Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Discussions regarding new & existing plans and other Exetel initiatives
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davo
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Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 4:10 pm

Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by davo » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:42 pm

Definition

Centrelink generally uses the term “pensioner” to refer to those in a permanent situation – eg aged pensioners, disability pensioners and widows. Other benefits are usually described as “allowances” – eg Newstart, Carer or Seniors Allowance.
Suppliers who offer discounts to pensioners generally restrict them to those who hold a valid Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card. This is a credit card sized card showing the full name, address, Centrelink Customer Number and signature of the holder. It also has an expiry date.

Proof of eligibility

Suppliers who offer concessions vary in the means by which they verify the applicant is a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card holder. Some ask to sight the card either in person or by scan or photocopy – eg the RTA. Others require the applicant to supply their Centrelink Customer Number (CRN) and cross check with Centrelink – eg electricity suppliers, Telstra, local councils.

Use of Internet Services

Aged pensioners are more likely to be unfamiliar with new technologies and therefore light-medium users of Internet based services. Disability pensioners can be any age and could be medium-heavy users as they may rely on the Internet for much of their interaction with the outside world.
Types of services used could cover the whole range – web browsing, VOIP, SMS – as for any other group of customers. It would be difficult to assign a weighting to the use of any particular service.

Type of benefit offered

Exetel’s current range of PAYG plans tend to cater for the medium to heavy user. The “light use” Pre-Paid plans involve payment up front which can be difficult for pensioners. So a PAYG plan designed for the lighter use of an aged pensioner may have appeal. However disability pensioners may require the larger allowances of the regular PAYG plans. The off-peak allowance would have particular appeal to all pensioners as much of their use is likely to be during the daytime.

Another poster suggested reducing the admin fee. This type of discount appeals to all pensioners as it doesn’t limit their choice of service or plan. Telstra currently doesn’t charge pensioners for using a credit card to pay their bill.

Another barrier to entry for all pensioners is upfront costs. So any reduction in this area would also have appeal.

jokiin
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by jokiin » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:47 pm

AusHelen wrote: However, I do not think that ADSL2 should be included into "pensioners" plans. They wouldn't need super high speeds or massive download usage.
I don't see why not, ADSL2 plans most often have a lower base cost, I think you would find that a service could be delivered at a lower price than if it were just for ADSL1 services

Realistically HSPA based services are the cheapest for low usage with a $5 per month entry price plus the data but even so just being a pensioner doesn't automatically mean you only have needs for low usage, or a lower speed internet service, each users needs will vary, I would think that anything offered would be opt in but I don't believe there is any one size fits all deal as everyone has different needs, maybe it could be as simple as 1 month free each year as a pensioner loyalty discount or something like that

pegi
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by pegi » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:54 pm

Hey, not all people on the pension are old and decrepit or cant' surf on the net. :roll: We are on a small private pension. Not taxpayer funded. Shall we be called pensioners? Never mind the semantics after all.

There is a market out out there with the years passing by where pensioners are going to be more computer literate. It is always NICE to get savings here and there, but I truly feel that Exetel is offering GREAT value for money as it is.

I would not advocate people on the pension getting special consideration...that will be open to abuse and rort. ( Opening a floodgate to others things....nothing wrong with that I suppose) . But just a normal minimal plan for people with little use. SO that there won't be any need for all the admin work and the faxing...photocopying..queries etc...It will be easier and simpler. Minimum use minimum pay.

Thanks for the opportunity and the great services.
"Trying is better than doing nothing"

Sean Murray
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Location: Queensland

Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by Sean Murray » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:56 pm

I am also responding as a pensioner [disability].

Firstly I feel the need to respond to James's quote "What makes pensioners any different from any other group of people? Why should they get cheaper internet"
Initially the response would reflect my situation - The clear fact is that we don't have the financial income that is received by anyone with employment. In my situation the payment from Centerlink I get is less than one third the income of my 18 y/o daughter, who has only just started to work [ie low skill pay rate].

On balance though, I will also agree that there is a lucky group of Self Funded pensioners who may not feel these pressures.

