COVID-19 BIRRR Connectivity Tips

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia many BIRRR members are faced with the prospect of working from home, running businesses from home and educating children (and themselves) from home.
NB: Some of us actually already do this as part of our everyday lives.

PROVIDER COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENTS

Check with your provider if they are offering any special deals or discounts during this time e.g. free landline calls, extra data, un-metering, add on school holiday data packs etc. Ensure you check out the terms and conditions of each offer to determine if you are eligible and how to activate the offer. Also check with your provider to see if they have Financial Hardship assistance available or offering additional help such as temporarily waiving late payment fees. This page will be updated as offers are announced

NBN SKY MUSTER PROVIDERS
  • SkyMesh– starting 23rd March  (at this stage for the next 3 months) Sky Muster satellite customers on normal plans will receive 10GB of relief data blocks delivered every Monday.  Historically SkyMesh have had school holiday data, their network engineers are currently investigating whether school holiday data can continue for the Easter Holidays, without causing a congested experience. Click on link for terms and conditions.
  • Activ8 – nbn Sky Muster users will get early ‘school holiday data’ 5GB per week extra at no cost between 23rd March – 19th April 2020, three months free trial of PlayOn Cloud app including 21 free recordings per-month, a further allocation of 10GB per week for 3 months was announced on 20/3/2020 Click on link for terms and conditions.
  • HarbourISP – nbn Sky Muster customers will receive an additional 10GB of peak data per week for the next three months beginning 23rd March
  • Clear Networks – All Sky Muster plans have an additional 45GB Peak data for the next 3 months, starting from April 2020. Use Promo code:  SKYCOVID19 on checkout to get a new Sky Muster plan at half price for 6 months on 12 month contract plans (plans $59 and above).
  • IpStar – From Monday 30th of March 2020 IPSTAR Broadband will be providing an additional 10GB per week of download data allowance for each service on standard nbnTM SkymusterTM Plans for the next 3 months. This additional data will end on the 30th June 2020 and will be applicable only to your current data plan.
  • Southern Phone – from 31/03/20 (for up to 3 months) nbn Sky Muster normal plans additional 90GB of data (45GB off-peak and 45GB on-peak) to use each month.
  • BordernetSky Muster satellite customers on normal plans will receive 10GB of relief data blocks delivered every Monday.
MOBILE BROADBAND, ADSL, NBN Fixed Line & NBN FIXED WIRELESS
    • Telstra – consumer & small business home broadband customers (ADSL, NBN & Cable)  unlimited data at no extra charge, consumer & small business mobile customers (both post and pre paid) extra data (NB: MUST be applied for through the Telstra app, whilst connect to the Telstra network – not wi-fi), unlimited local, national & 13/1300 calls to eligible pensioners, un-metering of certain education sites. Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Optus – extra data offered for mobile broadband pre-paid and post-paid users. Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Vodafone – extra data to post-paid & pre-paid mobile broadband users, un-metering of certain health sites, payment assistance for those demonstrating financial hardship, unlimited standard national calls for those who have capped call plans. Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Aussie Broadband – unmetered data 6am to 6pm, halting service suspensions & in some cases, fasters speeds. Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Superloop – all fixed line customers will be moved to unlimited plans until 30/04/2020 Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Southern Phone 24/7 unlimited data to all NBN (excluding Satellite) & ADSL Broadband from 23/03/2020 – 30/06/2020. You don’t need to do anything, the unlimited data will be provided automatically to you, at no extra charge. Click on link for terms and conditions.
    • Amaysin – All plans will be given additional data and upgraded to unlimited talk and text.
    • BOOST Mobile – 5GB bonus data for $40 and $50 plans, 10GB bonus data on $70 plans Available from March 30th, 2020 and valid for 1 pay cycle. Changes will be automatically implemented, and are only applicable to existing customers.
  • ALTERNATE FIXED WIRELESS PROVIDERS 
    • RemoteISP – In the event of schools closure or you require to work from home, we will ensure that your data limits are doubled if needed at no extra cost to you.   Contact Fiona – accounts@remoteisp.com.au
      or  0422 73 66 83 to activate.

