Telstra, Optus and Vodafone offer flood disaster relief to customers

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With thousands of people currently evacuated across NSW due to the ongoing severe weather and flooding, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have each announced new support measures for impacted phone and internet customers.

If you’re a Telstra, Optus or Vodafone customer experiencing property damage, loss of service, or any flood-related hardship, you may have access to relief including free calls, call diversions, and account credit.

Telstra flood assistance

Mirroring previous disaster relief efforts implemented in the 2019/2020 bushfire season, Telstra has again launched an assistance package for both residential and small business customers. Telstra’s help pack is available to customers who have been evacuated or who have lost phone or broadband services due to storms and floods.

Telstra is providing access to free short-term services to help customers stay connected and in touch over the next few days and weeks, including:

  • Free use of Telstra payphones in affected areas
  • Free call diversion from fixed homes or businesses to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of carrier
  • A 25GB data pack for postpaid mobile customers with a 30-day expiry
  • A 25GB data pack and free calls for prepaid mobile customers with a 30-day expiry

If you’re a Telstra customer who has suffered severe property damage or loss of your premises in the current severe weather, you may be eligible for long-term assistance. This includes:

  • Free call diversion from fixed homes or businesses to another fixed or mobile service of the customer’s choice, regardless of carrier, for up to 6 months
  • A one-off credit to the value of $500 to a customer’s Telstra fixed/home phone account, to cover costs such as temporary phone connections or re-connection of existing services

Help is available to available to all impacted Telstra customers in applicable areas of the NSW North Coast and Mid North Coast, as well as metro and Greater Sydney. Telstra is sending an SMS with information on disaster relief to customers in affected postcodes, but you can also call the telco’s disaster assistance team on 1800 888 888 if you need immediate support.

Optus flood assistance

Optus has also confirmed that it will extend special support to customers who have been displaced or affected by the current disaster, with help and options to be determined by each customer’s specific circumstances.

“Whether a customer needs a bonus data boost, call diversions, service suspension, free prepaid credit or a bill waiver, we have a range of support options depending on individual needs,” said Matt Williams, Optus Managing Director, Marketing & Revenue.

“Importantly they may not immediately know what support they need, so for Optus, providing flexibility and the reassurance that we are here to help is the best thing we can do right now.”

If you are an Optus customer in need of help, the telco has set up a dedicated customer number specifically for flood and storm assistance. Impacted customers can call 1800 507 581, or request support via the MyOptus app or the Optus Yes Crowd online forums.

In addition to providing individually tailored support to customers, Optus is also releasing regular updates on its network status in affected locations. The telco is also offering on-site help at evacuation centres in Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Taree and Kempsey (including providing complementary use of mobile phones and prepaid recharge vouchers), and may roll out portable infrastructure in areas where mobile reception has been impacted.

Vodafone flood assistance

Vodafone is offering a series of relief measures to customers in affected areas of NSW and South East QLD, effective immediately. Impacted postpaid and prepaid customers are eligible for the following:

  • 10GB of bonus data for customers in evacuated areas (redeem by calling 1555 or speaking with Vodafone live chat)
  • Data-free access to emergency websites
  • Access to Vodafone’s financial hardship options

“We can only imagine the stress and anxiety some of our customers are facing. We want to take some of this worry away and help our customers to stay connected to the people important to them and the services they need,” said Kieran Cooney, Group Executive Consumer at Vodafone.

“We will offer to provide additional data to the accounts of Vodafone customers who are in evacuation areas to help them stay in touch and access emergency services information.”

If you’re a Vodafone customer, you can also now access selected emergency services and news websites without using your plan’s data. Data-free websites include:

  • www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
  • www.bom.gov.au
  • www.abc.net.au
  • www.livetraffic.com
  • www.disasterassist.gov.au
  • www.redcross.org.au
  • www.emergency.nsw.gov.au
  • www.ses.nsw.gov.au
  • www.ses.qld.gov.au
  • www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au

Content on these sites will be exempt from data use, but be aware that third party services included on these sites may not be zero-rated.

Updates from NBN Co

NBN Co is advising that storms have left around 7,000 homes in NSW without access to NBN services. This is mainly due to power outages; if your connection has been impacted, you’ll probably need to sit tight and wait for your electricity to be restored before you can jump back online.

While some NBN infrastructure has suffered minor water damage, no major facilities have been submerged or heavily damaged by flooding. In areas affected by floods, NBN Co is working with local emergency services and will offer satellite and WiFi resources to evacuees and communities if needed.

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