From a users point of view, I depend heavily on my connection. While I don't consider my self as a heavy user the availability of near endless answers to my technical interests have kept me sane.

I also believe the reason that you don't normally receive complaints due to the lack of "pensioner" plans is partly because these discount
plans are not profitable and therefore nearly all ISP's don't make any available.

I can only say that everyone, including pensioners will have their own bandwidth needs so limiting the plan offerings only to [say] grandparents who think the main use of the computer is to play Solitaire and send one or two emails a week may well be not fair to all.
I will also add; I for one [like anyone else I suspect] would be grateful for any reduction in prices but, also understand the survival of any business must take into account many factors.

Indeed, it will be difficult to be fair to all, including non pensioners.

Sean

jeanwest2605
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by jeanwest2605 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:00 pm

As an Aged Pensioner, (and not a rich one, I might add), I joined Exetel having researched other ISP's. I've previously been on both dial up internet and broadband. I moved to a location where most of my calls ended up being STD with Telstra, so I looked into VoIP as an adjunct to broadband and SMS availability. I found Exetel's package B suited me and although I never exceed my allowed usage, I am happy to be able to call friends and family (in Oz and Oseas) for minimal cost. Initially, I had to pay an experienced computer programmer to set up the Dynalink modem, but I reckon I've saved his fees over the past twelve months. I downgraded my Telstra line to their budget line, and hence only pay them just over $20 per month. I can receive calls via this line as well as the VoIP line, so I didn't have to do any notification of change of phone numbers. I'm not sure whether Exetel could offer anything much better than the Plan B, but having said that, I'm always ready for a bargain.
Thanks, JW

MeOnMine
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by MeOnMine » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:01 pm

All pensioners are different in their reasons for being on a pension and their needs to be online.
The Exetel wizards can work their magic and calculate a percentage they can afford to offer pensioners across the board of all Exetel plans.
This way the pensioner who requires a savvier user friendly account that cost a little more but meets their needs will pay a larger premium but receive a larger discount.
Exetel have already retrieved the sword from the stone, they are already a top line ISP. Another feather in the goodwill hat!

frotac
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by frotac » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:08 pm

How would you justify if a pensioner is actually using that account - i could easily just ask my grandmother to subscribe me! I think everyone should just pay equal - The prices are cheap already for everyone - and i am sure if a pensioner wants a cheap internet account their are some already!

James
Exetel Staff
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by James » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:11 pm

frotac wrote:How would you justify if a pensioner is actually using that account - i could easily just ask my grandmother to subscribe me! I think everyone should just pay equal - The prices are cheap already for everyone - and i am sure if a pensioner wants a cheap internet account their are some already!
Exactly! It would be too cumbersome identifying pensioners, and there are too many dishonest people out there that would take advantage of this.

Les
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by Les » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:15 pm

My parents are Pesioners and are just about to get an Internet connection for the first time. They are connected to an Optus ADSL 2 enabled exchange but are unable to get ADSL2 as they are on a RIM/CMUX.

For them the ability to use VOIP so they can reduce their Telephone Bill is the cost justification for going on-line but they would also like to do some web browsing and use e-mail.

For my parents being able to make using VOIP as seamless as possible is crucial. As such they really need a Router with integrated ATA (preferably with PSTN fallback) into which they can connect their PC and their multi-handset cordless phone and then just use their existing phones as if nothing has changed.

For them the PAY-U plans are more than reasonable from a monthly cost perspective as initial analyis shows they should save enough on the Telephone Bill to pay for a 512k PAY-U plan and associated usage with a little to spare, but it will take them more then 18 months to recover the costs of the ADSL connection fee and of purchasing a Router with an integrated ATA.

From their perspective reducing the ADSL connection fee and offering a more cost effective router with an integrated ATA would be something to consider and would probably be of benefit a wider group of users than just pensioners. On a side note if you were able to offer a cost effective router with an integrated ATA as your standard router this would encourage a greater uptake of your VOIP services.

