Yes, the title is a play on the old Back to the Future comment by Doc Brown, "1.21 gigawatts!" But in this case, it represents the actual data transmission rate obtained by Verizon and NEC for bits sent through a single-mode fiber optic cable under actual field conditions.
The test was held on 934 miles of single-mode fiber optic cable in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Verizon network. The test used NEC's "Superchannels," a method of combining several optical carrier channels to boost capacity beyond the typical 100 Gbps per strand. The key here isn't so much the actual speed (which is pretty darn fast), but that they were able to maintain that speed over almost 1,000 miles. That's 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable that does not have to be replaced to get greater capacity through the long haul. The demands from video services, wireless apps, real-time gaming, large-scale data storage, and increased IP services mean ever growing amounts of data with higher bandwidths needed to support those services. The use of this technology will help keep costs low while speeds remain high by letting companies make greater use of the fiber they've already installed.