AT&T kicked off trials of Project AirGig, a technology designed to deliver high-speed internet using existing power line infrastructure.
The company today (13 December) announced testing is underway in the US state of Georgia and an undisclosed country. The international trial with an electricity company began in the Autumn, while the work with utility company Georgia Power launched more recently.
AT&T indicated Project AirGig holds the potential to deliver broadband speeds of “well over” 1Gb/s using a mmWave signal guided by power lines. The operator previously explained the system uses a series of low-cost plastic antennas (pictured) and other equipment which is attached to existing aerial power line infrastructure to regenerate the mmWave signals.
The signals can be used for both 4G LTE and fixed and mobile 5G deployments through configuration with small cells and distributed antenna systems, AT&T stated.
Ultimately, the goal is to eliminate the need to build new towers or trench new cable infrastructure by using the electrical grid to expand AT&T’s network.
Andre Fuetsch, AT&T CTO and president of AT&T Labs, explained: “Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate internet connections to a gig or more through both wired and wireless solutions.”
“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.”
Work on Project AirGig began over a decade ago and AT&T announced in September 2016 it was moving towards testing. At the time, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan said the operator was cautiously aiming for commercial availability around 2020, but in its latest announcement AT&T said there is no set timeline.
The Project AirGig trials are separate from mmWave fixed-wireless 5G testing the operator is conducting in US cities.