Eurobites: BT Soups Up Its Superchannel

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT trials SDN for broadcast networks; EE demos balloon-based pre-5G backhaul; Altice hopes to raise $1.4 billion from US IPO.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has begun a trial of a new 400Gbit/s single-carrier-based technology with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd that it believes will be able to deliver data speeds of 13 Tbit/s -- the equivalent of downloading up to 500 HD films in one second. The trial, taking place on a fiber loop linking BT's labs at Adastral Park with its Bishops Stortford Exchange 250km away, builds on previous "superchannel" development work that achieved speeds of 5.6 Tbit/s by combining 200Gbit/s wavelengths of light into a single optical fiber. (See Eurobites: BT, Huawei Hit 2 Tbit/s.)

  • Also being trialed down at Adastral Park is the use of SDN architecture to transport multiple HD uncompressed video flows through to a production studio via high-bandwidth network pipes. This, in theory, will allow live footage to be captured remotely and thereby enable broadcasters to cover events without sending multiple camera crews, with obvious attendant savings. BT is using gear from Nevion and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in the trial -- Nevion's media nodes and Cisco's switches.

  • And finally on the BT-related front, BT-owned EE has been demonstrating the use of what it calls "pre-standard" 5G backhaul technology to connect to its helium balloon-based Helikite "air mast." The backhaul demonstration uses 26GHz test spectrum to connect the Parallel Wireless small cell on the Helikite to a virtualized Evolved Packet Core on the ground using a link provided by millimeter wave specialist Phazr.

  • At the 5G World Summit in London, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) will be showcasing the ability of its AirScale basestation technology to support both low and high frequency bands, using the Flexi RF units already widely deployed by operators. (See Nokia's AirScale Supports Low & High 5G Frequency Bands.)

  • Altice , the French operator with global ambitions, is hoping to raise around $1.4 billion from a public listing of its debt-laden US business, Altice USA, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). It's a move that will help fund Altice's plans to extend 10Gbit/s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks right across its US footprint. (See Altice Considers IPO for Its US Operations and Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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