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Topic # 204230 22-Sep-2016 14:53
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Spark announced today a new social programme to bring heavily subsidised broadband to thousands of New Zealand children whose families cannot afford commercial home broadband services. 

 

Spark Jump is an innovative programme for social change. Collaborating with community groups and government agencies, Spark will offer families with school-aged children at risk of digital exclusion entry-level home broadband for as little as $15 - about a quarter the price of the cheapest commercial services available.  

 

“Digital inequality, especially when it comes to online learning, is a significant challenge for New Zealand. Every day, tens of thousands of children do not have access to home broadband and come home from school unable to continue their online learning,” Spark Managing Director Simon Moutter said. 

 

“At Spark, we believe New Zealand children deserve to have the opportunity to learn and thrive in the modern digital economy. Spark Jump is our way of helping solve this Digital Divide, by ensuring children have digital access both at school and in the home. It’s very much part of Spark's overall ambition to ‘unleash the potential in all New Zealanders through amazing technology’." 

 

Spark Jump will offer selected families a 30GB no-frills broadband service for just $15. To offer flexibility for families, Spark Jump is pre-paid, no fixed-term contract and includes a modem while they are using the service. The service uses the Skinny Broadband platform and provides “wireless” home broadband via a 4G mobile signal connecting with the nearest cell tower.  Wireless broadband is available anywhere there is a good quality Spark 4G mobile signal.

 

This technology has only been available in New Zealand since mid-2015 and a team from Spark, Skinny and Huawei has been working to develop a heavily subsidised solution. The new service has been successfully piloted over recent months with families in Christchurch and Auckland.  

 

Spark Jump will be administered by Spark Foundation, the registered charity funded by Spark and governed independently by a Board of Trustees. Spark Foundation will partner with local community-based organisations who will identify and refer eligible families.  Spark Jump won’t be advertised as a commercial product, it will be distributed exclusively through these community partners to nominated families of school-aged children.

 

Spark Foundation Chair Nick Leggett says learnings from the Foundation’s four-year partnership with digital learning pioneer the Manaiakalani Education Trust led to the development of Spark Jump 

 

"Our work with Manaiakalani has shown that the lack of home broadband is a barrier to New Zealand children's learning and that whanau engagement plays a big role in children's educational success. By enabling whanau to support digital learning with home broadband, we can help build on the effectiveness of the Government’s efforts to improve broadband access within schools, through the rollouts of ultrafast fibre and the Network for Learning (N4L) managed network.” 

 

Spark hopes to make Spark Jump available to at least 5,000 families over the coming 12 months and is looking to collaborate with government agencies and community groups to scale to higher volumes.  

 

Linda Tame, N4L Board Director and General Manager of the Greater Christchurch Schools Network Trust (a Spark Jump founding partner) recognises the significant contribution home broadband can make transforming educational outcomes of New Zealand children.  

 

"We have a big task ahead of us, getting our children in the best position for a digital future. Making home broadband affordable for more families is a step in the right direction to empower our children with the skills they need to lead New Zealand into a sustainable future."

 





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  Reply # 1638831 22-Sep-2016 16:07
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Little better than Skinny's 100GB for $52, albeit more flexible being in smaller data chunks/cost and with loan of the modem. Trouble is 3OGB might not last too long in a family with two or more kids.

 

 


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  Reply # 1638836 22-Sep-2016 16:13
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It will last a hell of a lt longer than what those families have today - which is 0GB.

And this is intended to give them internet for things like homework, not for watching Netflix 24/7

Maybe they could include some parental controls like bigpipe is doing - block Netflix etc but leave general browsing open

Good move spark.

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  Reply # 1638852 22-Sep-2016 16:21
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NonprayingMantis: It will last a hell of a lt longer than what those families have today - which is 0GB.

 

I guess we are talking about families here that may have little or no money at the end of the week for food yet alone internet so how will some find $15 for each block of data - assuming there is no other subsidy?

 

If they are "at risk" then why not free?


