Friday, 17 April 2020 10:02

NBN Co offers $150m to help low-income families, SMBs during lockdown Featured

NBN Co offers $150m to help low-income families, SMBs during lockdown Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

The NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's broadband network, has created a $150 million fund to help low-income families with home schooling and small and medium-sized businesses and households who face financial issues during the coronavirus lockdown.

The help will be channelled through Internet service providers, the company said in a statement, adding that it followed a short period of consultation with more than 50 providers, the government and the consumer group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

About a third of this amount will go to providers to help low-income families who do not have an NBN connection. These families would be identified through the Department of Education and schools in each state.

Some of the funding will go to help provide higher speeds for telehealth providers, better service, and prioritised connections and fault resolution.

The money would be provided to retailers between April and September but it was up to the RSPs to develop appropriate offers based on their customers' needs, NBN Co said.

As part of this offer, the NBN Co said it would waive the $37 monthly wholesale charge on the 25/5Mbps speed tier for RSPs.

“We know that many Australian households and businesses are doing it tough, and that access to broadband services has never been more important," NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue said.

“Helping households get connected and supporting Australian homes and businesses stay connected is a priority for the NBN Co. We are confident these funding relief and assistance measures will make a difference and help internet providers support their customers.”

ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin said: "The Internet is an essential service for work, study, and accessing government and telehealth services.

“NBN Co is to be applauded for laying the groundwork to keep struggling families and households connected during this difficult time. We hope to see the nation’s retail service providers build on these foundations to deliver financial relief to those in need.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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