Telstra plans to create new broadband wi-fi hotspots

THOUSANDS of new broadband wi-fi hotspots will dot the Northern Rivers by early 2015 if Telstra's ambitious $100 million plan comes to fruition.

Under the plan aimed at creating "smart cities", Telstra intends to provide home broadband gateways that allow a portion of their bandwidth to be shared with other Telstra wi-fi customers.

In return, customers will be able to access their own home broadband allowance at Telstra hotspots across Australia.

Telstra Country Wide area general manager North Coast NSW Sue Passmore said the telecommunications giant would focus on high population, slow moving areas, like the local shopping strip, entertainment precincts, bus stops, hotels and cafes.

"We are introducing the service at two megabytes per second in order to understand demand on the Telstra wi-fi network while also protecting the quality of the service provided to home users," she said.

"As the service expands we will look to upgrade the network capacity and improve speeds.

"As customers' home broadband services transition to the NBN, it will allow the wi-fi network to support even faster speeds.

"Telstra wi-fi will simply provide customers with another way to access the NBN as it is rolled out."

The plan aims to deliver access for all Australians to two million wi-fi hotspots across the country, regardless of whether they're a Telstra customer or not.

Ms Passmore said current Telstra customers would not have to worry about their internet slowing down, despite the far-reaching plan.

"We only allow hotspot users to access a small amount of bandwidth from the gateway and we have rules in place that the hotspot will only 'switch on' if there is a certain amount of bandwidth available to the home user," she said.

"When the gateway is switched on customers will be able to start sharing wi-fi. Every community member can access as many hotspots as possible.

"However, if you decide that you no longer want to be a community member, you can opt out of the service."