Spark Jump – Changing address

A reminder to coordinators supporting Spark Jump that families are not permitted to use their Spark Jump modem like a mobile hotspot. It is a breach of their agreement with Spark Foundation if they relocate their modems without formally advising them (through us). If modems are used out of area, this will create an alert in the Spark network and we will be asked to explain why.

This situation cropped up this week when a member of one of our CIH families relocated to another area and took the Spark Jump modem with him so that he could continue to use his phone at the discounted rates.

The coordinator knew the family involved was house-bound and could not understand how this could have happened. My initial reaction was that we had mixed up our IMEI numbers somehow (sorry Kristina, I should have known better!!). The coordinator got on the phone immediately and asked the family to quote the IMEI number, which was correct. On further questioning, she admitted that her son had taken the modem to Wellington for two days earlier in the week, which is what was detected by Spark.

Spark Jump Reporting

Coordinators involved in the Spark Jump programme will notice some changes in the google sheets used for reporting. Some key changes:

Cells B1 to J1: Quick links to key Spark Jump resources and online forms
Cells B2-C2: “INSTRUCTIONS” quick link to full explanatory of all columns
Column K – child’s school; no need to record name or birth date – these columns have now been hidden
Columns N-P: shaded grey; only for Kristina’s use when allocating modems
Column R: Date Kawa of Care completed online; copies automatically got to the family as well as Spark Foundation and Kristina
Columns V – Y: Report back from families. Families should report back using the online form and we will send them a bonus $15 voucher by way of acknowledgement.
Columns AB-AE: for use when something changes, like a change of address or a modem being returned.

Spark Jump registrations now online

All families signing up to Spark Jump through one of our 20/20 local partners (including Computers in Homes families) should use the online form for their Kawa of Care.  A copy will be emailed to the family as well as to Spark Foundation and 20/20 Trust (Kristina).  We are planning to add a quick link from the Stepping UP website to make it easy for trainers and families when they are setting up their modems.

Spark Jump Reminder

I was having a look through the Spark Jump folder in GDrive (Search Spark Jump in GoogleDrive) yesterday and was reminded of what a great option it is for connecting some of our whanau who might be struggling with $10 weekly payments, etc.  The beauty with Spark Jump is that it operates with top-ups, which is suited to many whanau.
“”Spark Jump has some significant benefits:
1. it is a pre-pay service; there are no term contracts or monthly bills;
2. it costs $15 for a 30 GB data pack (which expires after 30 days, so must be topped up monthly)
3. top ups can be made using Skinny vouchers (available at thousands of retailers),or using a debit or credit card;
4. it uses the 4G and 4G 700 wireless network; there is no need for copper or fibre
5. it can be set up in 10 minutes during a Computers in Homes or Stepping UP class.””
Please make sure you offer this option to your classes when giving the “Internet talk”!  All trainers should be aware of it as well. The 2degrees option on offer is still better value for money, but Spark Jump has flexibility that could be a better fit for some.
Families need to check here to see if 4G is available to them:
Operational proceedures are clearly set out here:
You will also find wonderful presentations in the folder – great resources.
But wait there is more……….  a Digital Step to  use in class – awesome!!
Sue Kini is doing a great job getting libraries involved  through Stepping Up, etc. Should you get a random “one off” inquiry, where no classes are nearby, check with SueK to see if there is a library in the area that may be able to assist them. This is a work in progress.

Spark Jump

Some of you may have heard about Spark Jump, a new pre-pay internet service for families with school-aged children.The service is being subsidised by the Spark Foundation and being offered through partner organisations.  The 2020 Trust is one of these partners along with other organisations that we work closely with – Greater Christchurch Schools Network (in Christchurch), Web Access Waikato (in Waikato),Nga Pumanawa e Waru (in Rotorua).

Spark Jump has some significant benefits:

  1. it is a pre-pay service, so no contracts or monthly bills;
  2. it costs $15 for a 30 GB data pack (which expires after 30 days, so must be topped up monthly)
  3. topups can be made using Skinny vouchers (available at thousands of retailers),or using a debit or credit card;
  4. it uses the 4G and 4G 700 wireless network, so no wires or UFB wait;
  5. it can be set up in 10 minutes during a CIH or Stepping UP class.

However it is not a replacement for a fixed line service (DSL or UFB) which offer ‘on account’ packages  of around 100GB. The average New Zealand household now uses around 100GB each month, so Jump Start is not intended for people who want to download movies every night!  But it is a great fit for families who can not afford our subsidised $10/week 2degrees package.

