Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Discussions regarding new & existing plans and other Exetel initiatives
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by jon_m_obrien » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:21 pm

The original post seems to imply that a pensioner won't use a computer as much as a non-pensioner and so a pensioner discount could be offered with a lessor offering.

Typically pensioner discounts are given with the same offering as to everyone else, just at a discounted price. When a pensioner goes to a movie theatre they're not told they can only watch half the movie. When they get a discount on a Centrepoint Tower entry they're not told they can only look at half of Sydney.

If you offer a reduced service, why should that be limited to only pensioners anyway? If it is a reduced service that costs less, why not allow any non-pensioner who wants a cheaper lessor service to sign up to it as well?

And as for assuming pensioners won't want Off Peak, less downloads, and not use VoIP - you've got to be kidding.
My pensioner father uses VoIP and Skype to save on his phone bills, he schedules downloads to start at midnight, and he is regularly watching his Toid Meter to not go over his Peak allowance, as $3 per GB is a killer.

I talked him into switching over from a $30/month 256K plan that had no excess charges, just throttling - to a 512K Exetel plan with a bigger download allowance for roughly the same price. Since then Exetel's charges have been going up and up and the credit card surcharge increased to $3 (but reduced to $1.10 for new customers) and he asks me every month if there is a cheaper plan he can change to (lamenting that the other ISP no longer offers the old price, but has not increased the charge to their existing customers still on the old plan).

He cannot get ADSL2+ and he is on the 512K plan because the 1500K or 8000K costs too much for him.

Also my sister was hit by an idiot driver and is on a disability pension. She reuses stamps that the Post Office missed franking to stretch her pension that little bit further. She certainly didn't stop using her computer just because she's on a pension! To the contrary - most pensioners these days have so much more time to spend on their computers.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by AJandMAP » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:06 pm

One should never assume that pensioners are old, only send emails & don't do a lot of downloads!!
And James, posted Wed, 22 April, some pensioners are different.
In my case, I am 48 yo, on a blind pension (since 1/10/2005), & a heavy user of the internet.
You see, no pun intended, I cant look up the Gregorys or UBD for street directions, can't look up a phone number in the book or Yellow Pages or read the newspaper like those with vision.
I believe everyone has different needs, that is why there is different plans available.
If there was a flat % of the plan that the pensioner subscribed to then the same % saving would apply to all & the pensioner would get to use the plan he needs.
There may be a pensioner that does all the work for his local bowls club travel group so needs to access the net to organise the trip or there may be a pensioner who has no legs & is on the net playing games & doing puzzles that is a heavy user as well or, like my mother, only sends me an email once a week & that is all. Either way, they are all pensioners but with different needs.
I look forward to further comment on this subject & hope to be informed that I can apply for a discount on my internet account.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by maggie » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:34 am

I would think that a big advantage for both Exetel and the pensioner would be the ability to pay using 'Centrepay' This is a service provided by Centrelink where they can pay service providers directly from the allocated money which would be paid to a pensioner by pension, benefit, family allowance etc. That way Exetel is guaranteed their money on time and with reduced collection hassles and charges. Less administration. It works well for the pensioner as the bill is already paid for and they don't have to worry about things getting out of hand, as they can do and quickly, on a low income. Also some pensioners are not eligible for credit cards because of low incomes. So having this payment would make Exetel services available to more people with out credit cards (by choice or circumstances) while still keeping Extel's administration with low overheads.

I have my rent, electricity, gas and water paid this way. I used to have my phone paid this way when I was with Telstra but now I am with you. Makes life very much easier to manage and for you too.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by jon_m_obrien » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:30 pm

Centrepay - that would solve ForumAdmin's original issue of "how would we regulate if you really are a pensioner".

Proposal - Pay no commission on pensioner plans to agents - give all pensioners minimum 10% discount - on whatever plan they choose - conditional on signup that they pay by Centrepay.