Check your emails and your provider’s website for your provider’s specific offerings.

ACCAN Telco Assistance Packages

Here are BIRRR’s top 10 connectivity tips.

  1. Do not panic. Be resourceful and resilient. 
  2. Do not comment on media posts that the internet in regional Australia will fail and crash or will not cope with an influx of usage or will disadvantage regional students – these comments are NOT helpful and NOT true.
    NB: If you believe someone is spreading incorrect information or is not sure on how to get the best connection, send them our way. We are experienced in informing, reassuring & supporting people on how to get connected and how to stay connected (and explaining this in simple terms).
  3. Use this time to review and research your plans and technology to ensure your connection/s meet your family’s needs. Chat with your provider about what they can offer you and what your needs are in regards to working at home and/or educating from home. You may be able to ask for a ‘plan match‘ that gives extra data or increase your speed tier without paying much more than what you pay now. Many providers have social media chat facilities or you can ask for a ‘callback’ if the line is busy. Ensure that your provider has useful data usage statistics that you can access, so that you can keep track of your data. Check out the BIRRR tips on how to choose a good nbn provider.
  4. For those on nbn Sky Muster connections, utilising BIRRR tips on how to save data/use off peak data:

5. NBN Sky Muster users could consider upgrading to a nbn Sky Muster Plus planFrom 1 April 2020, nbn Sky Muster PLUS plans unmetered activities will be significantly expanded to cover all online content and applications, with only two exclusions – video streaming and VPN traffic – which will continue to be metered. Read our Sky Muster Plus fact sheet for further info.

 

nbn Sky Muster Plus account highlighting a customer who watched a 2 hour online tertiary QUT video lecture on Monday evening. The two orange columns show that the lecture was unmetered (ie the data used did not count towards their plan allowance).

6. Be patient, providers have busy call centres and may be limited in staff. Ask for a call back if your provider offers one, or try contacting them by their social media page/s or via email.

7. Nbn is actively working with retailers to ensure they optimise the network to support Australians in anticipation of unprecedented demand. Please bear in mind that nbn are a wholesaler so any developments have to be approved by providers.

From Monday 23 March NBN Co will immediately offer internet providers access to pricing relief as required to help meet demand over time at no additional cost.
NBN Co has also announced satellite broadband retailers will have temporary access to an additional 45 Gigabytes (GB) of download data for each standard Sky Muster plan from 31 March 2020, for one month. NBN Co will review demand and determine the appropriate level of allocation for an additional two months. nbn Satellite providers are encouraged to pass this data onto their customers.
NB: NBN Co has also committed to suspend the managed disconnection of legacy copper services to the 70 per cent of regional premises that can access the NBN via fixed line services, and to suspend all non‑essential work on its fixed wireless network to minimise disruptions to services and keep regional Australians connected.

8. Use Apple screen time settings to limit non essential tasks on your smart phone or tablet i-devices. Reduce the settings on video streaming programs such as Netflix . Unless required turn off video in conferences (e.g. uni lectures often don’t require the student to have video – only audio, switched on)

9. If you aren’t getting the experience you want from your internet service or aren’t sure how to chose the best connection for your needs BIRRR has many tips and advice that may help you to decide or troubleshoot your connection. Check out our website or create a post in our Facebook group stating your specific technology, your provider and your location, alternatively you can email us for advice – birrraus@gmail.com

10. KEEP CALM – explain to your workplace/school/university that it may take a few days to get yourself set up and find out all the information you need to optimise your service. Don’t be afraid to highlight any difficulties you feel you may have in regards to working or educating from home.

The Government have held a telecommunications roundtable to ensure measures are in place to support telecommunications during this time.

Prepared for BIRRR by the BIRRR Admin team, updated  30/03/2020.  Please check with your provider for correct advise regarding your connections.