Budget UK ISP TalkTalk has today teamed up with Plume to offer their existing broadband customers “exclusive” access to a new “cloud-coordinated” WiFi system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimise your home wireless network, which it claims could improve the signal’s coverage, stability and speed.
The new product essentially consists of several “SuperPod” devices (of a similar size to plug-in WiFi extenders), one of which will need to connect directly into TalkTalk’s router via Ethernet cable, and an app to help manage them. The service also adds customisable guest access for your network, as well as parental controls and various security features.
In simple terms this appears to be TalkTalk’s way of responding to BT’s new Complete Wi-Fi (mesh network) solution and just like the latter it’s not free. The Plume membership offered specifically for TalkTalk customers costs an extra £9 per month for a 1 year commitment, which includes a two-SuperPod starter pack. Additional SuperPods are £69 each for expansion of the home Wi-Fi coverage
Further details can be found on TalkTalk’s Plume page, where the service is expressed as being an “invitation-only launch” and as such customers will have to register their interest first. However you can still purchase Plume’s service directly from them too, albeit priced in USD.
Phil Amy, Director of Product at TalkTalk, said:
“We’re continuously looking for ways to deliver great connectivity around the home and we know that fast, reliable Wi-Fi coverage is really important to our customers, particularly as the amount of time they’re spending online is increasing. Plume’s easy to use and personalised service aligns directly with TalkTalk’s core values of providing simple and reliable connectivity.”
Sri Nathan, co-Founder of Plume, added:
“Since launching Plume in the US, we’ve received a tremendous amount of interest from the UK. We are thrilled to deliver a new level of personalisation, connectivity, and security in the home to TalkTalk subscribers.
TalkTalk is the perfect partner to expand Plume’s reach to a wider audience and continue our mission of delivering new, high quality services for the connected home.”
Interestingly the ISP “recommends” that you “switch off Wi-Fi on your TalkTalk router once Plume is set up,” which effectively makes it a replacement for the existing WiFi network on their router (TalkTalk’s latest Wi-Fi Hub router is comparatively good at wireless for a bundled device). In that sense some people might find it easier to just buy a WiFi signal extender on the cheap, since all these new mesh style WiFi systems tend to be quite pricey, but some bigger homes will certainly benefit.