AT&T this week introduced Project AirGig, an emerging platform that, the company claims, will be capable of delivering low-cost, multi-gigabit wireless Internet speeds backed by power lines while also touting it as an approach that will be easier to deploy than fiber.
AT&T, which has been using a fiber-based “GigaPower” platform to deliver 1-Gig services to pockets of several U.S. markets, said Project AirGig could fit well in urban, rural and underserved parts of the globe.
AT&T expects to begin Project AirGig field trials sometime in 2017. While noting that the technology is “deep in the experimentation phase” with more than 100 patents or patent applcitions filed in support of the technology, AT&T claims that Project AirGig will be easier to deploy than fiber and run on license-free spectrum.
AT&T said it’s working on different ways to deliver a modulated radio signal around or near medium-voltage power lines, viewing it as a last-mile access alternative that can be configured with small cells or distributed antenna systems.
In addition to delivering multi-gigabit speeds, AT&T also sees Project AirGig applying to a utility’s meter, appliance and usage control systems.
“Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally – well beyond our current broadband footprint and not just in the United States,” John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations, at AT&T said in a statement. “The results we’ve seen from our outdoor labs testing have been encouraging, especially as you think about where we’re heading in a 5G world. To that end, we’re looking at the right global location to trial this new technology next year.”
Here’s a promotional video about Project AirGig: