Direct help for bushfire affected communications

Communications hotline opens for areas affected by bush fires

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The telecommunications ombudsman opened a natural disasters hotline today.

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Consumers impacted by the recent bushfires can now receive dedicated assistance with their unresolved phone and internet issues.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman's Natural Disasters help line, 03 8600 8308, opened today (November 21).

Staying connected through phone and internet services is important for the safety of residential consumers and small businesses in areas impacted by natural disasters.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said: "For local residents, remaining connected to phone and internet services means being able to contact emergency services, stay connected to medical assistance, and remain in touch with friends, family and neighbours.

"For small businesses it means being able to continue trading, supplying goods and providing a vital network for members of the community.

"Consumers should contact their provider first.

"Many telecommunications providers are offering specific relief packages or assistance for their customers affected by the bushfires," she said.

"Our dedicated natural disasters phone line means consumers and small businesses can talk to someone who understands the issues and will assist in working out what can be done to resolve their phone or internet issue."

If you are in a bushfire affected area and have attempted to resolve your phone or internet issue with your provider, contact the telecommunications industry ombudsman on the natural disasters phone line, 03 8600 8308, or visit our website www.tio.com.au to lodge a complaint.

Telstra customers affected by bushfires should call 132 203 and state they are in a bushfire impacted area, or visit Telstra exchange online to access the disaster relief services.

Telstra is giving access to free calls and free Telstra Air wi-fi through local payphones for everyone in areas affected by bushfires in NSW and Queensland.

Optus customers affected by bushfires should call the dedicated phone line 1300 301 671.

Optus is also working with local evacuation centres in the affected areas to provide support including pre-paid phones, pre-paid data packs and charging stations.

If you are in a bushfire- or flood-affected area and have attempted to resolve your phone or internet issue with your provider, contact the telecommunications industry ombudsman on the natural disasters phone line, 03 8600 8308, or visit website www.tio.com.au to lodge a complaint.

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