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Telstra Launches Online Travel Service

From Australia.internet.com

Telstra Big Pond Home, the consumer Internet service provider arm of Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications carrier, launched an online travel booking and information service for its Big Pond customers.

The Big Pond Travel service is made to give users direct access to 472 airlines, 45,300 hotels, 54 car rental companies, the latest travel deals and daily travel news as well as general information on worldwide destinations.

Users will have the ability to book ground and air transport, travel insurance, hotel rooms, receive foreign exchange, visa and passport information along with general information such as weather charts and maps, the company said. There will also be the facility for travellers to ask questions via online forums and gain feedback from travel consultants.

"Customers can also take advantage of online forums, and provide travel tips for other users," said Melissa Brown, Telstra's online manager for travel. "It's more than just information, it's interactive and it's just the start as Telstra will continually add new features to the service."

Telstra Big Pond Travel will work with various Australian travel companies such as Jetset and Global Vision, in providing its new service.

Users can access Big Pond Travel from Big Pond's homepage. Once inside the site, the company said users have a choice of six major categories: bookings, travel news, shopping, travel chat, destination guide and important information. As part of its content re-development, Big Pond Home has recently simplified its homepage and as part of the reconstruction, users can now also access services such as money, business, entertainment, computers, news and sport along with the new travel service.

In related news, Telstra also announced the launch of eatfresh.com, an online grocery service that will use Telstra's SureLink e-commerce service.

eatfresh.com, the brainchild of two Victorian women, Anne Vinton and Jacqueline Steedman, is designed to allow users to purchase and have home delivered within 24 hours, fresh fruit and vegetables. SureLink, currently services 30 Web sites including Australian book retailer, Angus and Robertson Bookworld; and insurance group, the Prudential Corp.