Telstra is switching on the first of its national network of public Wi-Fi hotspots today in Sydney. The city will be one of 250 towns and cities to receive coverage from Telstra’s Wi-Fi network, with a full roll-out of 1,000 public hotspots to launch by Christmas.
From tomorrow, Sydney residents will be able to trial free Wi-Fi at some of the city’s busiest locations, including Hyde Park, The Rocks, and Bondi Beach. Other areas also switching on today include Melbourne’s Bourke St Mall and Brisbane’s King James Square.
What’s this all about, though? Telstra is aiming to offer Australians access to some two million public Wi-Fi hotspots within the next five years or so. Telstra seems to be utilising its public payphone infrastructure to blanket areas in coverage, at least at the beginning – if you see a pink box atop a payphone, that’s a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Add to that the possibility of accessing a further 13 million hotspots overseas through a partnership with Fon, and Telstra seems to have a pretty lucrative deal going on here. While the initial trial is open to the public, it seems the idea is to have the service accessible to Telstra customers down the track, and to those who purchase a pass to access the hotspots.
Check out our previous coverage of Wi-Fi community here.
While there’s not a huge amount of detail about what the service will look like in future (besides having a fairly large footprint), there’s enough to know that it sounds cool. We’re expecting to see some coverage maps in the next few days with information about the precise location of the hotspots.
If you’re around Hyde Park in Sydney today, check it out and let us know how you find the service.
Update Telstra has provided a list of the hotspots it expects to have online by Christmas:
The Rocks, Sydney
Hyde Park, Sydney
And another 35 locations across Sydney that will come online before Christmas.
Bourke St Mall, Melbourne
Lygon Street, Melbourne
St Kilda, Melbourne
And another 45 locations across Melbourne that will come online before Christmas.
And another 25 locations across Brisbane that will come online before Christmas.