Just when the future of broadband appears to be tipped towards the mass roll-out of optics, Nokia Siemens Networks proves that there's still life in the old copper wires yet. Using a virtual channel to supplement physical copper wire, data transmission speeds of 825 Mbps were recorded. Okay, so it was only over a distance of 400 meters (just over 1,312 feet) but the circuit managed to sustain 750 Mbps when the distance was increased to 500 meters (about 1,640 feet), with the technology promising broadband speed increases of between 50 and 75 per cent over existing bonded copper lines.

Looking into ways of improving the existing copper infrastructure probably won't stop the networks from having to invest in optic fiber altogether, but it might serve to put off that huge investment just a little longer – especially if speeds like those demonstrated by Nokia Siemens Networks are anything to go by. The super-fast speeds mentioned earlier were made possible using "circuits that involve the creation of a virtual – or 'phantom' – channel to supplement the two physical wires that are the standard configuration for copper transmission lines."

Eduard Scheiterer from the company said that "the innovative use of technologies such as phantom circuits helps operators provide an efficient last mile connectivity with existing copper wires," helping to prolong the life of existing infrastructure. Phantom DSL is set to find its way to the company's Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer products in the near future, having first been showcased during Broadband World Forum 2010 in Paris recently.