AT&T's Project AirGig to provide internet over power lines to rural areas

AT&T's Project AirGig will provide internet speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second over power lines to rural areas. The company yesterday announced that it is starting its first international trial of AirGig, and its second US trial in the state of Georgia. It is not clear where the first US trial took place, even though it has been over a year since the project was first reported.

AirGig uses tiny radio stations mounted on top of existing infrastructure and telephone poles. The set up does require access to the pole's power source and also does not use the existing wiring to send signals, rather AirGig stations use millimetre wave signals to communicate.

It makes for a low-cost, low-impact way to provide high-speed internet in areas that do not currently have access to it.

AT&T hopes to develop the tech further based on what they learn through the efforts. The current phase does not come with any timeline nor is there any indication of when the tech might be available commercially.

AT&T is clearly not in a rush with the project, which is not necessarily a bad thing according to commentators. They say it means that the tech would likely be refined and well-tested when it finally makes it to the market.

AT&T said the technology could someday deliver ''gigabit'' speeds to rural and urban areas near above-ground power lines.

AT&T said in a press release the technicians can essentially clamp the technology onto existing power infrastructure in a matter of minutes.

''Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate internet connections to a gig or more through both wired and wireless solutions,'' Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs, said in the release. ''But it also stands alone as a radically innovative solution to bridge the global digital divide.''