How to get a discount on your broadband during COVID-19
Social distancing restrictions mean many Aussies are dealing with reduced hours or income, or even unemployment. Although things are beginning to return to normal, many people are still struggling to afford their Internet bill.
The good news is that the majority of providers are offering support to help customers meet those looming due dates. Find out below what sort of assistance your provider is offering.
Eligible customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 will not be charged any late payment fees until 30 June. Vodafone has also reduced its data coverage cost to $5/GB in Australia. It will not be suspending services or undertaking debt collection for customers on a financial hardship program.
The telco is temporarily halting the suspension of plans as a result of COVID-19 related non-payment. If your finances have been impacted by COVID-19 you may also be eligible for extended payment plan terms and the waiving of any remaining contract fees if you wish to cancel your service.
For more information, check out the provider's financial hardship policy, which includes support options such as payment plans, service restrictions and temporary plan downgrades.
Between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020, Optus is offering unlimited data to eligible Home Broadband customers or those on a limited plan. This will be applied automatically. The telco is still offering its regular Financial Hardship Assistance program during this time.
Telstra is offering unlimited data for eligible customers from 19 March until 30 June, which will be applied automatically. It will also waive late fees for overdue bills during this period and has set up an online bill assistance hub for customers who are struggling financially during this time.
NBN provider Superloop is offering 6 months of free home broadband services and installation for up to 5,000 disadvantaged Australian families to assist with online learning. The offer is available until September 2020.
What if my provider hasn't issued a COVID-19 relief package?
There's still a good chance it will have a financial hardship program available. The best thing to do is to get in touch with your provider and be honest about your situation so you can come to the best possible resolution.
Taking a look at the hardship support that other providers are offering can also give you an idea of what to ask for in your discussions.
Tips for lowering the cost of your Internet bill
Disconnect devices that you aren't using
The average Australian home has close to 20 devices that connect to the Internet. Disconnecting unused devices will limit data use and prevent you from going over your plan.
Hit pause on streaming services
Many of us are dialling into Zoom and binging on Netflix more than usual - that's a lot of data consumption. Switch off video mode on Zoom where possible and think about other ways to spend your free time that won't be burning through your Internet. Whether that's reading a book, getting out for a walk or a phone call with a friend.
When was the last time you reassessed your broadband plan? If your plan is too large, you may be paying for data you'll never use. On the other hand, a plan that is too small will be costing you extra in data add-ons each month.
Data usage calculators can help you to work out the right amount of data for your household. From here, you can decide whether you need a basic or unlimited plan, or somewhere in between.