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Telstra gives free data gift as Australians embrace video streaming

Rod Chester

IF you’re a Telstra internet customer who pushes their internet data allowance to its limit, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Telstra is giving its internet customers a “gift” of free data that comes apparently without strings but not without reason.

The carrier today came clean on why some of its customers had received a “gift” of extra data on their monthly allowance.

Telstra today would not say how much each of its customers will get in this great gigabyte giveaway. For some, on 500GB plans, it means an extra 500GB each month but other gifts will not be as generous.

A Telstra spokesman said “we created a range of specific data allowance bands that would simplify our data top up offer to our customers.”

The first Telstra customers knew of the extra data allowance was an email with the subject line “what a nice surprise feels like”.

In demand ... Customers are flocking to video streaming services on their phone and ipads

In demand … Customers are flocking to video streaming services on their phone and ipads. Source: News Limited

Telstra today said it would be informing its more than 2.5 million consumer fixed broadband customers of the new allowance in coming months. The data “gift” will be given to all Telstra customers on ADSL, cable and NBN plans.

The timing of the gift is clearly not coincidence. The emails began going out on the day Netflix Australia launched its subscription video-on-demand service in Australia.

Telstra Director Fixed Broadband Stuart Bird said Australians were increasingly obsessed with streaming video, with it now accounting for 30 per cent of data traffic on Telstra’s fixed network up from virtually nothing five years ago.

Each month, Telstra broadband customers watch 27.5 petabytes of video, which is equivalent to 13 million hours of streaming high definition video.

The extra data allowance for Telstra home broadband users is also part of Telstra’s plan to use people’s home internet for the greater good.

Telstra plans to launch the world’s largest network of public hot spots this year, tapping into people’s home Wi-Fi.

The Telstra Wi-Fi Network, announced last year, will involve an opt-in network of its home broadband customers who will be given free access to the public Wi-Fi network in return for sharing their home bandwidth using special modems.