TELSTRA is promising it will soon offer one of the world’s largest wi-fi networks — but people’s home bandwidth will have to do much of the heavy lifting for it to work.
The network will rely on almost two million households adopting revolutionary modem technology that effectively turns their home into a wi-fi hot spot, and shares a portion of their bandwidth with other telco customers.
In exchange, they will be able to access their own home fixed-line broadband allowance at Telstra hot spots nationwide, Telstra chief David Thodey said.
It is also expected to help end many global roaming data costs for Telstra customers.
Telstra said it had reached a deal with global wi-fi provider Fon, allowing customers access to an additional ten million wi-fi hot spots in participating nations.
Telstra customers using those overseas hot spots would be able to draw from their home broadband allowance.
Telstra’s wi-fi network, to be launched early next year, will cost more than $100 million and will also be available to Optus and Vodafone customers for a “small daily fee”.
Wi-fi networks allow better access to high-speed broadband, as they use wireless access points to connect with a wired network and carry data, rather than with the mobile towers that carry 3G and 4G services.
The telco is hoping households and local businesses will sign up to form a national patchwork of two million hot spots within five years, and create one of the world’s biggest wi-fi networks.
Mr Thodey has assured householders who signed up that their personal data would be safe from hackers and their home internet service would not be slowed down.
“All the experience (overseas) is there has been no degradation of services at all,” he said.
Similar systems operate in countries including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Greece.
A Telstra spokesman told the Herald Sun rules were in place to “preserve home broadband quality of service” when the wi-fi hot spot was in use.
Telstra is planning to build about 8000 wi-fi hot spots around shopping strips, sports ground, business centres and transport hubs. The rest of the two million would come from home and business hot spots.
It is understood Telstra has had discussions with the MCG over wi-fi provision.
The network will be available for the laptops, tablets and smartphones of fixed broadband customers from early next year.
Telstra is expected to outline offers for mobile-only customers in the coming months.
Existing Telstra customers who choose to take part will either get a free software upgrade or fork out $210 for one of the new modems.
New customers will have the cost of the modem bundled into their deal.
WHAT THE TELCO IS PROMISING:
TELSTRA plans to establish up to two million wi-fi hot spots across Australia within five years with the help of customers.
IT is expected to cost more than $100 million and start early next year.
THE network will rely on householders using a modem that serves as a wi-fi hotspot and shares a portion of their bandwidth with other customers.
IN return, customers can access their own home broadband allowance at Telstra hot spots across Australia.
TELSTRA says personal data will be safe from hackers and it won’t slow down home internet.