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  Reply # 1638854 22-Sep-2016 16:29
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cynnicallemon:

 

NonprayingMantis: It will last a hell of a lt longer than what those families have today - which is 0GB.

 

I guess we are talking about families here that may have little or no money at the end of the week for food yet alone internet so how will some find $15 for each block of data - assuming there is no other subsidy?

 

If they are "at risk" then why not free?

 

 

 

 

there has to be limits put somewhere, keep it away from being abused.

 

having to pay a small fee for it is not unreasonable, 4G is a limited resource.

 

 

 

As others have stated, it is indeeded as a learning tool not a free lunch. 

 

I personally see this as a great idea, i would love to see the likes of netflix blocked further push the fact that it is a learning resource.





#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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  Reply # 1638857 22-Sep-2016 16:32
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So let's say first 30GB free then pay...


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  Reply # 1638869 22-Sep-2016 16:49
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This would be great for my sister. Hell, I would even pay for the first 6 months for her.

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  Reply # 1638876 22-Sep-2016 16:58
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What happens after the 30gb are up?

 

Is the connection throttled or does it simply stop?


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  Reply # 1638881 22-Sep-2016 17:02
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Davout:

 

What happens after the 30gb are up?

 

Is the connection throttled or does it simply stop?

 

 

 

 

I guess it's like Skinny Broadband, pay as you go.


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  Reply # 1638896 22-Sep-2016 17:29
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I think this is great, it would be especially awesome if schools could give this out to students who don't have access to internet at home as a week by week basis. A bit like a library book. Add in those content filters to block the bad bits and un-needed parts of the internet like Netflix.

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jmh

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  Reply # 1638918 22-Sep-2016 18:00
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I work for an organisation (Computers in Homes) on a contract basis that provides subsidised broadband ($40pm for 100GB pm for one year) for needy families.  There are other things on offer too.  It's run through schools.  We're finding that many need more because they have teenage children who are using it a lot. It's essential that kids have broadband at home, and many families can't afford it, so there is a real need for this service, but 30GB pm is nowhere near enough for a household that has multiple children, teens and perhaps lots of guests too.  Remember the housing crisis?  Some of these homes have high occupancy rates.

 

Good to see Spark doing this - I guess after a trial they may have to up the service to meet the needs of families.


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  Reply # 1638929 22-Sep-2016 18:38
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30GB is probably enough if it's being used mostly for educational/online learning however if the whole family starts using it for other downloading/streaming etc its not going to be anywhere near enough. I guess for me its a low entry point price for a reasonable amount of data for the main purpose for families in need, its not supposed to be appropriate for a complete broadband solution - not really a surprise at $15 for 30GB!

 

 

 

@jmh so with Spark Jump, these families could get 90GB for $45 vs 100GB for $40 - seems about the same?


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  Reply # 1638932 22-Sep-2016 18:45
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staticnz:

 

30GB is probably enough if it's being used mostly for educational/online learning however if the whole family starts using it for other downloading/streaming etc its not going to be anywhere near enough. 

 

 

 

 

And you can bet there is quite a bit of educational stuff being streamed these days.


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  Reply # 1638933 22-Sep-2016 18:47
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I think this is an awesome initiative. Heck, for $15 per month (or just $180 per year!), I'd be happy to pay on behalf of a needy family (tick a box on your bill maybe?).

 

I don't have a problem with limiting it to 30GB per month. It's clearly intended as a starter to bridge the have-have not digital divide, not to provide a full blown all-signing all-dancing service. At this price, Spark is clearly subsidising it (i.e. running it at a loss). A subsidy for education, news, e-commerce and keeping in contact with people is great; I'm not sure a subsidy for Netflix is really in the same boat.


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  Reply # 1638938 22-Sep-2016 19:02
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cynnicallemon:

 

Little better than Skinny's 100GB for $52, albeit more flexible being in smaller data chunks/cost and with loan of the modem. Trouble is 3OGB might not last too long in a family with two or more kids.

 

 

 

 

$15 is a little better?? Man.


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