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Free NBN: Little-known way Aussie families could save $2,000 a year on internet costs

The School Student Broadband Initiative still has more than 20,000 places available.

Thousands of Aussie families could be eligible to receive free internet, under a little-known government initiative offering savings until the end of next year.

The School Student Broadband Initiative (SSBI) provides eligible families who have no internet at home a free National Broadband Network (NBN) service.

The scheme, which launched in February last year, still has more than 20,000 places available and has been extended to offer families free broadband until December 31, 2025.

NBN logo and Australian money. Internet savings concept.
Thousands of Aussie families with no internet could be eligible for free NBN. (Source: AAP/Getty)

Are you an Aussie family being hit with rising costs? Share your story with tamika.seeto@yahooinc.com

NBN estimates families could save between $1,500 and $2,000 per year under the SSBI scheme, which covers the cost of installation, NBN equipment and monthly fees.

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There is no income cap for the scheme. Families will need to have a school-aged student at home, NBN access and no active broadband service during the previous 14 days.

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Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said all school students should have access to “reliable, fast broadband”.

“The flow-on benefits for participants are immense, with many families able to access essential services like telehealth from home for the first time,” Rowland said when announcing the scheme’s extension.

How can I get free internet?

Families can apply to receive free internet until December 31, 2024, or until the number of available places is exhausted.

You can check your eligibility for the scheme by contacting the National Referral Centre, operated by Anglicare Victoria, on 1800 954 610 or by visiting its website.

The National Referral Centre team will help issue you with a voucher to redeem at any participating internet provider over the NBN network. If you are eligible, free internet will be provided until December 31, 2025.

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Quicker internet speeds proposed

It comes as NBN Co proposes to “turbo-charge” internet speeds for Aussies with up to five times faster download speeds on some of its high-speed offerings.

For example, the plan would see the NBN Home Fast move from 100 Mbps download speed to 500 Mbps, and 20 Mbps upload speed to 50 Mbps.

NBN said these accelerated speeds would be delivered “at no extra wholesale cost to internet retailers” and hoped to deliver the fastest services to customers later this year or early next year.