Tonight we had a visit from Telstra.
Dan Kelly, the General Manager - Consumer Bundles, dropped by to tell us about Telstra’s new customer bundles and the recently announced Wi-Fi Nation.
He started the talk with a discussion on how Telstra customers were using their various devices. Seventy percent of households now “multi device” with a majority watching TV while using a smartphone. The most common use is to look up information about the show they are watching or to tweet comments; witness the tweets seen scrolling along the bottom of the screen in a show like the ABCs Q and A.
The Entertainer bundles are really popular with the combination of Voice, Broadband, and TV, and now comes Foxtel Go which allows subscribers to access their Foxtel on any mobile device.
Those with a need to communicate are not forgotten. The new communication bundles include broadband allowances of 10 to 100 GB and capped rates on phone calls. In conversation Dan mentioned that line rental was a thing of the past.
Next, Dan disclosed the details of Telstra’s Wi-Fi Nation. This initiative of Telstra is quite a revolution in communications.
Ever turned on your modem and found four or five neighbours on their own networks? What if you could use these networks when you are away from home? Telstra’s idea in Wi-Fi Nation is to do just that, to take advantage of this plethora of Wi-Fi networks to create one huge network for any Telstra customer.
The concept is that Telstra will create a private home network for every customer and then use any extra bandwidth available from the modem to create a completely separate public network. Telstra customers can then connect to the pubic Wi-Fi network broadcasting from your modem. To create Wi-Fi Nation, Telstra have introduced new modems using the latest “AC” Wi-Fi standard and an expanded reception range. Telstra has partnered with an International Wi-Fi Company,
who produce the software that creates the separate networks.
When asked about bandwidth, Dan pointed out that if the private network was in full use, then no public network would be available.
What Wi-Fi Nation will mean to Telstra customers is their home data bundle will become portable. I know from my experience it is frustrating to have all that unused data at home when most of your data use is on the road. Wi-Fi Nation will mean you can use your home data bundle allowance anywhere a Telstra hotspot is available. It is Telstra’s plan to have at least 8000 hotspots Australia-wide in malls, sports stadiums, transport hubs, and to expand these hubs even further by having partnerships with local councils. There will be hubs in community areas and if you are not on Telstra you can buy a day pass to the network.
The extended reception range of the new modems will also address other customer problems such as dropouts and black spots around the house. These more powerful routers will mean better connection for the growing number of smart devices in the home, from laptops and phones, to smart TVs etc, and the network will be capable of handling HD video.
Some commentators have expressed doubts about security issues. Dan was positive that there will be no security issues such as hackers cutting across to the private network. He explained that no outsider would be able to see who was on the router.
The cynical among us could say that it’s a cheap way for Telstra to create a network without cost to them. Unless you have a new bundle, you buy the modem, you pay for the power to operate it and Telstra charges everyone for its use. However Wi Fi Nation does have the potential to rapidly expanded network access, especially in reception black spots. In the end Wi-Fi Nation is an opt-in network so if you don’t like the idea you don’t join.
Thanks to Telstra. Dan brought along one of the new Telstra Gateway Max modem routers and the Telstra Wi-Fi 4g Advanced portable modem.
We also had some small prizes including a Transforming Solar Robot and a collection of LED lights.
Tonight’s major winners are
With Robert taking home the Door prize