If the Off Peak allowance is truly at no cost to Extel given Exetel needs to pay for enough bandwidth for the Peak times, then cutting out Off Peak allowance for Pensioners will not reduce Exetel's costs and only penalise pensioners for no reason.
If offering a plan without off-peak allowance can be done at a cheaper price - offer these plans to everyone at a cheaper price - there are non-pensioners who don't use the off-peak and would want it, and there are pensioners who will want the off-peak and not take up these plans. Gives more choice for customers, and the only difference for a pensioner is an (at least) 10% discount.

If Exetel use Centrepay it ensures only Centrelink receivers get the discount and Exetel benefits from regular reliable fortnightly payments direct to Exetel. The direct cost to Exetel is 99c per transaction.

If the transaction costs negate the savings and there is not enough margin such that Exetel cannot give a discount to pensioners, it would still be good if Exetel subscribed to Centrepay for pensioners to pay by Centrepay - as maggie indicated in the last post it is definately beneficial to the pensioner.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by soaper » Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:53 pm

centrepay is a vastly under used service

i think that in using it that one needs to keep a good eye on it that it dosnt get cancelled or otherwise messed with (by centrelink i mean) ....but it is a free service to any or all pensioners who wish to use it for any utility or fixed payment.

it is readily put into place with usuallly a phone call.

it is a good budgeting strategy also, as the money comes out and is thus not available for other spending
Last edited by soaper on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by quill3033 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:00 pm

Hi, actually I got my father (77yo) to switch from TADAUST to your service because it was much better and more reliable and cheaper so you have it pretty good already.

My father though does use Skype/VOIP and loves to watch YOUTUBE videos and also now has a camera for VOIP so again, more volume needed.

For the most part then he does look up 'text' websites.

I don't think we should underestimate the volume that seniors can use as if they are retired, they have more time to be online plus don't forget that they have grandchildren who can show them the good things about downloading movies, music etc. and podcasts from Radio National, for example.

I think like for most of us, our needs do change as our connection can do different things.
Also, he really appreciates having so much volume that he could potentially use - but he generally uses about half the peak allowance and minimal off peak.

Still as I said he likes knowing that he can use it if he needs it.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by doh » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:07 pm

I am a pensioner (partly self funded) and a reduction of fees would be most welcome. Presently I am paying for Internet at a sizable fee and only use a fraction.

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by Computerbank » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:05 am

Thanks for asking this question.

We hear stories every week from low income people saying they can't afford the Internet (we sell recycled computers with a 3 month warranty from $15). These low income people, without Internet at home, mainly have a prepaid mobile phone and no fixed phone line. So for them to have broadband Internet they would need to pay for a phone connection and a broadband plan on top of their prepaid mobile expense. The added expense is just not an option for them so they do without an Internet connection and their kids suffer.

In the last few months we have observed a small but growing number of low income people take up USB prepaid wireless Internet as their first ever Internet connection. However no isp offers a discount for these people truly in need. I would like to see a cheaper modem and other discounts for these people.

In 2007 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 30% of Australian homes do not have an Internet connection. In some cases this is because they don't want an Internet connection or live in an area where broadband is not an option but for most low income people currently without Internet - they do not have broadband because they cannot afford it.

Further details about low income people and the Internet in this paper I wrote. ... s-dec-2008

Jan Smith
Vice President
Computerbank Victoria

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by soaper » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:44 am

Computerbank wrote:Thanks for asking this question.

We hear stories every week from low income people saying they can't afford the Internet (we sell recycled computers with a 3 month warranty from $15). These low income people, without Internet at home, mainly have a prepaid mobile phone and no fixed phone line. So for them to have broadband Internet they would need to pay for a phone connection and a broadband plan on top of their prepaid mobile expense. The added expense is just not an option for them so they do without an Internet connection and their kids suffer./

i have heard of your orgaization 8)

i have limited experience of people in need via some volunteer work.
the thing that i have observed is that people dont have copper connections because they have run up huge bills with telstra and optus that are simply not payable.
even tho they receive some assistance in the form of vouchers provided by Telstra and the providers all offer payment plans.
i see them resort to the pre paid mobile under these conditions when they are simply cut off for failure to pay.

