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Power lines are hideous, but AT&T thinks they’ll be great for 5G

Nothing ruins a beautiful photo like a monolithic power line. Thankfully, AT&T has found a way of making these global monstrosities a core element of its future wireless proposition.

Finnish power linesWhile the Finns found a way of making them look pretty awesome, there’s little denying these things look horrendous. The bods down at AT&T Labs have concluded their saving grace is in ubiquity. These things are everywhere, so by using them as boosters for wireless signal, the theory is that fixed and wireless internet access can be delivered via a combination of existing power line infrastructure and millimetre wave cleverness.

The real benefit, AT&T reckons, is that it will be able to deliver multi-gigabit speeds without using fibre to the home, without building new towers and without burying new cables in the ground. While the telco has nabbed a bunch of patents to make it happen, very clever, the technology could ostensibly become a global means of delivering next generation broadband, both wireless and fixed.

AT&T will be trialling the tech next year. Telecoms.com’s sister site Light Reading covered the story with some interesting comment on the project from AT&T’s CTO John Donovan. You can read Dan Jones’s full write up here.

Last thing from us before you click over, check out this video. It explains it in a bit more detail. But skip the first 24 seconds. They’re, like, SO corporate.

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