AT&T is planning to conduct field trials next year on a new technology which it says can deliver multiple gigabit-per-second internet by sending signals wirelessly using electrical power lines.
The technology, which the company calls Project AirGig, is still in its experimental phase. It aims to transform internet access globally.
Lab tests have been encouraging, and the company is confident that the technology could be used to bring next generation internet to urban, rural and underserved parts of the world.
The company has over 100 patents or patent applications supporting the new technology and other access technologies.
The project uses low-cost plastic antennas and devices mounted on existing power line poles to regenerate millimeter wave signals as they traverse the lines that can be utilised for 4G LTE and 5G multi-gigabit mobile and fixed deployments.
AT&T said that there is no direct electrical connection to the power line that needs to be made and because it uses existing infrastructure, it is not necessary to construct new towers or bury new cables in the ground.
AT&T chief strategy officer and group president for technology and operations John Donovan said: “We believe Project AirGig has the potential to quickly bring connectivity to all parts of the world.
“Our researchers are addressing the challenges that hampered similar approaches a decade ago, such as megabit per second speeds and high deployment costs.”
Earlier this month, AT&T partnered with chip-maker Qualcomm to test unmanned aircraft systems or drones on commercial 4G LTE networks.
The companies plan to anaylse how drones can operate safely and securely on commercial 4G LTE and future networks including the 5G.