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  Reply # 1639047 22-Sep-2016 21:56
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cynnicallemon:

 

tdgeek:

 

Yet a company offers what is bound to be a loss maker as a contribution to those that are needy, and it results in criticism.

 

 

 

 

How much of a loss maker will it be?

 

Can you validate that?

 

Don't get me wrong, I think Spark are good for pushing this but I think they could do better.

 

 

Like what? $0 a month for the same amount of data? What do you define as "better"? I'd be curious to know.


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  Reply # 1639074 22-Sep-2016 22:59
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Whilst I work for Spark in the broadband arena, I knew nothing of this offer prior to today, so I can't comment in any official capacity.

 

My guess (and it is just that) is the $15 price point is a way of weeding out those who might seek to abuse the offer. Making it completely free could, in my opinion, lead to misuse, or at least people who don't need it trying to rort their way into it. The $15 pricing does, I assume, make it a little less attractive to those who seek 'something for nothing'. There's also the commercial side of things, where a totally free offer would most likely be completely unsustainable for a company who must, at the end of the day, return a profit overall for it's shareholders, even when striving to do something good for the community.

 

Whether the $15 pricing delivers the service at a loss or a small profit I cannot say. As the offer is inherently a benevolent one, I would assume that it will, at most, break-even. Cost recovery of the free hardware is likely built in to the monthly fee, but again, I cannot comment from a position of any authority.

 

I can offer my opinion, which is that I hope that some of the less fortunate families out there will be able to take up this offer, and maybe together we can stop their kids being left behind. I know it probably won't help every struggling family, but it's a start. When Spark staff received the announcement email from Simon Moutter this morning, many of those around me commented about how, at that moment, they felt proud to work at Spark, a company who rightly or wrongly gets its fair share of criticism.

 

There are those here and in other forums who will say that what Spark has done today is not enough. To those people I issue a challenge: put your money where your mouth is - find a way to sponsor a struggling family's broadband for a month. Or a year. Or whatever you can afford. Help Spark make a difference if you think they can't do it alone.

 

Spark staff in Christchurch recently held a fundraising quiz night for www.filltheirlunchbox.co.nz, a social enterprise which delivers healthy school lunches to pupils at low decile Christchurch schools on a "buy one, donate one" basis. $13 buys a lunch for you delivered to your Christchurch workplace, and another lunch delivered to a low decile Christchurch school. If you are not in Christchurch, you can 'shout a lunch' for just $5. The enterprise aims to deliver 40,000 school lunches this year. There are similar social enterprises in other areas as well, such as www.eatmylunch.nz

 

Many Spark staff also regularly donate to worthy causes via payroll giving and of course Spark runs GiveALittle, so I think it's accurate to say that Spark and their staff are doing what they can to give a hand up for those in need.

 

Again, these are my personal opinions and observations only.





The views expressed by me are not necessarily those of my employer Chorus NZ Ltd


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  Reply # 1639415 23-Sep-2016 13:55
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Agreed that 30GB doesn't seem like much in this day and age of 1080p Netflix, but I don't think that should detract from what this is and what it might achieve.

 

We got internet in my house when I was 13, but only because Zfree came along. My parents couldn't and wouldn't pay for internet. That dodgy, unreliable dialup (with a single phone line and a talkative teenage sister - I was lucky if I could download 1GB in a month) was enough to ignite an interest that has lasted permanently. It doesn't take much when you're talking about a curious child.

 

If Zfree hadn't existed, we probably wouldn't have got internet access until I got my first regularly paying job at 16. Three years is a lifetime when you're that age.

 

Good on Spark. I'd like to see more initiatives like this.


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  Reply # 1639450 23-Sep-2016 14:48
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allio:

 

Agreed that 30GB doesn't seem like much in this day and age of 1080p Netflix, but I don't think that should detract from what this is and what it might achieve.

 

We got internet in my house when I was 13, but only because Zfree came along. My parents couldn't and wouldn't pay for internet. That dodgy, unreliable dialup (with a single phone line and a talkative teenage sister - I was lucky if I could download 1GB in a month) was enough to ignite an interest that has lasted permanently. It doesn't take much when you're talking about a curious child.

 

If Zfree hadn't existed, we probably wouldn't have got internet access until I got my first regularly paying job at 16. Three years is a lifetime when you're that age.

 

Good on Spark. I'd like to see more initiatives like this.

 

 

 

 

when I was 13 we had only just got a TV as my mother was on widows benefit and couldn't afford it earlier (1969-ish) . Strange how times change but the lack of TV never affected my ability to learn from other sources or keep me from being outdoors enjoying my youth. Would I/we have been smarter if internet was around, who knows but I could have a good guess.





