AT&T, the second largest mobile carrier in the U.S., has announced that it has officially started trials on a new technology called Project AirGig, something that uses pre-existing power lines to expand upon its internet services. The aim is to offer those in rural areas and suburbs - among others - a high-speed connection without the need to build costly cell towers.
The trial, which is taking place in the state of Georgia, and an unknown rural area abroad, aims to deliver speeds of one gigabit per second. The technology behind this works by sending high-frequency airwaves along power lines - not through it - using 'plastic antennae' that can be quickly installed by a trained professional in a couple of minutes.
President of AT&T Labs, Andre Fuetsch commented on the company's plans for this project:
Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate internet connections to a gig or more through both wired and wireless solutions. But it also stands alone as a radically innovative solution to bridge the global digital divide. 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.
Senior Vice President of Wireless Network Architecture and Design noted that the reach of Project AirGig's market opportunity extended beyond the borders of the United States, explaining the reason behind AT&T choosing to trial it abroad as well. Recon Analytics analyst, Roger Entner, however, noted that the only downside of such an endeavor would be that power companies will have to play ball, posing a possible downside.
No timeline for a commercial launch has been made available, since the project is still under development, with AT&T looking to expand its trial in the near future.