them to death and everything will be OK. But just as soon as someone comes up with a lossless, hi-speed link, bankers and traders all over Europe will be able to shift their trading to Hong Kong and Singapore and thereby avoid the dumb stupid regulations imposed on them by the EU.

You should pray it takes a long time before these connections are available. As soon as they are the world's financial sector will move their trading base out of Europe/North America and your taxes will have to double to cover the shortfall. It's coming.

Not understanding the geographical position of Europe, specifically London, precludes any of that happening.

Nice effort though.

Two Words "Absolute Rubbish". Signed up for claimed 76mbp round my new area. Real world 25 or less. Person at end of the phone couldn't care less just reduced the package I was on so was slightly cheaper. Previously on Virgin 100MB which was outstanding, shame I now live in a non virgin area.

n_K said,
You're blaming BT because you picked somewhere far away from an exchange?

some folks assume that they'll get the advertised speed, regardless of their physical location.

n_K said,
You're blaming BT because you picked somewhere far away from an exchange?

Nothing about the exchange, depends on how far away the street box is from his house.

Tony. said,

Nothing about the exchange, depends on how far away the street box is from his house.


Depends on if they have FTTC or FTTE, around here it's FTTE not FTTC

D4NXC said,
Two Words "Absolute Rubbish". Signed up for claimed 76mbp round my new area. Real world 25 or less. Person at end of the phone couldn't care less just reduced the package I was on so was slightly cheaper. Previously on Virgin 100MB which was outstanding, shame I now live in a non virgin area.

Same here, I signed up for 76mbps FTTC, and damn annoyed that I only got 74mbps. That's when the line actually works of course. Which it has done, almost continuously for the last year. Lucky for me Virgin couldn't be bothered cabling up my area though.

n_K said,

Depends on if they have FTTC or FTTE, around here it's FTTE not FTTC

if its 25Mbps then its pretty much FTTC, FTTE is how most exchanges are setup anyway, if its copper all the way to the house then its a lot lower than 25 Mbps

The article is slightly misleading. This is for back haul links. Am I the only one that thinks using multiple fibre pairs to achieve this figure is cheating? Having said that 200Gbps down 1 pair is impressive!

It's a backbone link, that wouldn't be anything near what you'd get on an internet connection, it's what all the data passing through the ISP's network would use to travel around on.

n_K said,
It's a backbone link, that wouldn't be anything near what you'd get on an internet connection, it's what all the data passing through the ISP's network would use to travel around on.

Yes, I'm aware. I was just making the point.

Meph said,
I think it will be a while before even storage devices can store data at 1.4 Tbps. XD

This is precisely what the new technology, Infiniband, is designed to do. It's here today, but not at consumer prices yet.

This is backhaul infrastructure, nothing to do with business with proper leasedlines, let alone the consumer circuits (ADSL / FTTC)
But fun

grunger106 said,
This is backhaul infrastructure, nothing to do with business with proper leasedlines, let alone the consumer circuits (ADSL / FTTC)
But fun

Yes, but the obvious advantage is that they may not need to increase laying more fibre down in these infrastructures.

It'll be a long time before we get full FTTH.

Meh, all they did was dedicate 7 fibre links to two PC's and wacked on a speedtest. This isn't anything really representative of anything the actual UK infrastructure can do. Pretty much all ISPs could hit similar, albeit probably in the GBs speeds.

JonnyLH said,
Meh, all they did was dedicate 7 fibre links to two PC's and wacked on a speedtest. This isn't anything really representative of anything the actual UK infrastructure can do. Pretty much all ISPs could hit similar, albeit probably in the GBs speeds.

Erm, yes it is? If they can process data at that speed behind backbone routers, data can be passes around much faster thus faster speeds... They're not going to just pass that onto customers, but that's the whole point in faster backbond links.

Erm, yes it is?

Erm, no it isn't. Johnny's spot on. There are ways to cram more data through existing fibres but this is just a simple case of aggregating channels, nothing more. The leading company in this field is Bay Microsystem in Silicon Valley. Very interesting technologies. They can put 40 GB through a 1GB fibre.

MikeChipshop said,
Right BT, shouldn't you be sorting out the dismal infrastructure in the rest of the UK first?

Compared to many places it's pretty good.

Unlikely that it's actually copper.

Also unlikely that there is only you on that wire. It's probably split amongst several other properties

Grunt said,
Unlikely that it's actually copper.

Also unlikely that there is only you on that wire. It's probably split amongst several other properties

Of course it's copper, unless you have Google Fiber that brings fiber optics directly to your house, then it is copper. Most companies have fiber on the streets but copper connections to the house. Also, most people individually have a connection.

Riva said,
With BT?

Yup with BT.

Grunt said,
Unlikely that it's actually copper.

