NBN Co have announced it will establish a $150 million financial relief and assistance fund to help internet providers to support their residential and small and medium business customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the announcement, NBN said the relief fund was created following a short consultation with internet providers, government and the consumer group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.
NBN said approximately $50 million in funding will be directed to internet service providers so they can support low-income households with school-aged children, who do not currently have an active NBN connection at home.
NBN connections include Sky Muster satellite and fixed wireless connections, as well as broadband cable connections, not mobile technologies.
The company said it is working with the Department of Education and schools in each state and territory to ensure this initiative reaches those most in need.
NBN said it would also implement relief measures to help internet providers support struggling households and small and medium businesses stay connected during the pandemic, and it will specifically deliver a dedicated support package for essential and emergency services, focusing on providing internet providers higher speeds for telehealth providers, enhanced service levels, and prioritised connections and fault resolution.
Business will also be covered, with the NBN announcing providers will have discounted access to new connections of specified wholesale business grade products to help them to maintain their businesses
Both the support package for small and medium businesses, as well as the relief measures for residential hardship are expected to be valued at $50 million each.
NBN Co said the relief and assistance package would be made available to retailers in accordance with applicable terms and conditions from April to 30 September but it would be up to the internet service providers to determine how and when they offer relief to customers.