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AT&T, power companies in talks to deliver fast internet over power lines

AT&T Inc. is in "advanced discussions" with power companies and other entities on plans to test its Project AirGig technology, which aims to deliver low-cost, multigigabit wireless internet speeds using power lines in at least two locations by this fall.

The technology from AT&T Labs can also run over the license-free spectrum and can provide fast wireless connectivity to both home and handheld devices. The telco said it has more than 100 patents or patent applications supporting the technology and other access technologies.

One location for the trial will be in the U.S., while with others will be decided in the coming months, the company said Jan. 31. Project AirGig could also enable and expand smart grid applications, which would let utility companies detect line integrity issues, such as encroaching tree branches, earlier. The technology could also potentially support meter, appliance and usage control systems.

Meanwhile, the carrier said it is marketing a 1 gigabit connection on its fiber network to nearly 4 million locations across 46 metro areas nationwide. AT&T plans to reach nearly 12.5 million locations across 67 metro areas with fiber network by mid-2019.

The company also plans to offer Fixed Wireless Internet in areas where it accepted the FCC Connect America Fund support in mid-2017, reaching more than 400,000 locations by the end of 2017. The company aims to expand internet access to more than 1.1 million locations across 18 states by the end of 2020.