Speeding up approvals for UFB connections

On 23 February 2016 Minister Adams announced the first phase of Land Access Reforms, aimed at speeding up UFB  connections.  Coordinators will be well aware of the challenges in securing landowner approvals for UFB connections to premises along shared driveways or in multi-tenanted buildings.  These reforms aim to speed up this process in situations where landlords or other affected parties can’t be contacted or are slow in responding to requests for approvals.  MBIE has prepared a very good visual explanation of the new reforms. Well worthwhile taking a look.  Even though it is not our responsibility to secure these permissions, if you know how things are supposed to work, you can be much stronger advocates for the families we support.

Dick Smith closure

On 25 February 2016, the Dick Smith receivers announced that all Dick Smith stores, including those in New Zealand, would close.  Unlike the earlier announcement when the receivers hoped to find a new buyer, the decision to close all New Zealand stores in 8 weeks does mean that we need to change some processes around our BYOD scheme.

  1. All devices purchased under our BYOD scheme are now out of warranty, so there is no need for the devices to go to a Dick Smith store for assessment.
  2. Any problems with the devices must continue to be reported to Kristina (0800 272020); she will record details and provide instructions.
  3. This is likely to involve asking the families concerned to drop off their faulty device to the school point of contact or to the CiH coordinator; the device is then to be couriered to Kristina (we will cover charges).
  4. Kristina will follow up the insurance claim in the same way that she does now.  The repaired device will be returned to the coordinator, school or family.

So it is still pretty-much business as usual with the one exception that we can no longer use the local Dick Smith store as a drop-off point.

Any questions, please contact Kristina.

School Term Dates 2016

2016 school terms

Term 1

11 weeks. Includes Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday
and Easter Tuesday (a school holiday)

Between Monday 1 February
(at the earliest);
and Friday 5 February (at the latest)
Friday 15 April
(94-102 half days)
2 weeks (includes ANZAC day)

Saturday 16 April – Sunday 1 May

Term 2

10 weeks. Includes Queen’s Birthday

Monday 2 May Friday 8 July
(98 half days)
2 weeks

Saturday 9 July – Sunday 24 July

Term 3

9 weeks.

Monday 25 July Friday 23 September
(90 half days)
2 weeks

Saturday 24 September – Sunday 9 October

Term 4

Up to 11 weeks. Includes Labour Day

Monday 10 October Primary, intermediate and special schools:
No later than Tuesday 20 December
(102 half days)*

Secondary and composite:
No later than Friday 16 December
(98 half days)**


5 or 6 weeks

From school’s closing date until opening date of school the following year.

Includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.

* Or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for 384 half days in 2016.
** Or to a day in December which ensures that the school has been open for instruction for 380 half days in 2016.

Impact of Dick Smith receivership for CIH BYOD pilot

Most of you will be aware that during the Christmas break Dick Smith was placed into receivership.

This raises the question about how this might affect families on our BYOD scheme, in particular when it comes to insurance claims (all devices are now out of their 1-year warranty).

The simple answer is that nothing changes.  The devices procured for the BYOD pilot have been paid for in full by the 2020 Trust and they remain the property of 2020 Trust until such time that families have paid for them in full.

Families must continue to report faulty or damaged devices to Kristina (0800 27 2020). Kristina will prepare the paperwork for the family to take with their device to their nearest Dick Smith store.  The Dick Smith store couriers the device to Kristina, who lodges the insurance claim.  After repair (or replacement) devices are returned directly to the family or via the local Dick Smith store.

2 Degrees price increase alert!

Recently a family who had just moved from their first 12 months of CIH-subsidised Internet to paying directly to 2degrees found that on the 4th December they were charged $59.95 and on 5th January they were charged $60.90.

2degrees provided the following explanation:

“This is a charge that the Government has added to all providers. It’s called the Telecommunications Development Levy (TDL) and is an industry wide levy that is administered by the government. The funds are used for initiatives such as improving broadband coverage in rural areas, reducing mobile coverage black spots, and improving the 111 emergency services. This totals 95c across the board for all our plans and all other providers too. They [the customer] would have been notified on their Bills what the new charge was.”

Now this was total news to us, so we will checking with 2degrees to see how this affects all our CIH packages.  We raised with 2degrees before Christmas that we felt it was about time the data cap of 5oGB was lifted (or preferably removed!).

There are also other potential price changes as a result of the 15 December 2015 Commerce Commission decision on unbundled copper loop services.  2degrees advised us that they would provide an update early 2016.

Upgrading from DSL to UFB not an option during initial 12 months

A question has been raised by one of our CIH families waiting for a UFB internet connection about whether we would support an upgrade to UFB when it becomes available if they start with Naked DSL.  This would certainly be nice to do, but doesn’t fit our current funding and service delivery model with 2degrees.

  1. When we sign a family up for internet service, they are agreeing to a 12-month contract.  If this contract is broken within the 12 months then an early termination fee of $99 is payable.  But it is worse than this.  Our funding model pre-purchases internet connectivity in 6-month chunks, so any change during the 6-month period puts us out of pocket.
  2. So families have to be forewarned that once they make a decision, they need to stick with it for 12 months.
  3. This then raises the question of what we will fund if the family chooses to upgrade to UFB on termination of their 12-month subsidised CIH internet. We do not contribute funding to any upgrade package;  families must accept responsibility for this themselves, including the cost of a UFB router (between $200 and $350).  We are happy to assist migrate them to become a regular paying customer with 2degrees, but this will be on the same terms as their CIH internet connection.  They are then free to negotiate an upgrade package directly with 2degrees (at their own cost).
  4. Another question has arisen about families who want to increase their monthly data cap during the initial 12-month subsidised period.  We do not have an arrangement with 2degrees to support this, so the message to families must be: live within the 50GB monthly allowance plus unlimited YouTube for the initial 12 months (although at a pinch, they could exit at 6 months if they are willing to pay the $99 break fee).