Also unlikely that there is only you on that wire. It's probably split amongst several other properties

Unfortunately it is copper. We were due Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) in December 2013 which has been pushed back to some time later this year.

Anyway from the cabinet, it will still be copper from the cabinet to my premises.

MikeChipshop said,

My BT connection is 1MB copper too.

That makes the 2meg connection BT can offer on my street sound fast, thankfully Virgin Media have provided broadband around here for the last 12 years.

ians18 said,

Of course it's copper, unless you have Google Fiber that brings fiber optics directly to your house, then it is copper. Most companies have fiber on the streets but copper connections to the house. Also, most people individually have a connection.

Or maybe some people live OUTSIDE of the states & have FTTH without Google.

Gotta love it how Americans think they're the world!

InsaneNutter said,

That makes the 2meg connection BT can offer on my street sound fast, thankfully Virgin Media have provided broadband around here for the last 12 years.

If it is 1mbps, then it's bound to be copper, I am referring to the first comment.

Minooch said,

Gotta love it how Americans think they're the world!

Didn't America used to be someone? Here in China we used to hear a lot of stories about America. But recently it's gone very quiet. Maybe Google bought them.

DaveGreen93 said,

Unfortunately it is copper. We were due Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) in December 2013 which has been pushed back to some time later this year.

Anyway from the cabinet, it will still be copper from the cabinet to my premises.

Which will be fine. When I lived in the UK we went from 4Mbit to 25Mbit when they upgraded the area to FTTC.

Now I feel fortunate to be able to get up to 150Mbit here in Canada but I can't justify the cost so I just have 25Mbit again. It's cable so it's probably fibre until it gets to the basement of the building I live in.

I maybe wasn't clear. In order to cut costs, some alloy has been used instead of copper - thus less conductivity, more noise, shittier connection speeds.

And the little green box along the street is so saturated, they split multiple properties off a single line.

Grunt said,
I maybe wasn't clear. In order to cut costs, some alloy has been used instead of copper - thus less conductivity, more noise, shittier connection speeds.

And the little green box along the street is so saturated, they split multiple properties off a single line.

It was fairly common in the 60s/70s to use aluminium lines instead of copper. They'll still work fine once FTTC comes along. Given that most people live within a kilometre of the local street cabinets the speeds will be perfectly acceptable. Over that shorter distance the differences between aluminium and copper will not be that noticeable.

I'm pretty sure you're referring to DACS when you talk about splitting off a single line. My understanding was that was essentially irradicated in the network and certainly in all but the most remote areas. If you have a broadband service currently I believe it's an impossibility for you to be on a DACS system too.

DaveGreen93 said,
... Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) in December 2013 which has been pushed back to some time later this year ......

You should also know that you need to be <600M loop length from your house to the cabinet to get anything above 20Mbps.

Then throw in bridge taps and other copper quality issues and you'll be in for many service calls. It will be a fun time. FTTH is where my ISP is today, and plan to have all of our local communities converted in the next 4 years.

deadonthefloor said,

You should also know that you need to be <600M loop length from your house to the cabinet to get anything above 20Mbps.

Then throw in bridge taps and other copper quality issues and you'll be in for many service calls. It will be a fun time. FTTH is where my ISP is today, and plan to have all of our local communities converted in the next 4 years.

Well it says on the Openreach website our exchange is going FTTC/FTTP(to the Premises) although I doubt it'll be the latter sadly. I'm not expecting speeds like 20Mbps, especially living about a mile from the cabinet and a further 4 to the exchange.

DaveGreen93 said,

Well it says on the Openreach website our exchange is going FTTC/FTTP(to the Premises) although I doubt it'll be the latter sadly. I'm not expecting speeds like 20Mbps, especially living about a mile from the cabinet and a further 4 to the exchange.

You might be surprised. In a past life I worked for BT. Regardless of its many foibles and faults they are certainly able to make the network perform way beyond what it was initially intended to do.

deadonthefloor said,

1600M?
I'm pretty sure VDSL can't travel that far, probably ADSL2+
so yeah, most likely top out at 10Mbps.

It's VDSL2 in the UK if I remember correctly. It can certainly go a mile.

Provided the cable quality is half decent I'd expect something beyond 10Mbit. Even if it does only provide 8-10 that would seem to be a marked improvement for the OP.

ExplodingKnees said,

It's VDSL2 in the UK if I remember correctly. It can certainly go a mile.

Provided the cable quality is half decent I'd expect something beyond 10Mbit. Even if it does only provide 8-10 that would seem to be a marked improvement for the OP.

I could be wrong, could be less than a mile, just making an estimate. But yeah, I would be happy for a speed where I can watch videos on Youtube without my brother getting angry because his "Xbox is lagging". He's a little girl like that.