FIOS is great, but it's pretty much useless if you live in the middle of a city. Copper lines damn us to the hell of...marginally slower Internet. But not for long. Alcatel-Lucent (via MIT Technology Review) has found a way to achieve fiber-optic speeds over a copper line. By combining three old techniques (bonding, vectoring, and DSL phantom mode) they've been able to reach speeds of over 300 megabits per second.
This top 300 Mbps speed is stable at up to 400 meters from a communications hub. At 1 kilometer away, the speed drops down to a (still healthy) 100 Mbps. Rather than relying on new technology for this innovation, Alcatel-Lucent managed to combine several older techniques.
Vectoring cancels out noise on a DSL line and bonding treats multiple lines as a single cable. On its own, bonding increases bandwidth by a multiple “almost equal” to the number of cables used. The last technique, “phantom mode”, actually dates back to 1886. Normally, a digital signal is transmitted through a positive and negative wire that are twisted together. Phantom mode sends a third signal through four wires divided into two twisted pairs.