Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard about broadband-over-power-lines technology, but AT&T wants to remind us just in case.
Having failed to deliver anything of substance since the grand unveiling for months ago, AT&T resorted to talk of ‘advanced discussions’ as the thin pretext for a follow-up announcement. Specifically those discussions are with power companies who, of course, own the powerlines AT&T would like to use to deliver gigabit broadband without all the hassle associated with FTTH.
You would like to think AT&T had already commenced those discussions before it made its first announcement so, in effect, it seems to be saying the product of at least four months of concerted dialogue has been to upgrade their status from ‘preliminary’ to ‘advanced’. If these discussions are successfully concluded then the next stage is testing, so it may be a bit early to start holding your breath.
“We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention for customers and utility companies,” said Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO. “Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach. AT&T Labs is ‘writing the textbook’ for a new technology approach that has the potential to deliver benefits to utility companies and bring this multi-gigabit, low-cost internet connectivity anywhere there are power lines – big urban market, small rural town, globally.”
While you could be forgiven for thinking this is like domestic wireline networking but on a grander scale, AT&T’s tech uses powerlines more as guides for wireless transmissions between antenna mounted on each pylon, as illustrated in the handy vid below. Clearly the installation of these antenna would be a significant undertaking, which is presumably a reason for the glacial rate at which the talks with the power companies are progressing.