Alternatively if you could offer a cost effective HSPA router with an integrated ATA then HSPA may be a viable alternative for them and other users providing the VOIP quality proved acceptable in their coverage area.

cytec
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by cytec » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:33 pm

******************************************Exetel***************************************************

I think its fairly common knowledge that Exetel does not make a lot of profit from individuals and because of this I am voicing my concerns over further discounts. Personally I believe that Exetel may have become too focused on cost reductions and not relies the extremely good value and service quality already being provided. You have a good product and personally I have no problem with saying I would not mind paying more than I currently do for it if its required due to economic factors.

Please also take into considering that elderly people are the most likely to require high levels of support. (As I have personally seen).

**************DO YOU REALLY WANT ZERO PROFIT HIGH COST CUSTOMERS?**************

******************************************I VOTE NO!**********************************************

******************************************I VOTE NO!**********************************************

******************************************I VOTE NO!**********************************************

What about all those teenagers that are getting paid $12 per hr. Should we give them a discount too?
Last edited by cytec on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:04 pm, edited 6 times in total.

dsfnctnl crct
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:38 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by dsfnctnl crct » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:38 pm

I am on the single parent pension. My current plan is very good (3G/3G adsl2+ for $20, and line rental for $25), however if i was allowed to switch to the "PAYUDSL2" plan without incurring fees I would do it and be greatful. Exetel's services are cheap enough, any small token would not go astray and not be abused (I liked the suggestion about waivering the admin fee)
Thanks
Terry

BlackPawn
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by BlackPawn » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:41 pm

Concessions are offered where either:
a) a business won't get the custom (at all or in sufficient volume) unless they offer it at reduced profit to that consumer group
b) a rebate exists from the government

I don't believe there's any such rebate but maybe Exetel might like to make a submission to whatever senatorial committees are investigating broadband planning at the moment? It's clearly in the public eye at the moment and an editorial-like opinion piece from an industry CEO might get some inches in broadsheet papers.

I wouldn't expect Exetel to sacrifice profit or subsidise internet offerings for any particular demographic unless it is indirectly profitable to do so in which case it's just good business sense. At the very least there might be milage in just having a pensioner specific plan to advertise.

That said, I would expect some of the following to be likely:
  • *All pensioners but especially Old Age pensioners would want voip, whether they know it or not. If you're stuck at home then calling your friends cheaply is likely to be important to you, very cheaply calling grandchildren who are interstate or international would be a great advantage and an obvious selling point.
    * Although not a direct saving from Exetel, anything to facilitate the use of NakedDSL is extremely attractive to a budget concious individual of any circumstance and would serve as the greatest single source of savings for someone taking up the plan
    * Related to the above, a Naked DSL means that you can't rely on the phoneline for medical purposes which is likely to be necessary for your demographic (either old, disabled, sick or new parents) so work out something involving an Exetel mobile for emergency use (a high cost plan doesn't care about 000 calls)
    * Non-Old Age pensioners (disability, single-parents, sufferers of long term illnesses) who are stuck at home and bored might well spend considerable time on the net and a low quota plan might not be their best option. Though a low-quota plan might be the only economically viable plan for them in their circumstances, capping them and exempting the usage charge after the buffer might be necessary.
    * Assume they can get a cheap modem from friends/progeny or something but obviously give them an option for a economy model or whatever they want to pay for
    * Validating eligibility would be difficult without any sort of official sanction, a photocopy/fax/digital photograph of a healthcare card or pension card in the account holder's name might be loosely adequate (HCCs have a concession type, name and address), it's pretty easily defrauded but if they're doing it to get a low-cost/low-quota plan then maybe they need it anyway
Someone should read this <http://centrelink.gov.au/internet/inter ... 0808en.pdf>, pay attention to the bit about "What information will appear on the card".

