Customers of Telstra’s Bigpond home broadband are about to get something very interesting when they travel, with free WiFi where the bandwidth is taken out of their existing bandwidth allowance at home.

That’s happening from Tuesday, June 30, as Telstra launches its “Air” system, a network of broadband connections from its customers and the Telstra network pushed out by its payphone hotspots and retail outlets, all of which come together to create a large WiFi network that you can stay connected to and skip out on using mobile connections for your online activities.

For Telstra customers that are signed up to the program, Telstra Air will essentially be their mobile access for data, providing broadband over a massive WiFi network in Australia, while also working in other parts of the world.

Ever wonder why that sign was on Telstra payphones? They're part of the hotspot system for Telstra Air.

Ever wonder why that sign was on Telstra payphones? They’re part of the hotspot system for Telstra Air.

Overseas, members will be able to access over 15 million hotspots in 18 countries, with this access found in Japan, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, and Brazil to name a few, with the download allowance coming straight from their home broadband allowance.

That means if you’re only chewing through 100GB of your 200GB allowance at home, you essentially have 100GB you can get through using the Telstra Air WiFi connection, though that doesn’t apply to Telstra’s 4G connection as it’s just not the same.

We do need to point out that technically, the concept isn’t new, with Telstra sending word about this programme last year in May and then again back in November. Now, however, it has a name and a purpose, and a plan to get customers using their broadband allowance in more places than just at home on WiFi.

telstra-wifi-4g-air-01

“With the launch of Telstra Air people can stream music, catch up on their favourite TV show or browse the web when they’re out and about at shopping precincts, parks, cafes and transport hubs – all by using their Telstra home broadband allowance,” said Karsten Wildberger, Group Managing Director of Consumer and Products at Telstra.

“The network will be brought to life by us and by our customers who can enjoy greater value from their broadband service by accessing their allowance outside the home. We expect it will grow rapidly reaching thousands of neighbourhoods and millions of people across the country over the next five years.”

Customers keen to get involved can’t just sign up, however, and will have to grab a Telstra Air compatible gateway device for their Telstra broadband connection, which in turn adds to the Air network by sharing a little bit of your connection to the Air network, which makes up some of the connection people are accessing.

Telstra Air will go live from June 30, with Telstra sending word that a little over 250 cities across Australia will flip the switch on access that day.