Canberrans will be spoilt for free internet access in Civic this summer as Telstra launches a free trial of their national Wi-Fi network from November.
Telstra general manager Larissa Redford said the Wi-Fi network would co-exist with the ACT Government's $3.1 million plan for free internet access in Civic and remain free until the official launch of a national network in early 2015.
"We're going to be turning this on in November with six sites initially and then more sites will be turned on in the coming months," she said.
"We have selected some of Canberra's most popular locations and will be switching on more than 30 Wi-Fi hotspots in and around the Canberra CBD as part of this trial," she said.
While Canberrans will need to pay to access the Telstra Wi-Fi network from next year, Ms Redford said it would provide residents with an additional choice and access when travelling interstate.
"Telstra is aiming to launch the nation's largest Wi-Fi network, so that means when Canberra people move around interstate they'll be able to access the same national network with the same login," she said.
The free-trial, which will allow Canberrans to access free internet at the Canberra Centre while Christmas shopping, is part of a five-year $100 million strategy that aims to launch 1000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.
The ACT Government's network – provided by iiNet – will enable Canberrans to download 100 megabytes of data a day via 745 access points across Canberra, with the first point to be turned on at Garema Place in October.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the government's network would enliven Civic and create a hub of digital activity for local businesses.
"It's about ensuring we're able to share the benefits that come with technology," she said.
"It's the way the modern world works, and this will allow that to happen in a way that is free and accessible to all."