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Telstra asks customers to run a piece of their network

Tuesday, 07 Jul 2015

Information Age

How much will customers take before they fight back?

Telstra is in its first week of testing just how much of its network it can get away with asking its own customers to run.

The carrier joins Optus and other international players in having customers host network access points or become edge sources of network performance data.

The question is: How much of this operation and responsibility for infrastructure can telcos get customers to take on - before they start to fight back?

Telstra last year revealed plans to build out a $100 million wi-fi network. After a period of trials, the network was launched last week under the brand ‘Telstra Air’.

While Telstra is deploying about 8000 wi-fi hotspots into public areas, it wants to convince up to 1.9 million customers to also host a publicly-accessible hotspot from their house.

Customers need a set type of gateway device and a firmware update to enable this to occur.

“This update enables your gateway to become a Telstra Air hotspot and broadcast a separate wi-fi network alongside your private home network,” Telstra said.

In other words, customers still have their private home wi-fi, but a portion of their bandwidth is made available publicly for other passing Air customers to use.

Telstra notes that traffic on the private home wi-fi takes priority and can’t be overwhelmed by users connecting to the functionally separate Air hotspot.

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