Google and Comcast’s foray into the world of fiber optics has made fiber Internet a household name. Little by little, Internet subscribers are asking more from their ISPs and finding the service they crave with the gigabit-per-second Internet speeds. Homes with Internet-enabled televisions, multiple smartphones and online gaming systems are all excellent candidates for the increased capacity offered by fiber Internet.

What if we were to tell you that the fiber Internet everyone’s been raving about is about to get faster? A recent study published by University of Minnesota’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering points to a new substance capable of transferring more data through smaller conduits. Black phosphorus is the cutting edge of this photodetector technology. Merely a few atoms thick in its thinnest stable form, it works as an excellent sensor of light, which creates the optimal material for quick fiber optic communications.

University graduate teams recently were able to capture the real world application of black phosphorus by creating a powerful light sensitive circuit. With the addition of the new material, data was successfully transferred at a rate of 3 billion bits per second. A “bit” may not sound like a significantly sized piece of data, however at that rate a standard HD movie can be downloaded in just 30 seconds. That’s about 2.7 times faster than the current fiber standard of 1 Gigabits per second, or 1,000 Mbps.

Our fiber Internet, GigabitNow, has been designing, constructing, and operating fiber optic networks in the Pacific Northwest for 11 years. We could not be more excited about the developing benefits of black phosphorus and the spread of fiber literacy around the world! Next week we will be in Austin for the annual Broadband Community Summit, join us for speakers like the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as we help shape the future of fiber.