In The Invisible Lightness of Beams The LA Times reports today that a Seattle-based company called Terabeams will begin setting up relay hubs using lasers for transmitting data through the air in downtown LA. Back in February, CNN.com reported that Terabeams has already been installing the system in Seattle.
The advantage? "The lasers are designed to be efficient and ultra-fast, with speeds as high as 1,000 megabits per second. A dial-up service like AOL or Earthlink usually carries data as fast as 56 kilobits per second. A commercial T-1 line carries data up to 1.5 megabits per second. Terabeam's lasers can race along at speeds as fast as fiber optic cable" (from CNN).
Also, "Terabeam allowed us to get up within two to three weeks, versus traditional companies when we want bandwith, which takes somewhere between 90 and 180 days" (from CNN).