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[VIC] Free Telstra Sims or Dongles to Students without Internet


Victoria is again leading the way. For those in need.

Internet access should not determine a child’s access to education – so we will deliver free SIM cards or dongles to thousands of students at government schools who need them the most. This includes an agreement with Telstra to provide 4000 SIM cards for government primary and secondary school students. The Government has also purchased an extra 1000 SIM-enabled dongle devices.

Priority for the SIM cards and dongles will be given to senior secondary students, students in bushfire affected areas, and families who cannot afford an internet connection at home.

Another source -

Thousands of public school students in Victoria without a home internet connection will receive Telstra SIM cards and dongles to access the internet free of charge, as the state moves to adopt a remote learning model.

Telstra -

We’re proud to be doing our part in helping to bridge the gap by providing 20,000 disadvantaged students and teachers across the country with internet access to educational content to support their online learning through the Department of Education and Catholic Education. The Department of Education and Training in Victoria is one of the first to take up Telstra’s offer and will be ready to go at the start of Term 2.

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  • A similar service is available in NSW schools. Students/parents need to contact their local school and they are able to obtain a dongle

  • Good on ya Dandrews

    • Only works if there is internet (ADSL, NBN, 4G) in your area.

      Ironically, there are places where this is not available - and satellite will chew through its allocation (eg, $180 = 200gb monthly plan where 140gb is only used between 1am and 7am) and isn't viable when you have 5 school kids at home.
      Cutting up the numbers: Leaves then 60 gb a month in 'school hours'…or 3gb a day…then about 800mb per person per day.

      While this sounds perfect for 'school only', the upload / download speed won't handle the volume needed when EVERYONE needs to be using it- so it just fails.

      Like this offer for a Sim, laptop or dongle+sim.

      Perfect for the inner surburban-ites, not so good regionally.

      • Regional will be mostly fine; it's rural and remote that's going to be challenging. Here's hoping they've considered it and are working on a solution; I note they've said that rural school buses will still be running so that might be part of the solution.

  • How do they read this post when that dont even have internet?

  • I love how we spent billions building the NBN to provide internet to everyone, but the easiest way to quickly get internet to everyone is sim cards…

  • My local Telstra network is so congested that I hardly use its mobile inernet for work. Prior to the mass working from home it worked fine. So getting a dongle is going to be useless for many ppl.

    • Shame that the government is not splitting this between the three networks.

      In 12 months time it would have been a good opportunity to test SpaceX Starlink particularly for remote students.

  • +3 votes

    This is news release not a bargain, not even a public service announcement as there’s not yet a service attached.

  • great initiative, I know that there are mutual aid groups passing on old laptops for students without access.

  • The High court of Australia just freed another dongle

  • Most Victorian students will be educated from home when Term 2 starts next week to ensure the physical distancing will help slow the spread of coronavirus, with free internet access and laptops for those students who need it most.


    I'm a final year education student, our University has told us that we will almost certainly be going on placement on the 27th of April (whatever week that is, think it's week 3 of term 2). Odd they would tell us that when the government site is saying most students will be educated from home in term 2? I'm at one of the Melbourne GO8's.

    Literally in my email 24 hours ago:
    You have been advised of your placement because the current government advice is that schools will reopen the week starting April 13th

    Anyone know if it is official than term 2 is at home via distance?

    • It's confirmed in an email from the Education Department I received this morning.

      Your uni is the one passing on incorrect information.

      • You sure about that?


        “School is going to look very different in term two – if you can learn from home, you must learn from home,” Mr Andrews said.
        “If you can’t learn from home, then schools will be open, and we will run the same courses. We don’t want kids disadvantaged because of circumstances beyond their own control.” Mr Andrews says schools will always be open for children of essential workers – from shelf stackers at Coles and Woolies to nurses and police.

