Telstra will create one of the world's largest Wi-Fi networks as part of a AU$100 million-plus strategy to increase connectivity in the places Australians live, work and visit including cafes, shops, sports grounds and transport hubs.
The strategy aims to offer all Australians, irrespective of whether they are a Telstra customer or not, access to two million Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation within five years. The network, which is scheduled to launch early 2015, will also reach overseas allowing people to connect at more than 12 million international hotspots, as part of an exclusive deal recently concluded with global Wi-Fi provider, Fon.
Telstra CEO, David Thodey said the plan would usher in a new era of Wi-Fi in Australia which would help meet current data needs and deliver future capacity for the explosion of traffic expected to be delivered over Wi-Fi.
“Australians already have access to one of the world’s leading mobile networks offering fast, unparalleled coverage on the move. Telstra’s new Wi-Fi network will broaden the choice of connection giving people a convenient way to get online using their portable devices when spending time at a hotspot. It will offer our customers the unique option to seamlessly use their home broadband allowance inside and outside the home.”
Telstra home broadband customers will be offered new gateways that allow them to securely share a portion of their bandwidth with other Telstra Wi-Fi customers. In exchange they can access their own home broadband allowance at Telstra hotspots across Australia.
The company also plans to build more than 8000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country to bring Wi-Fi internet to community areas and social precincts as well as shopping strips, business centres and transport hubs.
“We want Australia to be a truly connected country and as part of our plan, we are keen to work in partnership with local councils and enterprises to grow our Wi-Fi network in Australia’s largest cities and regional centres,” Mr Thodey said.
“The opportunities go beyond connecting people. The city-wide availability of Wi-Fi coupled with the growth in the internet of things can help us improve the way we live in cities. Town planning, sustainability, traffic management, maintenance, public safety and the provision of government services are just some of the challenges that can be tackled by connecting sensors and objects with networks. This is an incredible opportunity and we are already in discussions with a number of councils to make smart cities a reality.”
With the majority of portable device traffic now delivered over Wi-Fi in the home or via hotspots, Mr Thodey said all Australians would stand to benefit from the network.
“Today more than 20 million devices are connected to the mobile internet in Australia . This investment helps us connect the next 20 million and create an environment where our customers can read the news over breakfast at home, upload photos to Facebook while waiting for a train, check email between meetings at a local cafe and load match scores at the big game at night – all over Telstra Wi-Fi.”
Australians will be able to access Telstra Wi-Fi in a number of ways:
- Telstra home broadband customers with a compatible gateway who join the Wi-Fi community can use their broadband allowance at no extra charge via domestic hotspots and connect to more than 12 million Fon-enabled hotspots globally.
- Non Telstra customers and Telstra customers who have not joined the Wi-Fi community will be able to connect to Fon-enabled Telstra Wi-Fi hotspots for a small charge using day passes.
- The investment will enable partners to offer public Wi-Fi to patrons, visitors and communities.