AT&T is discussing with technology suppliers to start testing and building commercial-grade AirGig equipment.
Project AirGig is the AT&T initiative that uses power lines to deliver superfast internet service. AirGig signals travel around or near the power lines and they can be used to deliver fast internet.
AT&T hasn't set a date for commercial deployment just yet. Plans call for looking at expanded field trials with its technology supplier next year.
AT&T Labs invented low-cost plastic antennas, a radio distributed antenna system, surface wave launchers and inductive power devices to make AirGig work, and the company has applied for more than 500 related patents.
While the company launched a trial in Georgia with Georgia Power last year, it's now exploring another field trial in which it will focus on aspects of surface-wave systems, which could provide "an important ingredient" in a future 5G world. AT&T figures Project AirGig and 5G have a lot of natural synergies, and it plans to test 5G paired with AirGig in the future.
During the trial with Georgia Power, which used a combination of millimeter wave and LTE spectrum, they were able to deliver a fixed wireless application to a number of homes.
They didn't see any degradation of the millimeter wave signals during rain or other weather events - something that plagued earlier millimeter wave spectrum deployments - and the system was able to deliver hundreds of megabits per second to a number of residential locations in a rural part of the state.