Telstra plans free trial for Wi-Fi network in November

Telstra's national Wi-Fi network will be tested in November in a number of popular locations in cities across Australia.

Telstra and non-Telstra customers will soon be able to access the company's Wi-Fi network in a number of key locations from November this year for free.

The first 1,000 of the telecommunications giant's Wi-Fi hotspots will go live in early November, including in places such as Bondi Beach in Sydney, Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, Rundle Mall in Adelaide, Elizabeth Street in Hobart, Perth CBD, Civic Centre in Canberra, and Smith Street Mall in Darwin.

The launch comes as part of Telstra's announcement in May that it would invest AU$100 million in rolling out over 2 million Fon-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

Speeds on offer on the Wi-Fi are around 2Mbps down, and the usage of Wi-Fi at the sites will be free until the official launch next year. At that point, Telstra home broadband customers who have joined Telstra's Wi-Fi community program can access the service using their home broadband data quota.

The cost is that as members of the community Wi-Fi program, they will share a secured portion of their broadband connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot set up in their home for access by other users that are part of the program.

Non-Telstra customers can access the service for a price, which Telstra has yet to detail, but has indicated is a "small fee".

Telstra's retail group executive Gordon Ballantyne said that the first 1,000 locations were picked for where Australians are likely to be over summer.

"From Bondi Beach to the retail hubs of Bourke Street Mall and Queen Street Mall, we have selected some of this summer's most popular destinations for our trial, which will launch in November," Ballantyne said.

"Other trial locations will be switched on in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, and Darwin, as well as regional centres and holiday destinations."

The locations of the Wi-Fi hotspot trials match up to payphone sites, but Telstra said the hotspots will also be located in Telstra retail outlets and exchange buildings.