AT&T has announced the launch of two field trials of its AirGig technology. AirGig is a system that can deliver low-cost, multi-gigabit wireless internet speeds using power lines. The telecom says that this new approach is much faster and economical than constructing new cell towers or burying fiber-optic cables in the ground, as AirGig works with low-cost plastic antennas and devices that can be installed on a power line by trained operators in just a few minutes.
Andre Fuetsch, president, AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, has commented on the latest developments:
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.
In theory, AirGig should be able to work anywhere near a power line, meaning that high-speed broadband can quickly become available in many parts of the world, including rural, suburban, and urban areas.
That’s right, AT&T has ambitions of going global with AirGig, which is why one of the field tests is conducted at an undisclosed international location with the help of a local electrical company (the other one is held at a rural area in Georgia).
The telecom says that these tests will last for months and hasn’t shared a timeline for the commercial deployment of the technology, but the company is “encouraged and excited” by the results so far.