On Wednesday, French telecom equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) announced that France Telecom (NYSE:ORAN)-Orange has begun use of the company's "400 Gbps Photonic Service Engine" on a communications line linking Paris and Lyon.

According to Alcatel, this is the world's first optical link capable of carrying data at the rate of 400 gigabits per second, per wavelength used, a rate four times greater than the maximum bandwidth currently available. Using 44 available wavelengths, the company says the new link can carry 17.6 terabits of data per second in total.

In a statement, France Telecom-Orange noted that its investment in building a "super-fast architecture" based on Alcatel technology will "support the emergence of new uses, such as multimedia content, social networking, and the cloud, and ... [will] guarantee transmission quality while keeping costs down."

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