US telecoms giant AT&T has launched a project intended to deliver high-speed broadband to remote areas via power line.
Project AirGig will be trialled in Georgia - more than 20 years after the first trials to deliver internet connectivity using so-called powerline networking. Another trial is being held outside of the US.
Nevertheless, the company claimed AirGig as a first-of-its-kind system and added that it should be able to deliver internet speeds of more than 1gbps over a millimeter wave (mmWave) signal guided by power lines.
"We hope that one day there will be no need to build new towers or bury new cables in locations close to aerial power line," claimed the company in a statement.
"Instead, using AirGig patented technology, we would install devices to provide high speed broadband which can be clamped on by trained electrical workers in just a few minutes."
Researchers at AT&T Labs - and elsewhere - have spent more than two decades working on this technology, resulting in more than 300 patents and patent applications. So far, though, powerline networking is predominantly used for in-home internet connectivity products as an alternative to Wifi.
"Project AirGig is part of our ongoing effort to accelerate internet connections to a gig[abit] or more through both wired and wireless solutions," said Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs.
"But it also stands alone as a radically innovative solution to bridge the global digital divide. If these trials and our continued research and development turn out the way we intend, we'll take a big step toward bringing hyper-fast connectivity to people everywhere."
AT&T is currently working on two trials in the project's early phase. The first started in the autumn and has seen the firm work with a non-US electricity provider.
Meanwhile, the second trial is taking place in Georgia with Georgia Power. Located in a rural sutting, this experiment is aimed at demonstrating that AirGig technology can be used in areas not currently served by high-speed broadband.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said: "Project AirGig offers transformational possibilities to bring gigabit internet connections to residents and businesses everywhere.
"It's exciting that the first trial in the nation is being conducted in Georgia, with AT&T's innovation helping keep us at the forefront of the technology sector."
Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power, added: "Expanding access to high speed internet is an important initiative that provides value for our all of our customers and helps us remain a competitive state in which to do business."
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