AT&T begins trials of high-speed broadband through power-lines

While one location is in rural Georgia, the other is outside of the U.S., indicative of the wide scope in market opportunity.

On Wednesday, in its latest push to increase its internet coverage, U.S. communications giant AT&T Inc started trials in the state of Georgia as well as in a non-U.S. location, to deliver high-speed broadband services over power lines.

The internet service provider said it aims to deliver speeds faster than 1 gigabit per second, that consumers can currently get through fiber optics.

In a statement, AT&T said, while the trials in Georgia is in a rural area, the service can be deployed in other locations, including suburbs and cities.

“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.

Significantly, AT&T chose a location outside of the U.S. since there is market opportunity beyond that of the United States.

While the firm has said it does not have a timeline for commercial deployment, it would further expand trials as it develops the technology, suggesting that this is an emerging 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.”

Simultaneously, it has along with Verizon Communications Inc 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.

In November, Verizon, the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, said it would launch the faster broadband service in three to five U.S. markets next year.

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