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In a few years, when we're all hurtling down highways in our self-driving cars and wearing virtual reality goggles, we'll need more high speed internet options.

AT&T (TTech30) on Tuesday said it's planning ahead for our gigabyte-hungry future with a new technology that sends high speed internet over power lines.

 

Called Project AirGig, the experimental system places low-cost plastic antennas along existing power grids to deliver low-cost, multi-gigabyte internet. So far, the company has tested the system on its own campuses. It hopes to do a field test next year to see how feasible, fast and affordable it really is.

What makes the AirGig setup unique is how it uses existing infrastructure to keep costs low.

"You don't have to lay any fiber, you don't have to touch anything, other than get some of these devices up on the wires," said AT&T chief Strategy Officer John Donovan.

This is not the first time a tech company has tried to marry internet and power lines, called Broadband over Power Lines (BPL). Earlier attempts have failed due to lagging speeds and interference issues. AT&T's take is different because it doesn't send signals through the lines.

AirGig's inexpensive plastic devices aren't actually tapping into the power at all. Instead, their wireless signals hitch a ride along the outside of the medium voltage lines, "clinging" to the wire to speed along to their destination. It also keeps prices down by using license-free spectrum.The company said the tech is still in the early phases, and that a public deployment wouldn't happen until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest.The company said the coming demand for internet-gobbling technologies like video, virtual reality, telemedicine, and automated vehicles will require new internet options. Specifically, we'll need to "leapfrog" current tech to keep pace with consumption.

Source : money.cnn

Categorized in Science & Tech

New rules that give the FCC more power to regulate the internet were upheld by a court Tuesday, marking a victory for the Obama administration over the major telecom companies. 
The rules, known in the industry as net neutrality, were put into effect a year ago by the Federal Communication Commission. They prohibit internet providers, such as Verizon (VZTech30),Comcast (CMCSA) and AT&T (TTech30), from charging for so-called fast lanes that could be used by content companies that use a great deal of bandwidth, such as Netflix (NFLXTech30),Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FBTech30).

"After a decade of debate and legal battles, today's ruling affirms the FCC's ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections -- both on fixed and mobile networks -- that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

 

But the telecoms indicated this isn't the end of the legal battle.

"We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal," said David McAtee, AT&T general counsel.

The FCC passed the rules in early 2015 on a party line vote, with three Democrats commissioners voting in favor and two Republican commissioners voting no.

"I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful," said Ajit Pai, one of Rebublicans. "The FCC's regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive."

The Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. split 2-1 in its decision upholding the rule. The majority decision agreed with the FCC's stance that, without the rules, there would be "a threat to internet openness...that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment."

But in his dissent, Judge Stephen Williams worried that the rules will make it harder for new or relatively small firms to compete. He worried that it will lead to a "incurable monopoly" in which broadband service will be dominated by today's large, established players.

Source  : http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/14/technology/net-neutrality-fcc-court-of-appeal/index.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

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