        Apparently students who have parents that are essential workers (Coles and Woolworths are considered essential) will be attending school. Seems like my placement will be going ahead. I assume classes will be conflated, instead of having 4 or 5 kids in each class. Although, that means teachers will get like 70-80% reduction in teaching load. Although as I think about it, I guess 20 kids in the same room wouldn't be a good idea… so maybe it will be 5-6 kids in each room.

        TBH I'd prefer to not have to do placement right now, if classes are 5-6 kids I couldn't imagine learning much and if they are 20+ I don't really want to catch COVID19.

        • From the DET Operating Guidelines, kids who turn up at school will be following the learning delivered by teachers from home. I'm not sure how your placement will play into it.

          • @thangcuoi: Cheers mate, how does your school deliver it with the kids at school? Are they just all (max capacity 20-30 kids) in a class with 1 teacher "supervising" aka sitting on their laptop while the kids do the online tasks? while the other teachers create/post the content on Seesaw/google classroom/compass etc? Will be interesting what happens with us PSTs', as yesterday we got told we will be doing placement. This is secondary btw.

            • @AjsGuns: My school (gov secondary college in Vic) didn't have any of the student teachers who were due to begin their placement in week 8/9 come in. I'm not sure if there was an official school/DET/university decision, but none commenced their placement on site.

              I think it's a bit much for unis to expect teachers to supervise student teachers during this new and challenging learning environment in Term 2. We all should be social distancing so you can't work closely, and teachers' time is going to be stretched enough supporting our own students - teachers just don't have the time to be supervising practicums. Some student teachers are awesome and ready for the classroom with a bit of support/guidance, others are woeful and a burden for the weeks they're there. It's really frustrating for 4th year students, but it would make sense if the unis tried to get as much theory out of the way this semester and then tried to do extended placements in Semester 2.

            • @AjsGuns: Our teachers will be rotating so they work less days.

              • @Emily h: Appreciate the replies guys, was just in a lecture this morning and we were told that "we will still be seeing some type of placement, what that looks like is unknown right now, with classes being online". Have also heard that some schools have a directive of 1:10 class sizes for students there - so I guess it will just be a wait and see situation for now. I still have a few weeks, more could change lol.

            • @AjsGuns: 1 staff 10 students distanced in a room on computer doing the same work as those at home

    • You will have a very interesting teaching round :) There's no inherent reason you couldn't do it remotely.

  • "Internet access should not determine a child’s access to education" - except where internet is NOT available. How will this help where there is no internet access (4G, NBN, etc). Occurs over my whole area.

    • Why didn’t the nbn fix this? How are you posting this?

      • Fixed wireless isn't available - unless I put up a 40-50 metre antenna.

        Getting 0 to 1 bar on my phone when I'm out of the house.

        Mobile phone calls are a constant "feature" of dropping out during calls - nearest connected tower is about 15km away, while actual nearest tower (about 4km) is behind a hill, so never get that signal. Signal maps are all 'assumed' coverage. Often the phone will say "emergency calls only" when inside = does not get any signal. Solution is spend $800 - $1000 for a phone signal booster - thanks Telco's

        NBN coverage map says no 'near future work' coming to this area - map shows partial coverage through fixed wireless, and the few that remain without, you are able to get "NBN" through satellite. But if you have ANY 4G in the area, then you don't qualify on the waiting list.

  • +3 votes

    Yay, free netflix for students

  • Why is this a bargain? Would you describe Foodbank donations as a bargain?

  • Please everyone, leave these for the people who really need it. Just sayin'…

  • Does anyone know how students are able to access this offer? I am assuming this has just been announced & there isnt a form that needs to be filled out as of yet.

  • I donate about 40GB of data on my Optus phone plan to the community each month. I hope it's finding it's way to those in need.

    • This is through the smith family and is for the children who are sponsored (very very low income area schools). I think they are also required to attend after school tutor sessions and they are also given help with school uniforms, excursions ect. It’s a really good way to break the cycle and give them an education.

  • I love this deal i have donate over 200gb plus of data i have not used on Optus i know lower data plan but why not give world little more it only 20 more then lower plan.

  • If it doesn't come with data, how is this helpful?