to me the more sustainable plan is for them to get onto as cheap a plan with someone like exetel with their excellently priced plans where naked plans and VOIP are offered and where TOTAL normal communication costs can be kept to a minimum.
i alluded to this in an earlier post .
i think many of this client group are sold on telstra plans that are simply not suitable and they get into trouble with them.
for all sorts of reasons

it is but part of a huge social issue that requires some rather large degree of co ordination and good will by many.........including those who dont budget wisely and including those whose situations are verging on the impossible anyway.

families with kids need to have *normal* communication capacity in this day and age and i see the prepaid mobile as being inadequate for that.
well in many cases i believe it is
i dont know anyone who has gone prepaid wireless for internet but it seems to me that the ability is there for a lot to be used up fast and then a problem arise when there is no more money to pay for the next lot ...........and maybe a kid needs internet info for an assignment and cant do that as the money has run out.

i really think that anyone who tackles this right now needs to look at a plan that is naked, Voip and a decent bit of download.
some of the needy are on pensions of assorted kinds........and some are not

the whole situation is a can of worms that is very hard to address

i congratulate you on what you are doing for such an amazing price :D

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by Jim diGris » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:16 pm

kaotickelly wrote:I guess to qualify for a pension account you would need to provide the centrelink age pension number and have the account opened under the same name.
Well I am on a disability pension as I am classified TPI (Totally and Permantly Disabled) and I have nothing whatsoever to do with Centrelink. The reason is because I am a Veteran, and my pension is paid by Veterans Affairs.

For some of us pensioners out there the net is a must have, and a lot of us are doing it tough so any concession would be more than welcome. Some people may say why should pensioners be treated any different, well one reason is in a lot of circumstances we have no chance of changing our income

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by MattCo » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:24 pm

Gawd, some of you are just downright mean! I suspect that there are too many here that would be too mean to take $10pw out of their own pocket to make the life of their parents on a governement pension or TPI sibling just that little bit easier. They will go around to visit and make all of the right noises, but in the end would do nothing. Forget the stranger. I applaud Exetel for even giving this consideration.

One thing that I wouldn't want to see is a minimum speed, minimum allowance plan as the only offering specifically for pensioners. If implemented, please make it real by offering discounts on the plans that are available to the rest of us. Some people may only need a minimum service, but others may need a little (or a lot) more.

Exetel, I don't really understand why you are asking the question, unless you are asking us to foot the bill in which case you might find some stiff opposition - I can hear the howls of protest and the stamping of little feet over in that other forum now! This is a business decision, pure and simple; crunch the numbers and see what you can come up with.

Cheers :)

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by ForumAdmin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:10 am

A very interesting read. So many suggestions and so many conflicting statements.

I have a question: "What is CentrePay" ?

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by Dazzled » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:22 am

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by davemo » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:55 am

Hi I am an aged pensioner of 1 year (66), I am a retired computer tech and teacher I have taught over a thousand mature age people to use computers on the NSW Central Coast, most are using a dial up account with the federal government subsidised Tadaust ($48 setup and about $20 a quater)
They would like have broadband especially Voip but find it too expensive especially the setup cost
You would be surprised how most mature age people take to computers once started considering that they have had no computer use in their school years or working life most have left school at the age of 14 or 15 to go to work to build all the infrastructure that you James use today
Some are home bound or about to be and the internet brings in the world to them

I would think a plan with a min adsl 1 512 (preferable 1500) with 3gb plus voip with a minimum setup cost including a modem would be suitable
A setup CD to auto setup connection and email would be a clincher

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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by m1scha_m » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:06 pm

I am a pensioner and have been for some considerable time. However in that time I have completed three university degrees and a couple of TAFE certificates, and the plan I have been using is one reason I was able to do so completely on-line. While it would have been nice to get a discount on my usage, I don't think I have been all that inconvenienced by the cost. Compare Exetel's rates with the proposed Nation Broadband roll-out. While there may be a pensioner discount there, I very much doubt if it will be less than the current Exetel rates. Add to that the exorbitant rates offered by Telstra for so little; Exetel rates are better by far than those, and I know of many pensioners who were stung by the "HUGE" 200MB download limit.

If you want to offer me a discount, I will take it, if not I am still pleased with what I am getting, and have recommended it to pensioner friends, as soon as they can extract themselves from Telstra.

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