Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has unveiled plans to create what it claims will be one of the world’s largest Wi-Fi networks as part of a AUD100 million (USD92.5 million) programme intended to boost connectivity across the country. Under the company’s plans it aims to offer all Australians, not just its own customers, access to two million Wi-Fi hotspots within five years, with the network scheduled to launch early next year. In addition to domestic coverage, Telstra expects to offer access overseas via more than twelve million international hotspots, as part of an exclusive deal recently concluded with global Wi-Fi provider, Fon.
In order to create the domestic infrastructure, Telstra has said a number of actions will be taken, including offering Telstra home broadband customers new gateways which will allow them to securely share a portion of their bandwidth with other Telstra Wi-Fi customers, in exchange for which they can access their own home broadband allowance at Telstra hotspots across the nation. More than 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots will also be constructed across the country, meanwhile, with a view to bringing connectivity to community areas and social precincts as well as shopping strips, business centres and transport hubs. In addition, Telstra will work with ‘thousands’ of small businesses to bring Wi-Fi to cafes, shops and waiting rooms, while it will also partner with councils, business enterprises and governments to bring Wi-Fi to parks, stadiums and public buildings and to help create smart cities.