AT&T is the most recent company to cast about and find some way to avoid laying prohibitively expensive fiber cable in order to provide customers with faster broadband speeds. The company’s latest scheme is called Project AirGig and involves placing routers on the top of existing utility poles, using the path of power lines facilitate the gigabit internet route. Theoretically, installing these routers, made of plastic, would be less expensive than digging trenches to lay new cable.
“We’re experimenting with multiple ways to send a modulated radio signal around or near medium-voltage power lines,” AT&T explained in a press release. The company also noted that Project AirGig is still in the testing stage, and that field trials will begin at some point in 2017. Among the potential shortcomings of the project: lack of redundancy, service interruptions due to bad weather, or even thieves shimmying up utility poles to steal the equipment.