AT&T plans to use power lines to deliver hi-speed internet service

Soon, electricity won't be the only thing that will come from those power lines you see placed throughout the U.S. Today, AT&T introduced Project AirGig. The service will provide "low-cost, multi-gigabit wireless internet speeds" from power lines. For AT&T, it gives the company the opportunity to provide internet service in areas usually not covered by the carrier.

AT&T uses plastic antennas that push out data, and will install them on power lines. An electromagnetic field helps send the signal through the wires. AT&T's chief strategy officer, John Donovan, said that the whole process is easier to install than fiber and will "deliver ultra-fast wireless connectivity."

This isn't the first time that major tech firms toyed with the idea of delivering the internet using power lines. Over the last decade, companies like Google and IBM worked on delivering a signal using this method by sending a signal inside the wires. AT&T's system disseminates a signal around the lines. Other problems popped up with previous attempts to use power lines to distribute broadband. For example, broadcasts on emergency radios were often disrupted.

AirGig will launch in certain cities and countries next year, with the focus on rural areas that are considered remote. The target is to deliver LTE speeds through the power lines. In the U.S., there are 200,000 miles of high-voltage lines and 5.5 miles of lines used for local distribution of power. One major advantage to AirGig is that putting it in place requires less money than it takes to build a cell tower.

source: AT&T via CNET


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