AT&T has a bold new plan for the last mile

Rob Powell/Telecom Ramblings
22 Sep 2016
00:00

Ok, so the latest news from the last mile is just a little bit puzzling. AT&T has a brand new plan to deliver a gigabit or more to consumers. It's called AirGig, and it involves transmitting broadband data along the power lines. And no, it doesn't appear to be April 1 just yet.

A decade ago, of course, BPL was a possible alternative to DSL and cable. A lot of money was spent by some very big names, but the technology just never panned out and eventually just faded into the background.

Well, AT&T has a new take on the idea that involves a new generation of antennas to guide millimeter wave signals along the power lines but without electrical coupling, thus bypassing some of the hurdles BPL once faced. It is said to be easier to deploy than fiber, uses license-free spectrum, and is capable of multiple gigabits. No word yet on whether it cures cancer, but they hope to start field testing the idea next year so who knows.

What does that mean? As it's still experimental and all we have is a few words and apparently maybe some patent applications on the way, it's just too early to say whether there really is fire or just smoke. But I can't help but wonder at the timing, given Google Fiber's recent rumored shift from fiber to some mysterious wireless solution.

It's almost as if there's something in the air out there. (Pun intended)

This article was authored by Rob Powell and was originally posted on Telecomramblings.com

Rob Powell is founder & editor of Telecom Ramblings, which was set up in 2008. The website is dedicated to discussing trends and developments in the telecom industry.

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