In the end I guess, do it if it is good business and helps you recruit enough low-profit customers to be worth it. At the least it's an additional selling point for the products.
Last edited by BlackPawn on Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Dalton
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by John Dalton » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:46 pm

Based on my father and mother:

* You are competing against prepaid dial up. Long contract periods and high setup costs are barriers to them changing.
* They only require enough included data to check email and do Internet banking with the odd extra website. My in-laws use Skype as well, so requirements depend on whether the "pensioner" uses Skype.
* Capping/shaping is important, as tight budgets do not want to be upset by unexpected charges.
* They might be open to an attractive bundle deal.

Rather than pensioner, think "cheapest possible deal for someone who is hard up". Ability to obtain a modem from a third party or a great deal on a cheap modem from Exetel would be important. Maybe even a "freecycle" forum to allow people to donate surplus equipment to hard up people? A moderate amount of data: enough to email a job application or to email grandchildren, enough to surf the web looking for jobs, banking, bill paying. Capped charges with shaping, so there are no budgeting surprises. Shaping rather than cutoff once a limit is reached, as continuity of email service may be critical for job applications. Flexabilty to cut the service off without penalty if times become *really* tough.

*Shell
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Location: Newcastle

Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by *Shell » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:58 pm

I think broadband plans for "eligible" pensioners is a great idea!

I think Senior/Old Age pensioners is a good place to start. Perhaps a DOB & Pension card number (not sure if this can be verified with centerlink or not?) maybe a a way to qualify this on an order form.

My Grandfather is 90 years old & is learning to explore the internet. For Christmas we brought him a prepaid wireless broadband from another provider as we didnt want for him to sign up for $40/mth broadband plans & paying prepaid approx $20 suited him cost wise as well.

I dont think it would be necessary to have off peak allowances, sms's or VoIP services, just your basic broadband with just 2 or 3gb/mth downloads, I am not sure of the cost for this but a $20/mth access charge would suit most pensioners.

Good luck with this - definitely interested in seeing how it all pans out.

peterh_oz
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Re: Pensioner Broadband Plans?

Post by peterh_oz » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:03 pm

Having worked previously in Local Government and offering pensioner rebates I offer the following:

* be aware that a pensioner is anyone with a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). These include single parents, disability, newstart (over a certain age) and war widow(er)s. Whilst not judging any of these, be aware that a pensioner can be 18yrs old so don't assume they are "aged".
* Centrelink will allow you, with certain privacy requirements, to upload a file containing PCC number, name and postcode optional), and have an electronic reply (Y/N) which you can them import into your system to verify that the discounts are for current pensioners only, and not for disability or single parents who have now returned to the workforce. The postcode is useful to avoid eg me using my parent's PCC number. I do NOT suggest you verify on 1st name as you will discover a large rate of errors (eg Georgio is listed as Joe or George so will not verify).
* you will be excluding self-funded retirees, who it could be argued have less $$ than pensioners!

Whilst we did not verify the type of pensioner (aged etc), you may be able to include this field thus only offering to Aged pensioners and/or War Widow(er)s.

Be aware that if a customer travels overseas, they will be REJECTED as the PCC is suspended whilst they are overseas, so if you check during their holiday it will appear that they are no longer a PCC holder. This then causes problems when they return as they then need to reapply to you.

We used to have around 130 from a total of 2,300 (5-6%) who were rejected for some reason each quarter (we checked quarterly). Of these, about a third were reinstated (due to being overseas). The others were either deceased, had returned to work (or otherwise failed the means test) or had moved. Remember, we were only dealing with owner-occupiers.

I'm not sure if Exetel''s automation mantra would suite this proposal. Maybe it would be better to simply offer a "low usage" plan to all customers. Similar to the PAYU but without prepaid data (just include 5Gb peak, 5Gb offpeak). Keep the freebies. Maybe allow 2yr contract payment option for the connection cost and modem (eg the RTA1046VW + $130 connection at $8.50 per month with free connection). Maybe this could be run thru agents who could setup the modem prior to delivery, possibly with onsite setup by making the payment $10 per month for 24 months instead of $8.50.

Happy to discuss the PCC pros & cons - PM me if you like. As a former Rates & Revenue Supervisor in a small inner-Sydney council, I had almost 20yrs working with these and know a lot about the implementation etc you will face.

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