Shaw Communications and Alcatel-Lucent have laid claim on the first successful field trial in North America for 400 Gbps data transmissions over a live network.

Using Alcatel-Lucent's 1830 PSS with the 400G Photonic Service Engine (PSE), the trial ran over a 400 kilometer route between Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. The trial was on Shaw's current high-capacity transport network, which was designed for speeds up to 100 Gbps. Two years ago, Shaw was the first service provider in Canada to provision a 100 Gbps backbone network.

The trial demonstrated the ability of an existing optical network to carry up to 17.6 Terabits-per-second (Tbps), which was equivalent to 266 million voice calls or the transmission of 88 Blu-ray Discs in a single second. The field trial showed the transmission of roughly double the previous level of data over an existing 100 Gbps coherent network.

"With the growing appetite for services and the proliferation over many different devices, including tablets and connected devices, we were looking for next-generation technologies to help us build a world-leading infrastructure capable of keeping up with broadband demands,” said Shaw Communications President Peter Bissonnette. “Alcatel-Lucent's 400 Gbps technology enables us to continue our leadership within the telecommunications industry and reinforce our commitment to maintaining leading-edge high-speed Internet capability."

The 400 Gbps trial could lead to new services by Shaw, such as high-capacity data center connectivity, and more economical service delivery of streaming video, telepresence applications, and gaming.

Yesterday, Shaw announced an agreement to buy fiber-optic provider Enmax Envision for $225 million. Enmax operates one of Calgary's largest fiber-optic networks and specializes in providing large bandwidth solutions to businesses that require a dedicated Internet connection or need to connect multiple locations over private networks.

"The combination of Envision and Shaw Business will create a very competitive value proposition for Calgary's business customers looking for leading connectivity, integrated services, and effective and responsive service," said Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw. "This transaction catapults our growth in the competitive Calgary business marketplace, and demonstrates our resolve to grow this segment of our business."