A German cable operator, Kabel Deutschland (KD), claims to have become the “first” in the world to “successfully achieve” a broadband download speed of 4700Mbps (Megabits per second) during one of their real world field tests (more bandwidth than many current PC and laptops could process).
In fairness KD aren’t quite the first. Back in 2007 a 75 year old Swedish granny managed an astonishing 40 Gigabits per second (here). By comparison KD’s current network in the city of Schwerin delivers a more standard speed of up to 100Mbps for home subscribers, yet clearly they could go a lot faster.
Lorenz Glatz, CTO of Kabel Deutschland, said:
“The Schwerin field test shows that an 862 MHz upgraded cable network is able to broadcast download speeds of up to 4.7 Gbit/s. Using this speed, a DVD could theoretically be downloaded within eight seconds. Current standard laptops or modems cannot even process these high speeds. It will take many more years until users find online services and web content that need a download speed of up to 4.7 Gbit/s.”
Crucially the field test, which was conducted by using the EuroDocsis 3.0 standard in a local School, did not require any new civil engineering work. KD states that they needed to use “channel bundling” to achieve the speed, although they don’t state how many channels were bonded. This could be significant because the network would need to leave some capacity spare for their other services, such as TV.
Back in the UK Virgin Media are known to be testing broadband download speeds of up to 200Mbps (20Mbps uploads), which have always been expected to arrive before the end of this year but that is by no means confirmed. Virgin will also be keeping a close eye on demand for BT’s rival 330Mbps FTTP service, which is due to launch at the start of July. Demand is crucial, yet sometimes bragging rights can be equally important for marketing departments.
The question of whether or not an ISP could actually deliver such speeds on a commercial scale (certainly not yet) is often forgotten. Likewise nobody could make use of 4700Mbps at home but it’s nice to see that there is a future that goes well beyond “superfast“.