A handful of Telstra payphones have begun transmitting Wi-Fi as part of a plan to blanket public spaces with internet access.
The telco flicked the switch at 150 trial sites.
A further 850 are planned to go live before Christmas ahead of a full launch early next year.
It’s the first step in a $100 million plan to create some two million Wi-Fi hotspots over five years.
Telstra hopes most of these will be created by home broadband customers who use special routers to share their bandwidth with passersby.
But it is also building some 8000 hotspots at payphones, Telstra exchanges, and retail stores.
Access is free at the trial sites, but there will be a “small fee” after the official launch.
Telstra customers who agree to share their bandwidth will get free access to any hotspot, with their data use being deducted from their home allowance.
Special routers will split their connection in two – one public, one private. Telstra maintains it will not affect their speeds.
Hotspot users will get speeds of about two megabits-per-second, but it will vary depending on how many people are using a given site.
Hotspots are live at prominent places such as Hyde Park in Sydney, Bourke St Mall in Melbourne, and King George Square in Brisbane.
Telstra is also focusing on regional areas and popular holiday destinations.
- Find your nearest hotspot at telstra.com/wifi.
- When in range, look for Free_Telstra_WiFi.
- Accept terms and conditions.