Network | Telstra News |

Keeping everyone connected to the digital economy

By Michael Ackland September 11, 2020

Staying connected to news, reliable information and each other has never been more important. That’s why we’re giving some of our nbn voice-only customers more ways to keep in touch, with access to the internet at no extra cost.

We’re always looking at new ways to fulfil our purpose: to build a connected future where everyone can thrive. Increasingly, being confident online and participating in the digital economy is vital to everyday living but also to ensuring a vibrant and resilient nation.

That’s why we’ve upgraded eligible voice-only nbn customers to the Starter Internet plan, at no extra charge. That means almost 50,000 people will get access to free internet as part of their existing plan, with some getting connected for the very first time.

We know that there are a range of barriers connecting to the internet for the first time, especially for the many older Australians who will benefit from this plan. That’s why we’re taking the guesswork and complexity out and making it free and easy to with the support needed to get started.

This plan will allow everyone to experience the benefits of being connected. From video calls to friends and family, accessing telehealth via Medicare, to online shopping, education and beyond. The Starter Internet plan includes 25GB of data to use each month; unlimited calls to standard local, national and Australian mobile numbers, and 500 calls per month to 13 numbers. 25GB of data is great for basic use, including sending and receiving emails, using apps and even streaming movies or music.

Whilst we’re more apart than ever, this connectivity can help families be closer to each other. Seeing the smile of your grandchildren via a video call can be a lifeline when you’re apart.

To make things easy, we’re sending how-to guide materials via post to those customers who have been upgraded to our new Starter Internet plan to help get them online and familiar with their new connection and the world beyond.

We’ve also got a range of getting started guides in several languages, videos and more advanced guides available at www.telstra.com.au/tech-savvy-seniors even family members can help out.

We’ll be getting in touch with eligible customers soon so that they too can experience the awesome power of connectivity.

There’s never been a better time to be online.

Regional Australia
Regional | Telstra News |

Giving back to our regions

By Dr Ben Gursansky September 10, 2020

Telstra’s executive regularly travels to regional areas to meet with rural and regional customers and stakeholders in their communities to get a firsthand sense of the issues that matter most to them. While this hasn’t been physically possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped us from keeping a strong focus on connecting with and supporting regional Australia.

We care deeply about keeping communities connected, which is why our purpose is to create a connected future where everyone can thrive. It is also why we’re working to help foster digital inclusion and provide support to community organisations. In more recent times that is especially so for those that have been impacted by the various crises experienced right across our country, from bushfires, drought, floods and now COVID-19.

We’ve identified a range of essential services – not-for-profit, and cause-related organisations – that are on the frontline of helping disadvantaged groups and impacted communities, and we’re working closely to help them with various philanthropic endeavours and initiatives. Many of these organisations we already partner with through our business, and this donation is an extension of that support to further enable their important work continuing through technology.

Melbourne Indigenous Transition School

This includes organisations like the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS), where COVID-19 affected students’ ability to stay connected to the school during the ongoing lockdown.

It was critical that students remained connected with the school and each other during the lockdown. MITS staff had to ensure they were able to continue their academic growth when away from Melbourne, which means a heavy reliance on technology. Technology that isn’t as accessible in remote Indigenous communities.

We helped to keep students connected to their schooling with a donation of mobile broadband devices delivered safely and contactlessly into Indigenous communities to ensure classes could continue remotely. Schoolwork is now completed at a distance via virtual software applications each day. The children are able to connect in real-time and discuss their work via online learning.

SHINE for KIDS

SHINE for KIDS is a national charity supporting children and their families with relatives in the criminal justice system. Being separated from a parent is a traumatic experience, and prisons can be tough on kids visiting their parents or relatives.

SHINE for KIDS is designed to help families maintain relationships while incarcerated, but the effects of COVID-19 mean that physical access to prisons has been limited in 2020.

Our donation has allowed children to stay connected to their families through the pandemic virtually. Parents can now connect with their children via iPads and read books to them to maintain the all-important relationship.

Youth Insearch

Youth Insearch works with at-risk youths aged 14-20 to help them onto the right path for success.

Since 1985, it has worked with youths in the community to reduce crime, violence, drug/alcohol abuse, self-harm and suicide in young people through workshops and community support. It also works to get youths helping youths so each member can positively affect others.

Similarly, COVID-19 meant that in-person workshops were not always possible, but with our donation we’re helping to facilitate these mentor meetings virtually.

We remain committed to supporting regional Australia. As restrictions lift, we are looking forward to getting back out across our beautiful and vast country to hear from our customers, and continue to provide assistance in the future to organisations that are helping to improve the lives for all Australians.

