Australian Government Extends Free Internet Access for Eligible School Students Until 2025

In an effort to bridge the digital divide amongst school-aged children, the Australian Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the School Student Broadband Initiative (SSBI), a program providing free NBN internet to families lacking home internet access. This initiative, which has been extended through December 31, 2025, targets up to 30,000 households to ensure students remain connected to critical online educational resources.

Eligibility for the program mandates that a child must be enrolled in an Australian school, the family does not have an NBN internet service at the residence, and has not had such a service in the past 14 days. Furthermore, the home must be situated where a standard NBN connection is viable. To apply, families may either receive a referral through a national Nominating Organization or self-nominate through the National Referral Centre (NRC).

Upon confirmation of eligibility, the household will receive an eligibility letter inclusive of a voucher number and a list of participating internet service providers. The voucher, which must be redeemed with a selected provider, is valid until the end of 2024. Once connected, families will have access to two years of service under the initiative.

Lemonade Broadband participates in this program in specific Brisbane suburbs, while a range of providers cater to metro, regional, and some remote areas offering a variety of internet plans.

The summary of the article incorporates vigilant coverage on the extension of the SSBI, emphasizing the program’s goal of connecting eligible families to NBN 50 plans, with the understanding that there are no current assurances for the program’s continuation beyond the specified end date. It also touches on the post-program period acknowledging that families should be informed of their options rather than being automatically enrolled in paid plans.

**FAQ Section Based on the Article**

**What is the School Student Broadband Initiative (SSBI)?**
The SSBI is a program initiated by the Australian Government aimed at bridging the digital divide by providing free NBN internet access to families without home internet service. This is to ensure that school-aged children can stay connected to online educational resources.

**Who is eligible for the SSBI program?**
Eligibility for the SSBI program is based on the following criteria:
– The child must be enrolled in an Australian school.
– The family does not have, and has not had, an NBN internet service at their residence within the past 14 days.
– The home must be in a location where a standard NBN connection is possible.

**How can families apply for the SSBI?**
Families can apply by receiving a referral from a national Nominating Organization or by self-nominating through the National Referral Centre (NRC).

**What happens after confirming eligibility for the SSBI?**
Eligible households will receive a letter that includes a voucher number and a list of participating internet service providers (ISPs). Families must redeem the voucher with one of the ISPs before the end of 2024 to gain access to two years of service under the initiative.

**Is the SSBI limited to certain locations?**
SSBI includes providers that cover metropolitan, regional, and some remote areas. Lemonade Broadband, for instance, services specific Brisbane suburbs as part of this program.

**Will the SSBI automatically enroll families into paid plans after the initiative ends?**
The article suggests that there are no assurances for the program’s continuation beyond December 31, 2025, and acknowledges the importance for families to be informed about their options rather than being automatically enrolled in paid plans post-program.

Definitions for Key Terms and Jargon

Digital Divide: This term refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communication technology, and those that do not or have restricted access.
NBN: Stands for National Broadband Network. It is Australia’s national wholesale open-access data network project.
National Referral Centre (NRC): A designated center that manages self-nominations for various programs, in this context, for the SSBI.

Related Links

For more general information about the National Broadband Network, you can visit the official NBN website at NBN Co.

To get insights into policies and initiatives by the Australian Government regarding technology and communication, check out the main domain at Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

For further reading on educational programs and support in Australia, the main domain for the Department of Education can be found at Department of Education, Skills and Employment.