This week Spark Foundation and 20/20 Trust announced the availability of affordable broadband to families in Pukekohe and Te Puke, enabling students to keep up with the digital skills necessary for today. Whānau Resource Centre o Pukekohe Charitable Trust and the Te Puke Public Library are running Spark Jump workshops for their communities.
How affordable Spark Jump supports home learning
As classroom learning goes digital, students without broadband at home are at risk of being left behind. Spark Jump enables more children to go online outside of classroom hours and get on the right side of the Digital Divide. Families with children up to the age of 18 and no current broadband connection are eligible for the programme. They will receive a modem and a wireless broadband connection and pay $10 for 30GB over 30 days with no fixed term contract. As a pre-pay service, the modem can be topped up at any time in the same way as pre-pay mobile phones.
In Pukekohe, the Whānau Resource Centre will help families set up and manage their Spark Jump internet connections. Interested families from these areas should contact the Resource Centre (see details below) to find out how they can join the programme.
Puawaereti Ryder, Manager of the Whānau Resource Centre, says “We’re passionate about empowering our community through education and it’s important to keep up with the skills necessary for today. Spark Jump will help families and their children in our community with this,” says Puawaereti.
In Te Puke, the library will run the Spark Jump workshops. Interested families should contact the library (see details below) to enquire when Spark Jump sessions are being held.
Amanda-Jane McFadden, Team Leader at Te Puke Library and Service Centre, says Spark Jump will help close the gap between families who can afford home broadband and those who can’t.
“Access to the internet is critical to get our children better placed to do amazing things in school and later in life but for some families home broadband is not affordable. We know that Spark Jump will help more children in our community thrive,” says Amanda-Jane.
Spark Foundation partners with community-based organisations like 20/20 Trust to deliver wireless broadband to families without internet. The Trust is active in communities around the country and works with local partners to select families for the programme based on the eligibility criteria set by the Spark Foundation and the intent to support education.
There are now 46 organisations and partners supporting Spark Jump.
General Manager of Spark Foundation Lynne Le Gros is pleased the partnership with 20/20 Trust 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 more homes in Pukekohe and Te Puke turn into digital learning environments to enable students to thrive in the digital world,” says Lynne.
More information on Spark Jump
Notes to the editor:
- According to the 2013 NZ Census, there were 62,000 New Zealand households with school-aged children which said they did not have home broadband (or which did not specify whether they had broadband).
- Spark Foundation has partnered with several organisations working in local communities around New Zealand including 20/20 Trust, Web Access Waikato Trust, Nga Pumanawa e Waru in Rotorua, DIGITS in Palmerston North 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 provided with a loan modem to use at no cost, with the support from technology partner Huawei.
- Families with children up to the age of 18 who do not currently have a broadband connection at home and have suitable 4G coverage are eligible for the programme.
- A participating family member must attend a 2-hour Spark Jump workshop to learn about the programme including how to top-up, sign a ‘kawa of care’, and set up their loan modem ready to just plug in to power at their home.
Puawaereti Ryder, Manager, Whānau Resource Centre o Pukekohe Charitable Trust
09 238 5285
Amanda-Jane McFadden, Libraries Team Leader, Te Puke Library
07 571 8008