BT and Alcatel-Lucent have successfully completed tests of the fastest real-world broadband speeds ever recorded.

According to the BBC, speeds of 1.4 terabits per second (TB/s) were achieved over a 255-mile link between BT Tower and Ipswich. The blisteringly fast connection would have been able to send 44 uncompressed Full HD films in just one second.

The real breakthrough was not the speeds that were achieved but the fact that test was conducted over existing infrastructure and in a real-world scenario.

While similar speeds have been seen in lab conditions using laser technologies, these tests proved that existing infrastructure was capable of handling increased data loads. For service providers, this means that next generation speeds can be achieved without costly upgrades.

[themecolor]Demand for bandwidth increases 35% year on year[/themecolor]

“It allows them to increase their capacity without having to spend much more money,” Oliver Johnson, chief executive of analyst firm Point Topic told the BBC.

In a press release on, the providers explained that the speeds were achieved by utilising a ‘flexible grid infrastructure’. The flexigrid allows for more efficient bundling of channels. The spectral spacing between these channels is usually set at 50GHz. In the test, these were reduced to 35GHz which resulted in 42.5 per cent greater data transmission efficiency.

Kevin Drury, optical marketing leader at Alcatel-Lucent, likened the process to reducing the space between lanes on a motorway, allowing more traffic to flow through the same space.

The problem with increased traffic is that there is more likely to be a car crash; however, engineers said that the alien super channel showed ‘stable, error-free operation’.

Demand for higher bandwidth increases 35 per cent year-on-year, putting internet service providers (ISPs) under pressure to find new ways of delivering high speed internet, so these tests will come as welcome news to both consumers and ISPs.