Free Wi-Fi has been switched on at 20 department Agent sites across Australia.
The trial gives local residents access to the department’s online services and around 1000 government and community websites via a free Wi-Fi connection at their local department Agent.
It has been an instant hit in Pottsville, NSW, where local resident Ben has given the service a thumbs-up.
Pottsville Beach Agent Coordinator Sue said Ben, who has a vision impairment, was quick to share his delight with the trial service.
“Ben was already a self-reliant user of the department’s online services before we set up the Wi-Fi,” Sue said.
“He changes how the website information is displayed and uses text to speech technlogy so he can access the services he needs.
“He had to use his mobile data a lot, but now the free Wi-Fi allows him to go online and search information at any time, guilt free.”
National Agents and Access Points Director Lynda Milde has also been pleased with the rollout of the trial.
“This trial allows residents to connect to free Wi-Fi on their mobile device 24-hours a day, seven-days a week without needing a password, as long as they are in or near the Agent with a Wi-Fi signal,” Lynda said.
“Many of our customers don’t have home internet access—especially older people, those living alone or in rural and remote communities.
“Although 80 per cent of Australians have a smart phone, people who have lower incomes often run out of data sooner than expected, and free Wi-Fi solves that problem.
“People in the trial communities can now access our online services and apps at any time, even when the local Agent is closed.
“It’s encouraging people to be more self-reliant which is good for everyone,” she said.
The free Wi-Fi trial commenced on 1 August 2016 and ends on 31 January 2017.
Read more about the department’s Agents.
Image: Customer Ben (centre) is full of praise for the free Wi-Fi and helpful staff members, including Drew Stevenson (left) and Lee Robertson, at Pottsville Beach Agent. They are pictured with Ben’s canine companions Kane (sitting) and Cody (lying).