This follows months of lobbying by users of non-monitored medical alert alarms, charities and care organisations, advocacy groups and providers of non-medical alert systems who had raised concerns over the costs associated with upgrading an non-monitored medical alert alarm to ensure their system is compatible with the nbn™ network.
Users of monitored systems are already entitled to assistance following NBN Co’s launch of Medical Alarm Subsidy Scheme (MASS) in July 2016.
The trial is designed to assist NBN Co to refine details of the assistance such as identifying specific alarm suppliers and devices eligible to participate in the scheme and confirming the eligibility criteria for participants.
“Our trial will help us better understand the systems and processes needed to work with medical alarm providers and end-users to deliver the new assistance program,” confirms Brad Whitcomb, NBN Co's Chief Customer Officer - Residential.
Mike Steele, Chief Executive Officer, CareAlert, a provider of non-monitored systems believes this is a life-saving decision and will positively affect tens of thousands of families around Australia.
“It has been a monumental two year battle, but finally to its credit NBN Co has realised the importance of financially supporting those who have a non-monitored personal alert system to upgrade to an eligible system that will bypass the limitations that the NBN rollout scheme was causing to landline based personal alert devices,” he says.
While the specific details of the level of support is yet to be announced, Mr Steele says it is believed to be very fair and generous.
Over the next few months, NBN Co will work with leading manufacturers and a trial group of medical alarms users in order to refine its processes before announcing full details of the new assistance program.
More details about how people can apply to participate will be announced once the trial is completed and it’s expected the full program will be launched in the second half of this year.
Users of both monitored and unmonitored medical assistance should still register with NBN Co’s Medical Alarm Register (MAR). Representatives from NBN Co will now call people who are registered once they are able to connect to the nbn™ access network and guide them through the steps they need to know about their device.
Visit the nbn™ website to learn more about medical alarms or registering your information on the Medical Alarm Register, or by calling 1800 227 300.