AT&T has pushed ahead with a trial of Project AirGig, a patented powerline-assisted technology that eyes speeds of more than 1 Gbps, in Georgia.
The trial, with Georgia Power/Southern Company in a rural part of the state, follows an earlier international pilot.
AT&T sees Project AirGig as a low-cost option for urban, rural and underserved parts of the globe via millimeter wave signals that are “guided” by power lines and work in tandem with wireless antennas made of plastic that are connected to the power grid.
In its earlier work around this approach, AT&T said it’s been working on ways to deliver a modulated radio signal around or near medium-voltage power lines, as a last-mile access alternative that could be configured with small cells or distributed antenna systems.
In addition to raw internet access for smartphones and tablets and other devices, AT&T sees other potential applications for AirGig, including self-driving cars and augmented reality.
AT&T is hopeful that the approach will reduce or eliminate the need to build new towers or bury new cables in locations close to aerial power lines.
“Instead, using AirGig patented technology, we would install devices to provide high speed broadband which can be clamped on by trained electrical workers in just a few minutes,” AT&T noted.
“If these trials and our continued research and development turn out the way we intend, we’ll take a big step toward bringing hyper-fast connectivity to people everywhere,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs, said in a statement.
This video presents a bit more detail about the technology and the initiative: