Government extends free home broadband for school kids to 2025
The Albanese Government is extending its new program providing free home broadband to school kids without internet at home to the end of 2025, delivering $4.3 million to NBN Co to further support educational outcomes and households struggling with cost of living pressures.
Launched in February this year, the School Student Broadband Initiative (SSBI) is providing up to 30,000 eligible families with school-aged children to free broadband for a year over the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The additional funding takes the total Federal Government investment in the program with NBN Co to $8.8 million, and means eligible families will instead remain connected until 31 December 2025.
The funding extension also means families can continue to sign up to the program until 31 December 2024.
Just over 5,000 families have already been connected through the program, with around 42% of connected families living in regional communities.
Families can self-nominate via the recently launched National Referral Centre, or be referred by approved nominating organisations who work with vulnerable communities.
To be eligible, a family must:
- Have a child living at home and enrolled in an Australian school
- Be referred by a nominating organisation or self-nominate through the National Referral Centre
- Have no active home broadband service over the NBN network
- Live in a premises that can access a standard NBN service.
Families can contact the National Referral Centre on 1800 954 610 (Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm AEDT) or visit: www.anglicarevic.org.au/student-internet.
The Government is considering options to support participating families at the end of 2025, including asking the NBN Low-Income and Digital Inclusion Forum to examine discounted products.
To implement the SSBI extension, NBN Co will be working with nominating organisations, internet providers and other key stakeholders over the coming weeks.
For more information on the SSBI, visit: www.infrastructure.gov.au/SSBI
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“In 2023, Australian school students should have access to reliable, fast broadband to fully participate in online learning at school and at home.
“That’s why the Albanese Government is investing an additional $4.3 million to extend the School Student Broadband Initiative until the end of 2025.
”The SSBI is already helping to change the lives of over 5,000 families across the country. The flow on benefits for participants are immense, with many families able to access essential services like telehealth from home for the first time.
“This funding certainty will mean more Australians can take advantage of the transformational benefits of broadband, and yet another example of our Government’s work to address cost of living pressures and narrow the digital divide”.
Quotes attributable to the Acting NBN Co CEO, Phillip Knox:
“NBN is proud to continue to support the delivery of the Australian Government's School Student Broadband Initiative.
“We know that access to a fast home broadband connection is important in supporting education and building digital skills for the world’s growing reliance on digital technology.
“It’s a great example of how we’re working to achieve our purpose to lift the digital capability of Australia.