Telstra uploading $100 million to build Australia-wide Wi-Fi network

Telstra Wi-Fi network
No, Telstra isn't using Wi-Fi balloons to make it happen

It looks like our suspicions were correct, with Telstra today announcing plans for Australia to host one of the world's largest Wi-Fi networks. The network will allow customers to use their home data plans while out and about and overseas.

The network is scheduled to launch in early 2015, with Telstra spending upwards of $100 million on infrastructure. This includes at least 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country, bringing connectivity to community areas like train stations and shopping strips.

Telstra also plans to bring many of these hotspots to rural areas that have had limited internet access in the past.

In total, the telco plans to give both Telstra and non-Telstra customers access to two million Wi-Fi hotspots within five years of the launch.

Share and share alike

In addition to the 8,000 hotspots being built, the program relies on the new Telstra Gateway Max modem, which creates a hotspot around your home allowing members of the public to access the internet.

But there'll be no need to shout out your window at passing Wi-Fi users, as Telstra was quick to insist that the hotspot would not have a negative impact on home broadband speeds.

Also, Telstra customers will have to opt in for the program. Once they do, the data they use from these hotspots will count towards their home broadband allowance, while non-Telstra customers will pay a "small daily fee." Telstra is yet to disclose exactly how small.

The Telstra Gateway Max modems are available from today for $210, and the telco believes that by the time the program launches next year, the modems will be widespread throughout the country.

At home and abroad

The program will also help to keep roaming charges under control, with customers receiving access to 12 million international hotspots via a deal Telstra has struck with Fon, a global Wi-Fi provider.

The hotspots are available in countries like the UK, France, Germany and Spain, and according to Telstra, it is expected to expand further.

Telstra hopes the Wi-Fi program will be taken up by cafes, shops and other businesses as a service to their customers. That way you'll be able to watch Facebook's auto-play video ads while you drink your coffee without chewing through your mobile data.