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10tbps. Ten terabytes. Per second. That’s how fast data is transferred along a new type of fibre optic cable. It could also (eventually) be the speed of your home broadband connection. But how does it work?
Normal plastic or glass fibre optic cables actually slow down light transmissions, but researchers at the University of Southampton have managed to forge a hollow fibre optic cable which offers speeds that are 1000 times faster than normal cables.
Light can jet along the hollow vacuum of the new cable at 99.7 per cent of the speed of light with minimal data loss, although we can’t imagine having access to these speeds for a good few years yet.
That’s around 50 25GB Blu-ray discs per second. We’ve also drawn up some rough calculations which suggest that you could download 19.5 life-sized sperm whales in less than three seconds. Highly useful, we think you’ll agree.