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The Albanese government has made changes to how people can access free home internet through its School Student Broadband Initiative.

Families who meet the criteria can now directly nominate themselves for the scheme through the new National Referral Centre, run by Anglicare Victoria.

Here’s a straightforward guide to what this means:

Introducing the National Referral Centre

The government has set up the National Referral Centre so eligible families don’t have to access the scheme via a third party nomination.

This centre makes it much simpler for up to 30,000 families to join the SSBI as they are now able to phone the centre or make contact online.

NBN voucher for big savings

Upon being approved to join the SSBI, each family will receive an NBN voucher to then be presented to their nearest broadband provider.

Why is this happening?

The significance of this issue became even more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic when many students shifted to online learning.

The government recognised that numerous students lacked access to quality internet at home, causing too many to get left behind.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said it was a necessity for every Australian student in 2023 to have access to fast and reliable internet.

Without it, they can’t fully participate in online learning at school or home.

Eligibility and why it matters

This program is for families with school students who don’t have reliable home internet.

The government thinks that fast broadband is essential for students’ online learning, especially in today’s education system.

To be eligible for SSBI, a family must:

Have a child living at home and enrolled in an Australian school.

Be referred by an organisation or self-nominate through the National Referral Centre.

Not have an active broadband service over the NBN network.

Live in a place where they can get a standard NBN service.

Have not had an active NBN connection during the past 14 days.

The progress so far

Since its launch in January, the SSBI has successfully connected more than 4000 families across the country.

An extra 18,700 connection vouchers have been given to eligible families.

These vouchers allow families to access free NBN internet through local providers.

Anglicare Victoria’s important role

Anglicare Victoria will run the new National Referral Centre.

They want to make sure more families get the help they need.

Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald sad good internet was crucial for modern education, and he wanted to ensure no kids are left behind.

They want to assist families directly, making it easier for them to get the help they need.

Contacting the National Referral Centre

To contact the National Referral Centre through phone 1800 954 610 or visit anglicarevic.org.au/student-internet

Originally published as Your guide to understanding the School Student Broadband Initiative

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By Rahul

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