We are currently developing operational procedures and delivery models.  Once these are finalised, we will communicate details to all CIH coordinators and programme delivery partners. In the meantime, please refer any inquiries from individual families to Kristina. Our goal is to establish delivery partners in each region where we have digital literacy programmes; we will prioritise areas where there are specific inquiries/requests.  Sue West and Naseem Khan connected the first of these in Auckland last week.

More on Internet Subsidies for families with existing telephone connections

A question has been raised about which telephone service providers will accept monthly contributions towards the cost of an internet package.  To date we have arrangements with the following providers:

  • Slingshot
  • Spark
  • Vodafone
  • Trustpower
  • 2degrees
  • NOW
  • Primo

We are happy to pursue a similar arrangement with other telephone providers, but coordinators need to be aware that not every provider will accept automatic direct debit top-ups (typically pre-pay providers).  So before any promises are made, please check in with the national team to ensure this is an option.

Skinny could be interesting

I am not talking about my diet, but rather Spark’s low cost pre-pay mobile provider called Skinny.  They are offering a whopping 60GB data cap for just $55 per month and the first month is free.  OK, there is a $199 connection cost to procure the wireless modem and SIM card.  But this is a giant leap forward from the usual 3GB monthly data caps provided for around the same price by other mobile providers.

We have been advocating for some time that an affordable pre-pay option for Computers in Homes families might be a more sustainable solution than fixed monthly charges.  And Skinny could be giving us this opportunity.

Alistair has been doing some homework for us about how we might operationalise this.  As a pre-pay service, there is no such thing as invoices and accounts.  Families require a debit or credit card and have total control over how much they want to pre-load their accounts. There appear to be very good mobile phone tools for alerting users as they approach their data caps.

We still have a bit of work to do to work out how we can top up a family’s account, but this is promoted as one of the features – to be able to top up your Skinny mates accounts.  So we know it is possible.  There is also an auto top-up feature, so provided these two features work together we should be good to go.

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t (I am sure today’s news of the single Flyby point to purchase a $1500 iPad is fresh in everyone’s minds!).  So what is the downside with Skinny?  Coverage could be an issue, as the service relies on 4G, but this can be checked on the Skinny website.

So anyone who is struggling to get a broadband connection for one of their families, plug in their address and see if Skinny is an option.  If so let me know and we can give it a whirl.


Support for CiH Families with Spark Phone connections

I am pleased to advise that we now have in place a mechanism for supporting internet connections for families with existing Spark telephone lines.  Since December 2014, it has been uneconomic for us to provide a SNAP Broadband DSL connection for families who have an existing telephone service from another provider (see separate blog post about this).

Spark has now provided us with a process that will allow us to top up a CiH family’s Spark account each month for 12 months, so we can make good on our promise to subsidise their connections.

Spark currently offers three ADSL Broadband + Landline plans:

40GB  $79/month

80GB $89/ month

Unlimited $99/month

Families in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will be paying at least $50 per month ($53.50 per month in other areas) for their Spark landline, so the extra cost for the landline plus internet package is $25-$50, depending on the location and the package.  We can provide a $20 per month subsidy for 12 months, so that reduces the extra cost to families to $5 – $30 per month.  We should encourage families to start with the $79/month package with the data cap speed throttle option (see Additional Data Charges).  This would only cost them an additional $5/ month, which is an even better deal than our previous ADSL SNAP offer, which was four times this at $5/ week).  Or if they think they would really like more data, then even the unlimited package at $99/month would only cost them an additional $30 per month.

There is also the contract term to consider (see Minimum Contract Period and Early Termination Fees).  A modem is supplied with a 12 month contract, but then there are early termination fees.  We can supply a modem, so we should remove this from the equation.  Spark charges a set-up fee of $99, which is waived for 6 and 12-month contracts.  My suggestion is that we advise families to enter into 6-month contracts; they would incur a $99 penalty if they terminate before the 6 months is up.

In terms of operational mechanics we will need the following details in order to set up an automatic topup of Spark accounts ( I can just sense your excitement at the prospect of some more google doc columns!)

Spark Account name

Spark Telephone number

Spark Account Number

All these details are printed on the monthly Spark invoice, so it probably makes sense to ask families to provide us with a copy of a recent Spark invoice.  We also need evidence that the family has in fact upgraded to an ADSL Broadband + Landline package, so families should be encouraged to do this during training and present a Spark Invoice before graduation.  We can then date our subsidy to start from the date they upgraded.