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Scientists claim UK broadband speeds could be 2,000 times faster

Broadband speeds could become 2,000 times faster than current standards, claim a team of scientists at a British university.

According to the BBC, researchers at Bangor University in north Wales are working on cost-effective ways of making our existing broadband networks much faster.

They have already managed to pump 20 gigabits of data every second, which is phenomenally fast considering that the fastest speed recorded in Britain is 33.4 megabits per second.

The team are currently working on a three year endeavour called the Ocean Project to make the concept affordable.

Current fibre optic networks consist of pure glass, as thin as human hair, that carries digital information over long distances. But as the length of the cable increases, so does the amount of digital data causing errors to occur. This is known as dispersion.

The scientists are currently looking at ways to solve that problem, like increasing the number of fibre optic strands in cables, and signal amplification measures, which they say are proving expensive.

"The trouble is, that can all cost a lot of money. So the focus for the Ocean Project is really to find out if we can do it in a cost-effective way, and is it a viable way of doing it in a commercial setting?" said Dr Roger Giddings, one of the team running the Ocean Project in north Wales.

The researchers have found a more inexpensive solution by fine-tuning the existing technology that is used in wireless networks and digital broadcasting, known as Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM).

The breakthrough has allowed the team to design an electronic kit that can help reach speeds of 20Gps and the team are confident of hitting speeds of 40Gbps in the foreseeable future.

"This is the only system that we know of in the world that we can demonstrate working in real-time," said Giddings.

The fastest speed offered to the UK public is a 1.5Gbps broadband connection trialled by Virgin Media in east London. However, according to the ISPreview website, in October the fastest download speed actually available in Britain was 33.4Mbps - just 0.17 per cent of the speed of the theoretical a 20Gbps connection.

Image Credit: Flickr (kainet)