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Tech update: From faster connections to more financial help

The world moves fast, but the internet often doesn’t. If you’re one of the two million Australians whose internet speed is slower than a wet weekend, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear this big tech update: you can now upgrade to full-fibre. But there’s a catch.

And it’s not the only news you should be across in the tech world. Let’s take a look at some of the changes worth wrapping our heads around.

The latest in tech news

The NBN update

More than two million additional Australian households are now ready to order a full-fibre NBN connection. This upgrade is part of the NBN fibre upgrade program, boosted by the Australian Government’s additional $2.4 billion investment.

To find out if your area will get an upgrade, check NBN’s website. Head to the “Most popular questions” section located towards the end of the page. Here, select the question “How are the eligible locations chosen?” and click on “Find out if we’re upgrading near you”. By selecting your state, a list of neighbourhoods with upcoming upgrades will be displayed.

Cost and benefits for you

Now, let's talk about the elephant in the room - the cost. While the exact pricing will depend on your chosen retailer and plan, upgrading to full fibre is an investment in speed, reliability, and overall internet experience. But remember, with greater power comes a higher price tag. Ask your provider to give you the full cost upfront.

What do you get in return for this investment? Full fibre opens up a world of high-speed internet, offering the fastest residential speed tiers. This means that the entire family can be online simultaneously without a hitch. Imagine the entire household in separate Zoom calls, streaming 4k movies and playing Zelda at the same time. The full fibre connection ensures a seamless online experience.


Father and his little son playing video games, enjoying fast internet connection


The real game-changer here is the blazing fast download speeds, which can get close to 1Gbps. The internet experience is not just better, it's potentially exceptional. Let's put it into perspective with a fun example - downloading a hefty update for Call of Duty – Cold War (that's 130GB) could take less than 30 minutes. Compare that to a snail-paced seven hours it would usually take on a 50Mbps connection. That's quite a difference, right? It's like choosing between a laid-back stroll and a rocket ship ride!

Help is at hand for telco bills

If you're having a tough time financially and need a helping hand with your telco bill, there are now clear guidelines and priority systems in place to ensure you receive the support you need.

Recently, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released a report revealing that a surprising number of Australians, around 2.4 million, had a rough time paying their telco bills in the past year. The report also highlighted that out of these, only 64 percent knew they could reach out to their telco for help managing bills.

One thing the report pointed out was that telco providers don’t often check in with customers who might be struggling financially. The report said, "It was rare for telcos to initiate contact, especially human contact, in relation to potential financial hardship”. And unfortunately, these companies aren't always as flexible as they could be when it comes to helping out customers in a tight spot.

ACMA's expectations and compliance priorities

In light of the report's findings, ACMA has laid down clear expectations for telcos when it comes to supporting their customers, especially those who are vulnerable. These expectations include:

    • Fair treatment: Telcos should ensure you’re treated fairly, so you don't face problems when using their communication services
    • Quick response: If you’re facing financial difficulties, telcos should be quick to spot this and offer assistance
    • Support plans: Good plans should be in place to help you if you're struggling, ensuring you can use and continue to use the phone and internet services you need
    • Prioritising support: Helping customers who are in a tough spot should be an integral part of their business plan.

A woman happy to access telco financial assistance


If you’re having troubles working things out directly with your provider, you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for help.

Remember, you can access financial hardship assistance from more than just telcos. Be sure to check out our previous insider tip for more information.

iiNet changes

Since being taken over TPG in 2015, iiNet has experienced quite a few changes. Their most recent shift is their decision to say goodbye to their email services, in an effort to streamline their focus on their key offerings: internet and mobile services.

If you're an iiNet customer, you can transfer your iiNet email address to another provider, The Messaging Company. This way, your emails, contacts, or calendar events won’t get lost in the shuffle. Plus, this change won't impact your internet and Toolbox login details.

If you want to retain your iiNet email address, you'll need to:

    • Visit The Messaging Company's website and enter your iiNet email address. They’ll send you a unique PIN that you’ll use to authorise your signup on their site.
    • Provide your name and contact number, and agree to the transfer from iiNet. Don’t forget to review and accept the terms of service and privacy policy.
    • Your email address will then be ready to shift over to The Messaging Company. You can keep using your iiNet email as usual until the transfer takes place.
    • You'll receive a reminder before your email address is transferred. Once the transfer is done, you might need to create a new password.

If you encounter any tech issues after the transfer, reach out to The Messaging Company for support. iiNet won't be able to provide tech assistance anymore.

And if you decide not to keep your iiNet email address, it will be deleted after 30 November 2023. And it can't be recovered, which means you’ll lose access to any emails stored on the iiNet mail server. Also, any messages sent to your iiNet email address after this date will bounce back to the sender as undeliverable.

Is it free?

Wondering about costs? You can use your iiNet email address with The Messaging Company for free until 15 September 2024. If you want to continue using your email address with them after this date, they’ll let you know about the pricing options.

For more information, check out terms and conditions on iiNet’s website.

The Optus data breach

It's been a year filled with uncertainties for Optus customers, following a massive data breach. Optus is still unsure about the amount of customer data that was stolen, except for over 10,000 customer files which were released by the hacker.


A woman shocked to learn the tech news about Optus data breach


Adding to the worries, the topic of compensation remains a contentious issue with no clear resolution in sight. While an external investigation into the incident is still ongoing, Optus asserts that it shouldn't be obligated to provide compensation, even if there was a violation of telecommunications regulations that mandate the secure storage of user data.

What’s the next step?

If you suspect you may have been affected by the recent Optus data breach:

    • Contact Optus: Give Optus Customer Service a call at 133 937 to discuss any concerns or queries you might have about the data breach. You can also find more information on the Optus data breach page.
    • Secure your devices and accounts: Keep a close eye out for any unusual activity and ensure all your devices have the latest security updates installed.
    • Enable multi-factor authentication: To ramp up your security, switch on multi-factor authentication on all your accounts. This adds another layer of defence against unauthorised access.
    • Stay alert for scams: Be vigilant for any scams that might refer to the Optus data breach. Learn how to protect yourself against scams by visiting resources such as Scamwatch.
    • Contact your bank and IDCARE: If you're worried that your identity has been compromised or have fallen victim to a scam, contact your bank immediately. You can also ask IDCARE for support at 1800 595 160.
    • Apply for a Commonwealth Victims' Certificate: If your identity has been stolen, you can apply for a Commonwealth Victims' Certificate to help sort out any problems caused by identity theft.
    • Report cybercrime: If you believe you've been a victim of a cybercrime, report the it to ReportCyber.

If you’re not happy with how things have been handled concerning the Optus data breach, you can lodge a complaint with us. We understand how stressful and worrying incidents like these can be, and we’re here to help.