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  Reply # 1639670 24-Sep-2016 05:57
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It is heartening to read the majority of the comments here congratulating Spark and the Spark Foundation for providing this service.

 

I first learned of this service when I met with the Spark Foundation about 3 months ago and described the challenge of broadband affordability that some families in NZ face every day.

 

The problems are multifaceted;

 

target families sometimes have poor credit records and so mainstream ISPs simply won't sell them a traditional broadband service even if the family can afford it,

 

mainstream broadband services usually have 12 month contracts (or have $100+ install fees with open term deals). The early termination charges associated with cancelling are unaffordable

 

these families are often transient, moving frequently to follow work or cheaper housing. Moving fixed line services can be expensive (especially if early termination charges are applied) and if UFB is involved can result in no connection for weeks at a time.

 

The Spark Jump service solves these problems. There are no term contracts, not even a monthly commitment. Families have complete control over their spending. If an unexpected medical or car repair bill pops up they have the choice to go without some internet for a week or two so they can pay other bills, they have much less choice with fixed line monthly services. 

 

The service can be relocated without incurring downtime or cost, simply take the 4G modem with you and advise your delivery partner, no waiting, no fees.

 

Simple pre-pay model works no matter what your credit history is.

 

 

 

Some posters here comment that 30GB will be used by Netflix or YouTube in a short time. You're right, but our families probably aren't signing up to a Netflix subscription if they're using this service and part of the work we do involves educating people about managing data caps. As many posters have said here already, 30GB is much more than 0G that these families have now. Remember, it's a solution for families with no internet in their home at all and it's intended primarily to help kids with their schooling.

 

If there is a genuine case of a household with say 5 school age kids using a large amount of data, then our trust has the ability to provide targeted funding for those situations.

 

As a trustee with one of the initial delivery partners for Spark Jump (the Web Access Waikato Trust), I'm excited to have this opportunity to get more families online.

 

Our trust will be providing training and refurbished PCs, laptops alongside Spark Jump to families in need throughout the Waikato region. If you would like to help our cause (teaching, donation of useful IT gear, volunteer your time to refurbish equipment, or just donate a few dollars to fund a families internet connection) then I'd love to hear from you.

 

 

 

Shane Hobson 

 

021742634


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  Reply # 1639682 24-Sep-2016 06:49
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My sister was asking if there was an option to pay a little more to get a bit more data - anyone know?


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  Reply # 1639683 24-Sep-2016 06:58
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jeffnz: when I was 13 we had only just got a TV as my mother was on widows benefit and couldn't afford it earlier (1969-ish) . Strange how times change but the lack of TV never affected my ability to learn from other sources or keep me from being outdoors enjoying my youth. Would I/we have been smarter if internet was around, who knows but I could have a good guess.

 

Up until the mid-90's the median wage was only 3 times the median house price, times have changed.

 

These days the vast majority of manual / labor jobs are disappearing due to automation and is only set to increase / get worse as technology improves. I see a day sometime in the next 10-20 years that you will be able to 3D Print a whole house should you want to.

 

Lower socioeconomic families were able to earn a living from manual jobs but with those jobs effectively disappearing so we as a society need to do something.

 

shanehobson: As a trustee with one of the initial delivery partners for Spark Jump (the Web Access Waikato Trust), I'm excited to have this opportunity to get more families online.

 

Our trust will be providing training and refurbished PCs, laptops alongside Spark Jump to families in need throughout the Waikato region. If you would like to help our cause (teaching, donation of useful IT gear, volunteer your time to refurbish equipment, or just donate a few dollars to fund a families internet connection) then I'd love to hear from you.

 

You sir are a legend and I thoroughly applaud what you're doing. It's a very thankless job helping those in need. Especially in an area that many would not consider an "essential" such as food/housing.

 

My view is education is the only ticket out of poverty, and providing internet access is a key foundation to getting an education in the world we find ourselves in.

 

I'm going to track down who is your equivalent in Wellington.






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  Reply # 1639685 24-Sep-2016 07:12
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quickymart: My sister was asking if there was an option to pay a little more to get a bit more data - anyone know?

 

 

I'm sure it will be a PAYG so each 30GB would be $15 and you just buy more as you need it or go for the $52 Skinny plan. I am sure it will just be the same Huawei B315 boxes that Skinny and Spark supply.