Community | Inspiration |

Why we’ve been Wearing It Purple for 10 years

By Tom Roets August 28, 2020

Today marks 10 years of Wear it Purple Day – a day designed to show LGBTQ+ young people they have the right to be proud of who they are.

We’re a proud supporter of the day and the Telstra team has been getting on board by wearing purple and featuring a purple background in their virtual meetings – and sharing photos of all their purpleness with their colleagues.

Our commitment to inclusion is championed by our Spectrum network, which creates opportunities for our LGBTQ+ team members and allies to connect and support each other, both inside and outside of work.

This year Telstra Spectrum sponsor Tom Roets spoke to engineer Maddie Sumner about what Wear It Purple Day means to them and why being supported in the workplace is so important.

Tom Roets: Maddie can you tell me a bit about your story and why Wear it Purple Day matters to you?

Maddie Sumner: My story started not too long ago and fortunately it has been pretty smooth sailing. I initially came out as transgender to my close friends and then to my family a few months later. This was a very intimidating time of my life despite facing very few challenges. No one can escape the reach of the media though.

Many of my family members and friends have ‘come out’ over the years, and I’m pretty desensitised to it now! I can barely recall some of the nervousness and difficulty they had just bringing up the courage to tell others, since it’s so common and even celebrated now.

But it was still one of the hardest things I’d done and I cannot imagine what it must be like for any young person who fears for their safety when being themselves, let alone any individual – and I want to help change this.

TR: What was it like experiencing your transition while in the workplace? 

MS: In my previous company, I came out while in the workplace and it was terrifying. But when I joined Telstra, I applied under my last name and then changed my name after joining.

It was a very weird thing to apply as one person, and then join six months later as me. But everyone was very supportive of me.

TR: How did Telstra deal with that?

MS: When I came to Telstra, it wasn’t mentioned once by peers unless I brought it up.

That was amazing for me. I still have anxiety that people will treat me differently when they hear, and I worry that someone will put me in a box. But starting at Telstra, I went for weeks on end not even thinking about the fact that I am transgender which is amazing. It just didn’t matter and everyone was so nice. People just accept me for who I am – Maddie.

TR: Why do days like Wear It Purple Day matter to young LGBTQ+ Australians today?

MS: Rainbow young people still receive abuse and can often feel worthless thanks to the immaturity of others and miseducation of LGBTQ+ issues in general. From others showing support in schools, workplaces and at public events, we can help so many people feel at least a little more comfortable with who they are.

Wear It Purple will always be here to do our part, at least until LGBTQ+ people no longer face so many challenges compared to the rest of the population.

TR: Why is it important to you that your employer gets involved in activities like this?

MS: Corporates have more influence in this area than many realise. Of course we can help spread the message and encourage support far wider than some, but by celebrating Wear it Purple Day in the workplace means we can also boost morale and celebrate diversity and inclusion internally too.

It’s estimated that more than 1 in 10 people identify as not exclusively heterosexual – meaning if any of us celebrate Wear it Purple at work and this news is spread to 10 people in our lives, we may be helping someone. Usually you won’t know if someone is struggling, and this could be someone in your family, friend circles or at work.

TR: How does it feel when you see your colleagues getting involved and supporting your community?

I feel proud working for Telstra when I see so many of my colleagues support various inclusion initiatives throughout the year. Especially thanks to the fact that they are supported to do so.

MS: Tom, what does WIPD mean to you?

TR: As a cis gay man, I am part of a majority within a minority, and feel tremendous privilege and responsibility as a result. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community I know what it feels like to be misunderstood and fear discrimination from the larger majority, but have also learnt I have a big blind spot for those members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender, intersex and queer people, who struggle to be understood even by their LGB brethren.

So Wear It Purple is this great opportunity to just talk about all the aspects and facets of it so we can help everyone grow and gain more understanding, across all aspects of the spectrum of society.

We need to do so much more to help LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable to be their best selves and bring their whole selves to work.

MS: Tom, can you tell me about your experience of being gay in the workplace?

TR: I’m originally from South Africa and l liked the idea of living all over the world as a management consultant. I realised this was because it was easier to be me while living outside of South Africa.

But even after I came out to my friends and family, I still struggled with coming out in the office. Before I was out at work, I really struggled with simple questions like “Hey what did you do this weekend?” when I was too afraid to say my boyfriend and I went to the movies, out of fear that being gay would result in discrimination or worse.

I used to get mortified by really innocent questions like “Hey Tom, so do you have a girlfriend?” Nowadays I simply reply: “I don’t think my boyfriend would really like that!” But it used to be much, much harder to cope with being gay in the workplace.

