Bushfire victims offered broadband guarantee

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Bushfire victims offered broadband guarantee

Victims of Victoria's devastating bushfires and recent floods in Queensland may be eligible for the Australian Broadband Guarantee, according to Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The broadband guarantee is a safety net for regional Australians, offering providers subsidies for providing broadband services in the bush at speeds and prices comparable to metropolitan users.

"Any customer who has lost broadband service due to natural disaster, such as the recent fires in Victoria or floods in Queensland, may be eligible for the Australian Broadband Guarantee," Senator Conroy said.

Telstra reported that over 2800 Telstra fixed phone lines, over 2100 Telstra ADSL internet connections, and 47 Telstra ISDN phone lines were out of operation in the aftermath of Victoria's bushfires.

All Telstra exchanges were restored within five days. But a spokesperson for the department said there are still many people in the affected area without services - where copper lines, for example, had melted in the extreme heat.

Telstra spokesman David Luff confirmed that there are still customers in bushfire affected areas without access to fixed line services.

"There would be examples of houses and businesses in areas we haven't had a chance to look at, because of restricted access to certain sites" he said.

Telstra is currently not registered as a provider under the Australian Broadband Guarantee.

To be eligible for the subsidy, an ISP must offer a service that equals or betters peak data speeds of 512/128kbps with 3GB of included data, at a total price of less than $2500 over three years.  

Victims of natural disasters are encouraged to use the DBCDE's Broadband Service Locator or call 1800 883 488 to check whether they are eligible.


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