In 1998 Bell Laboratories reported the first long-distance transmission of one terabit (trillion bits) of data per second
over a single strand of optical fiber. Then on March 25, 2002 Bell labs reported that it doubled the distance and the speed at which data could be sent over long-haul telecommunications networks.
"Bell Labs said that, in a demonstration, it sent a massive 2.56 terabits of data per second over a distance of 2,500 miles, the equivalent of sending the contents of 2,560,000 novels every second across the United States. One terabit is a little over 1 trillion bits of data. The previous record was 1.6 terabits per second over 1,250 miles, or half the distance.
"Bell Labs achieved the 2.56 terabit-per-second speed by sending 40 gigabits-per-second of data over each of 64 separate channels in fiber optic cable, which uses light waves to carry data. It used dense wave division multiplexing, a technology that allows service providers to push bigger chunks of data onto a single strand of optical fiber.