 

As per the Spark press release:http://www.sparknz.co.nz/news/Spark-Jump/

 

 

Spark will work with community partners to expand the initiative across the country. The Greater Christchurch Schools Network, Web Access Waikato Trust and 20/20 Trust will be three of the first partners working with Spark to establish processes and a collaborative model. Spark is also exploring partnership opportunities with the Ministry of Education's Communities of Learning programme. The product and service of Spark Jump will continue to develop in this next phase of community engagement.

 

 

It's just you will need to go via your local community provider to get the router for "free" as a loan rather than buying it directly to Skinny to make sure you are eligible to get it. I think the reason for using community providers is many of the adults have no computer literacy so it is about educating both the adults and the children on the use of technology. It sounds like your sister is already fairly technology literate but on a tight budget. I think the needs of any children will be the deciding factor plus if she lives in an area services by one of the above community providers.






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  Reply # 1639688 24-Sep-2016 07:31
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I also feel the use of community providers is to ensure that those who truly deserve this option, get it. Its not for someone to say, I can't afford BB and ask for this option. 


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  Reply # 1639692 24-Sep-2016 07:51
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Quickymart - if your sister qualifies (school kids at home and no internet) and lives in Waikato then please get her in contact with me. The deal is when the 30GB runs out, the customer buys more data at the same price $15 for another 30GB.

 

 

 

Bartender - you should contact http://2020.org.nz, they are based in Wellington.

 

 

 

Keep in mind, this is likely to be a staged release so that collectively we can fine tune the service before it's made available everywhere.

 

If anyone reading this represents a charitable trust with similar objectives, please get in touch with me and I'll put you in contact with Spark Foundation.


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  Reply # 1639711 24-Sep-2016 08:45
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Has anyone made provision for the amount of computers/tablets possibly needed for this initial 5000 rollout?

 

Because it's quite reasonable to assume that families currently without broadband potentially have no device capable of connecting to this wireless solution. It's exactly what Google (and others) found as part of the US governments ConnectHome project. Google gave free (and it didn't seem to hurt their business model) fibre internet to underprivileged families. About 35% of the homes they connected did not have a computer or such device. If it's the same amount here, it will be in the region of 1500+ to start with.

 

Quote from the Google Fibre blog about their involvement in the HACA project in Austin, Texas.

 

"If a family in one of these properties signs up for our Basic Service, they get an in-home Internet connection at today’s basic broadband speeds, free for ten years after construction, They can also upgrade and pay for gigabit speeds anytime."

 

US govt ConnectHome is currently servicing around 275,000 homes. There are many contributors to this scheme, not all completely free but still very good offerings.


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  Reply # 1639712 24-Sep-2016 08:57
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cynnicallemon:

 

Has anyone made provision for the amount of computers/tablets possibly needed for this initial 5000 rollout?

 

 

 

 

Yep it looks like they are

 

shanehobson:

 

 

 

Our trust will be providing training and refurbished PCs, laptops alongside Spark Jump to families in need throughout the Waikato region. If you would like to help our cause (teaching, donation of useful IT gear, volunteer your time to refurbish equipment, or just donate a few dollars to fund a families internet connection) then I'd love to hear from you.

 

 Shane Hobson 

 

021742634

 

 

I assume the other Community partners will probably be doing the same. 

 

Clint

 

 

 

edit Spelling


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  Reply # 1639715 24-Sep-2016 09:07
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The Spark Jump solution doesn't include a digital device, but the supplied in home router does has wifi, so if the user has a smart phone (quite common for our families) then they'll get internet on their phone.

 

There are many other initiatives out there to get digital devices into the hands of needy families. Our Trust is partnered with 2020 to deliver the Computers in Homes programme (http://computersinhomes.nz) in our region. That programme provides 20 hours of training, a refurbished PC and some internet to qualifying families. 

 

In addition to that, we have our own funding to provide refurbished laptops & PCs to qualifying families at little or no cost. (all donations of suitable IT gear for refurb and reuse are gratefully received).

 

Many schools now have their own programmes to fund tablets, Chromebooks and the like to families in need. But there is always more need than there is capacity to meet that need.


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  Reply # 1639716 24-Sep-2016 09:08
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clinty:

 

 

 

Yep it looks like they are

 

 

 

 

Yes great. Just wondered how many of the current pilot test families needed supplying with one.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1639718 24-Sep-2016 09:28
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shanehobson: 

 

What can I do from Hastings? I don't have a lot of spare cash but I could certainly afford to contribute something. Also, I have some old legacy gear, including a couple of working PCs I would be happy to donate. It would be good to see them going for something useful.

 

 

 

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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