Last week, AT&T released an update on Project AirGig, their concept to distribute high speed data by propagating millimeter wave signals along the surface of power lines. The power lines serve as a distribution network, like fiber-optic cables, with transceivers sitting atop power poles, access points for nearby homes and businesses.
The AirGig concept seems well-suited for rural and suburban areas without fiber. The U.S. has long had power distribution to virtually every home, so new costly infrastructure is not required. A millimeter wave transceiver would simply be mounted on a pole near a group of subscribers.
In the update, AT&T said it has initiated discussions with technology suppliers to start testing and building commercial equipment. The company is planning another field trial, following two trials initiated in 2017. About one of the trials, with Georgia Power, AT&T said
We…have been encouraged by the results. In that trial, we provided a fixed wireless application to a number of participating homes. It used a combination of millimeter wave and LTE spectrum.”
AT&T has not said when it plans to launch service using the technology; however, it said the company’s goal is “eventually making gigabit-speed internet as widespread as electricity.”
You can download and read AT&T’s one-page teaser here.