Spark Jump bridges Digital Divide in Gisborne and Southland

Spark Foundation logoPress release 12 April 2017

Today Spark and the 20/20 Trust have announced that subsidised broadband is now available in Gisborne  and Southland so more students can keep up with the digital skills necessary for today’s world.

Spark Jump helps school children connect

As classroom learning goes digital, students without broadband at home are at risk of being left behind. Spark Jump enables more school-aged children to go online outside of classroom hours and get on the right side of the Digital Divide. Families with school-aged children and no current broadband connection are eligible for the programme. They will receive a modem and a wireless broadband connection and pay $15 for 30GB with no fixed term contract..

Spark Foundation works with community-based organisations like the 20/20 Trust to deliver wireless broadband to families without internet. 20/20 Trust is active in communities around the country and selects families for the programme based on the eligibility criteria set by the Spark Foundation and the intent to support education.

TaiTech helping Gisborne families

In Gisborne, the Tairāwhiti Technology Trust (TaiTech) will help families set up and manage their internet connections as part of the 20/20 Trust’s digital literacy programmes. Interested families should contact TaiTech to find out when the next Spark Jump session is being held.

Maurice Alford, a TaiTech trustee, says Spark Jump will help make a difference for those who can’t afford home broadband. “We know that one of the challenges of getting home broadband is affordability and Spark Jump will help more families in Gisborne open the door to the digital world for their children,” says Alford.

Southern REAP closes skills gap

In Southland, Southern REAP will help families set up and manage their internet connections as part of the 20/20 Trust’s digital literacy programmes. Interested families should contact Southern REAP to register for a Spark Jump session.

Dawn Brocks, Manager of Southern REAP, says Spark Jump will help close the skills gap between families who can afford home broadband and those who can’t.

“Access to the internet is critical in getting all our children better placed to succeed in school and later in life. We know that one of the challenges of getting home broadband is affordability and Spark Jump will help more families in Southland open the door to the digital world for their children.” says Brocks.

Spark Foundation pleased with expansion

General Manager of Spark Foundation Lynne Le Gros is pleased the partnership with the 20/20 Trust and their partners is expanding the reach of Spark Jump to reach more families at risk of being digitally excluded.

“We’re pleased to serve communities around the country with a truly useful product like subsidised broadband. We’re excited to see Spark Jump turn more homes in Gisborne and Southland into digital learning environments and enable more students to thrive in the digital world,” says Ms. Le Gros.

20/20 says Spark Jump helps open up digital world

As learning goes digital, Laurence Zwimpfer National Operations Manager for 20/20 Trust says subsidised broadband will help children get online outside of classroom hours to do homework on laptops and Chromebooks and keep up with the digital skills necessary for today.

“Access to the internet is critical in getting all our children better placed to succeed in school and later in life. We know that one of the challenges of getting home broadband is affordability and Spark Jump will help families in Gisborne and Southland open the door to the digital world for their children.” says Zwimpfer.

Check availability in your area

Families can check if Spark Jump has a partner in their area by visiting sparkfoundation.org.nz/sparkjump, by contacting 20/20 Trust, or by checking the 20/20 Digital Inclusion map. Local community-based partner organisations identify and refer eligible customers to Spark.

Notes to the editor:

  • According to the 2013 NZ Census, there were 62,000 households with school-aged children which said they did not have home broadband (or which did not specify whether they had broadband).
  • 20/20 Trust has been one of the first partners to come on board Spark Jump and is now working with 19 local partners from Kaitaia in the Far North to Winton in Southland.
  • Spark Foundation has partnered with several other organisations working in a number of communities around New Zealand including The Greater Christchurch Schools Network, Web Access Waikato Trust, Nga Pumanawa e Waru in Rotorua and a school cluster in Napier.
  • Spark Jump uses the Skinny Broadband platform and provides wireless home broadband via a 4G mobile signal connecting with the nearest cell tower. Families are gifted a modem to use with the support from technology partner Huawei.
  • Families with school-aged children who currently lack broadband at home and have a suitable 4G coverage where they live are eligible for the programme.
  • TaiTech helps people in the Tairāwhiti region be confident, innovative users of digital technologies.
  • Southern REAP is one of 13 other REAPs nationwide that delivers education opportunities to rural communities.

For more information please contact:

Sera Jeong
Marketing and Communications Advisor, Spark Foundation
+64 27 536 5192
Sera.Jeong@spark.co.nz

For high quality Spark New Zealand logos, photographs of the leadership team, and boilerplate to help with your story or event, visit sparknz.co.nz/news/downloads.

Stephen Carr
Executive Director, 20/20 Trust
021 441 461
stephen.carr@2020.org.nz

For high quality 20/20 Trust logos, background to 20/20’s digital inclusion programmes, and boilerplate to help with your story or event, visit 2020.org.nz/media.