U.S. telco says it is ready to take powerline mmWave technology tests to the next level.

AT&T this week said it is in advanced discussions with power companies to trial Project AirGig, which uses powerlines to carry millimetre wave (mmWave) signals.

Other, unspecified companies are also holding talks with the U.S. telco.

"We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention," said Andre Fuetsch, CTO of AT&T and president of AT&T Labs, in a statement on Tuesday.

"AT&T is focused on delivering a gigabit-per-second speed everywhere we can with our wired and wireless technologies. Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach," he said.

10 years ago, AT&T engineers experimented with delivering broadband over powerlines (BPL), but while the technology worked well, the throughput couldn’t keep up with demand for higher speeds.

The telco switched its focus from BPL to mmWave, and began experimenting with using powerlines to transmit mmWave signals. Now, there are more than 200 patents and patent applications related to Project AirGig, and AT&T said it is ready to take testing of the technology to the next level.

"AT&T Labs is writing the textbook for a new technology approach that has the potential to deliver benefits to utility companies and bring this multi-gigabit, low-cost Internet connectivity anywhere there are powerlines – big urban market, small rural town, globally," he said.