Telstra has announced they are rolling out free WiFi access to all their payphones to allow for a wider spread access to Internet at all times.

Talking about connectivity, Telstra’a Michael Ackland sees this as an important move for Telstra “While a lot of us take connectivity for granted these days, many isolated or vulnerable people, although they may have access to a mobile device, don’t always have the data to be able to connect. Free Wi-Fi has the potential to make a massive difference in their ability to stay connected to family and friends and access
essential services,”

It comes a year after Telstra made calls from payphones free, with the move aimed at the most vulnerable in the community though of course it will be free for all to use.

Importantly, this is for anyone, not just Telstra customers. The basic infrastructure is there, Telstra’s “Telstra Air” program which was a network of Payphones and home modems allowed Telstra customers access to WiFi on the go. Telstra just needs to upgrade those Payphones WiFi network to be “free” for all to use.

Some 3,000 Telstra payphones are offering free WiFi from today, while the goal is to upgrade the almost 12,000 payphones over the years ahead.

Since Telstra made national calls from Payphones free, around 19 million free calls have been made, including 250,000 to critical services like Triple Zero, Lifeline and such.

As a sign of how important the move to free calls was, Centrelink was the most dialled service from payphones in the last year.

“Since we made calls free from payphones last year we’ve seen a 70 per cent rise in call volumes across the country, showing the humble Telstra payphone still has an important role to play,” Mr Ackland said.

“Payphones are supporting communities nation-wide, and while the Northern Territory has the highest number of free calls made, our single strongest performing payphone sits in Melbourne’s CBD within community housing.”

To find out if the payphone near you has free WiFi, look for “free Telstra Wi-Fi” as a network, but also ensure you’re near a payphone with the “free Telstra Wi-Fi” branding to ensure it is a legitimate Telstra Free WiFi.