elstra has launched the first stage of its Telstra Air network, offering eligible customers free access to a nationwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots.
The new Telstra Air network relies on thousands of public Wi-Fi hotspots in 250 cities and towns across Australia. Access is initially available in public locations such as shopping centres and sports stadiums, with some wireless hotspots generated by Telstra payphones. The metro-centric network will continue to expand as Telstra signs deals with local governments across the country to install more hotspots.
When Telstra customers connect to a Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspot, rather than Telstra’s Next G mobile broadband network, the data they use counts towards their home monthly download limit rather than their mobile limit. Mobile data is generally more expensive.
Free access to the network is available to Telstra home broadband customers who agree to operate Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspots from their home, sharing their DSL, cable or NBN broadband connection with passers-by. Customers who sign up for the deal receive a new home broadband modem capable of generating a separate secure Telstra Air Wi-Fi hotspot which is isolated from their home network. Data downloaded by passers-by doesn’t count towards the homeowner’s monthly download limit.
All new Telstra home broadband modems support Telstra Air, but it is an opt-in service and is not enabled automatically. It aims to offer nearby Telstra Air users speeds of 2 mbps, which is considerably slower than what they’re likely to receive if they remain connected to Telstra’s mobile broadband network. The home broadband modems are designed to automatically throttle speeds for Telstra Air users if the homeowner has a slow broadband connection.
Telstra Air is part of the international Fon Wi-Fi hotspot network, offering Australians who run a Telstra Air hotspot free access to 15 million Fon hotspots around the world. Australians who do not run a home Telstra Air hotspot can access the network by purchasing a Fon access pass