Thousands sought financial aid from telcos

More than 19,500 households and 1500 small businesses needed help to pay their phone and internet bills over the last financial year, with new data providing a further insight into the economic hit caused by coronavirus.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has on Friday released a report outlining the number of financial hardship agreements telecommunications companies had with customers over 2019/20.

There was a significant rise in small businesses seeking help in March to June, at the height of coronavirus restrictions across most of the country.

In June, the total debt from small businesses in hardship agreements was three times higher than before the health crisis.

ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin has urged consumers to seek financial support if they need, and for telcos to continue helping struggling customers.

"Small businesses will play a critical role in our financial recovery following the worst effects of COVID- 19," she said.

"Telcos appear to be supporting small business customers by keeping them connected to vital telecommunications services and offering assistance in the form of changing plans, debt waivers and alternative repayment arrangements."

About 28 per cent of small businesses on financial hardship arrangements were on payment plans.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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