AT&T starts trial testing of high-speed internet over power lines

AT&T Inc has started trials in Georgia state and a non-U.S. location to deliver high-speed internet over power lines, the No. 2 wireless carrier said on Wednesday, marking its latest push to offer faster broadband service to more customers.

AT&T aims to eventually deliver speeds faster than the 1 gigabit per second consumers can currently get through fiber internet service using high-frequency airwaves that travel along power lines. While the Georgia trial is in a rural area, the service could potentially be deployed in suburbs and cities, the company said in a statement.

“We think this product is eventually one that could actually serve anywhere near a power line,” said Marachel Knight, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in an interview. She added that AT&T chose an international trial location in part because the market opportunity extends beyond the United States.

AT&T said it had no timeline for commercial deployment and that it would look to expand trials as it develops the technology.

“Potentially, it can be a really big deal,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics. “You need the power company to play ball with you. That’s the downside.”

AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, have also been testing 5G internet services in which the last leg of the connection is delivered via a radio signal to homes using high-frequency airwaves known as millimeter wave spectrum.

Verizon said in November it would launch the faster broadband service in three to five U.S. markets in 2018.

(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Richard Chang)

About Reuters

Reuters is the news and media division of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is one of the world's largest international multimedia news agency, business news, technology news, headline news. Established in 1851.
View all posts by Reuters →