COVID-19 Phone and internet tips
Last updated 29 July 2020.
On this page:
- We’re all adjusting
- Contacting your phone or internet provider
- Help with financial difficulty
- Help with staying connected
- National Broadband Network (NBN) changes: What you need to know
- How can the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman help?
- Phone and internet providers COVID-19 response
- Tips from industry and consumer advocate
We’re all adjusting
The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the way Australians live and work. Phone and internet services are more important than ever, providing a vital link for consumers and small businesses to work, study, connect with friends and family, and access important services.
The pandemic has stress-tested the telecommunications industry. Phone and internet providers are responding to increased demand for their services while dealing with lockdowns both locally and overseas.
In early March, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman extended the timeframe for providers to respond to complaints 10 to 15 days. The timeframe for providers to respond to urgent complaints from people and small businesses at risk remains unchanged at two business days. If you can’t resolve a problem with your phone or internet provider, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is free and here to help.
Contacting your phone or internet provider
If you are experiencing problems contacting your phone or internet provider
- Be aware contacting your provider may take longer. Many providers are responding to high customer demand while operating with reduced customer support staff. It may take longer than usual for your provider to assist you.
- Try using your provider’s preferred contact method. If your provider is asking customers to contact it using a preferred method, such as online chat, use this method where possible.
- If your complaint is urgent, let your provider know. Your provider should have a suitable way to report urgent issues. Some have a dedicated phone number, online link, or may use technology to identify urgent issues in online complaints.
We've provided a short list of provider websites and social media pages to help you find what you're looking for. If you have been unable to contact your provider you can make a complaint online or call us on 1800 062 058.
Help with financial difficulty
If you cannot make your regular payments
- Tell your provider about your situation. Your provider should make it easy to report hardship, including starting its financial hardship process without needing you to ask them to. It should also promptly assess your circumstances.
- Check your provider’s website for updates on how they can help you. Some providers have made temporary changes to help customers, such as not penalising late payments or offering a free data upgrade.
- Know what you can afford. Work together with your provider to find an affordable plan for paying your provider – and then make the payments agreed to. If you need to reduce your ongoing costs and your provider does not offer a suitable post-paid option, consider transferring your services to prepaid.
If you have been unable to contact your provider you can make a complaint online or call us on 1800 062 058.
Help with staying connected
If you are experiencing a fault, transfer, or connection delay:
- Contact your provider to report a service problem. Contact your provider to report a fault or if you are experiencing a delay in transferring or connecting your service. Be prepared to work with your provider to troubleshoot the issue – it may be able to fix the problem remotely. Check your provider’s website for details of any issues affecting services in your area.
- Ask for an interim service. Your provider may be able to provide an interim service you can use until your service is restored or connected. Let your provider know if the affected service is your only method of contact, or if you need the service to work or study from home.
- Keep your current service active. If you are changing provider, waiting for a new service to be connected or transferring your phone number, keep your current services active.
National Broadband Network (NBN) changes: What you need to know
Already on the NBN?
NBN Co has temporarily released extra network capacity to help deal with the increased demand for phone and internet services delivered over the NBN.
Increased Sky Muster data limits
To support consumers working and studying from home, NBN Co has temporarily added an extra 45GB to the data download limit for each standard Sky Muster service. Providers pass the extra data on to consumers.
Education Assistance Package
NBN Co is funding a program for providers to offer affordable NBN plans to eligible families with school-aged children who do not currently have an active nbn connection at home.
Waiting to get on the NBN?
If you are not yet connected to the NBN, there may now be more time before your current services are disconnected.
Telstra, NBN Co and the Australian Government have agreed to put a pause on the rules about disconnecting copper and other existing services. This will ensure customers that have not yet moved to the NBN can remain connected at a time when staying in touch is more important than ever.
How can the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman help?
Help with unresolved phone and internet complaints
Residential consumers and small businesses first need to try to resolve their complaint with their phone or internet provider. If the complaint remains unresolved you can lodge a complaint through our online form. We’re here to help, and we’re all in this together.
Help for people or small businesses at risk
We understand how critical it is for people and small businesses at risk to remain connected through phone and internet services. And we are here to help.
We offer priority assistance to people who:
- have a serious medical condition, or a registered priority assistance service, or
- need an ongoing mobile or internet service to deal with a specific safety risk, or
- need urgent financial hardship support from their provider.
We offer urgent assistance to small businesses whose:
- phone or internet services are completely or partly unusable, or
- business’s phone or internet outage may cause harm to others (for example, the business runs a medical practice or counselling service).
Phone or internet issues for people working from home
Phone or internet problems for people working from home are not in themselves urgent complaints. We understand many people are relying on their home phone or internet services for work now more than ever. Contact us to discuss your unresolved phone or internet problem – we are here to help.
Phone and internet providers COVID-19 response
In this rapidly changing environment, it is important that you access the most up to date information from your provider.
M2 Commander Website
Kogan Mobile Website
Tips from industry and consumer advocate
Communications Alliance website
NBN Co website