Can the old power lines be used to provide high-speed, low cost Internet?


Many attempts have been made in the past to use the old power lines to provide high-speed, low cost Internet to far-flung areas. These power lines are ancient and they are practically everywhere because human beings have been using them for more than a century now. Even in India, where electricity is scarce, you can see power lines and power poles everywhere.

Transmitting Internet signals so far hasn’t been very successful through these power lines. The initial experiments, according to this Recode report, were very inefficient and slow. Instead of providing high speed and low cost Internet, the endeavor was proving to be very low speed and very high cost.

The American telecommunications company AT&T had attempted in the past to provide high speed and low cost Internet through power lines but didn’t succeed much, but a new project at AT&T called AirGig intends to use the power lines again provide high speed and low cost Internet. But this time the Internet signals will not travel inside the power lines, they will travel near the power lines. The power lines themselves won’t be used to transmit Internet signals, but they will be used to support their transmission. AT&T claims that the technology can use power lines to provide high speed and low cost Internet to cities, towns, villages and other far-flung areas.

Small Internet transmission antennas will be placed over the power lines and these antennas will help transmit high-speed and low cost Internet over large areas. Not only people living around these power lines will be able to use the Internet, the new AirGig technology will also be able to transmit Internet signals to remote areas.

The video below explains the technology that may one day provide high speed and low cost Internet using the old power lines.

The AirGig technology is still at an experimental stage. AT&T claims that the AirGig relay stations that will be placed on top of telephone poles will not just help transmit Internet signals, they will also help power companies monitor their power lines more efficiently.

About Sarah Watts
Sarah is a technology buff. Not uptight about her writing skills, but when it comes to covering technology, she is a no holds barred writer.

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