The Australian Workplace Equality Index 2020 findings show that less than 45% of LGBTQ+ people are ‘out to everybody’ and youngest respondents were least likely to be open about their diverse sexual orientation or identity. The data also showed that the number one reason for people not being out in the workplace is that it “would not be accepted by some on my team”. These aren’t statistics from 1980, that’s TODAY.

We still have so many of us who struggle, and we need Wear It Purple Day to show us it’s okay. We need straight allies to show and say “Hey we don’t care, in fact we love you for being you, so just be you, okay?” And wearing purple says that without you having to say it.

Bringing life back to Melbourne streets with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G - Brolga & Mulga
5G | Devices | Entertainment | Tech and Innovation |

Bringing life back to Melbourne streets with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G

By Luke Hopewell August 28, 2020

We know that Melbourne’s streets and landmarks are deserted right now due to lockdown restrictions in the state. That means nobody’s out and about enjoying the incredible street art on offer all over town. To brighten your day, we’re bringing the vibrant art of Melbourne’s streets to you with our virtual art gallery, all thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G.

The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G features the incredible new S-Pen, and also packs in our incredible 5G. Put the two in the hands of some incredible artists and you have the recipe for an incredible real-time collaboration.

Melbourne-based illustrator Brolga and Sydney-based artist Mulga are showing the power of the new device and our new 5G to build out bare Melbourne streetscapes with bright, illustrated scenes on this, the week of Melbourne’s 185th birthday.

Using the Note20 Ultra over our 5G network means that they can collaborate better than ever, despite being separated by vast distances. Their creations bring colour, creativity and life back to Melbourne’s once-buzzing cityscape, which has been left bare and devoid of energy.

With technology, we’re showcasing the talents of two Australian artists, while demonstrating that we can keep Australians connected, even if they’re apart. The possibilities 5G offers is extensive. Its potential to deliver high speeds and low latency can enable not only fast download speeds for our customers, but also unlocks capacity for thousands of new devices working together on our network.

The two artists used the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G to create these stunning works, and will collaborate live via Telstra 5G to create another incredible work.

Check out our hands-on with the Note20 Ultra 5G on Telstra Exchange.

Marine Rescue NSW
Telstra News |

We’re helping Marine Rescue NSW save lives on the water

By Kevin Teoh August 12, 2020

We’re proud to announce a new partnership with Marine Rescue NSW that will see the development of a robust and stable communications platform to help ensure that when a boater is in trouble on the water, a rescue crew can receive a rapid call to action.

The mission of Marine Rescue NSW remains simple but critical – to save lives on the water. This exciting new partnership with Telstra will provide the rescue service with the essential communications it needs to help respond to emergencies on the water with extra confidence.

Our partnership includes the development of an innovative communications platform to support Marine Rescue NSW’s communications needs. That means providing new telephone hardware, connection devices, data and satellite links across the 45 MRNSW units dotted along the NSW coastline and on the Alpine Lakes and Murray River – as well as the newest rescue unit stationed on Lord Howe Island.

Most importantly, the platform provides MRNSW units with NBN as well as Telstra LANES 4G back-up, meaning its emergency personnel will have priority access to the network in peak traffic periods and round-the-clock priority support to repair and help manage outages, even if their fixed connections are down.

Marine Rescue NSW - Tuggerah Lakes

The 2018-19 MRNSW Annual Report noted that its volunteers launched 2,802 missions, rescuing 6,884 Australians, over the year. On the open water, every minute lost can be a matter of life and death. Our leading infrastructure can help give the agency the comfort of saving valuable minutes in getting a rescue crew underway to the scene of an emergency.

Earlier this year, volunteers from Marine Rescue Middle Harbour kindly demonstrated the service’s rescue capability and around-the-clock community service to representatives of both Telstra and Exigo Tech.

With a greater understanding of the role technology can play in supporting these missions, we went to work pinpointing how to develop more reliable, secure and agile communications and IT networks.

Marine Rescue NSW - Trial Bay

Marine Rescue NSW is working closely with Telstra and our additional technology partners, ExigoTech Pty Ltd and MobileCorp, to build these reliable networks and IT solutions. The end solution will help enable crews on the frontline to respond more swiftly to emergency calls for help, with greater ability to access critical online vessel tracking and other systems.

We have a long history and strong relationship with Australia’s emergency frontline workers. This partnership follows a similar initiative with Queensland Ambulance Service in January 2019, which ensured paramedics were supported by a leading mobile managed services solution to help give officers access to essential documentation and information in a 24/7 environment.

These platforms help ensure Australia’s frontline is not only equipped to handle emergency situations but can do so with the confidence they have access to crucial information quickly.

We recognise the role technology plays in empowering Australia’s heroes – for those putting their safety at risk every day to rescue Australians, this is our way of supporting your mission to save lives.

Marine Rescue NSW - Boaters reunite with rescuers