Spark Jump too good to be true?

Paul Greville of the Masterton District Library with a box of Spark Jump modems
Paul Greville of the Masterton District Library wants to bridge the digital divide. PHOTO/WTA:EMILY IRELAND

Wairarapa Times-Age 5th February  2018: If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

But that’s not the case with an offer of heavily discounted internet for Wairarapa families battling the digital divide.

Masterton District Library digital services manager Paul Greville is conducting ‘Spark Jump’ sessions at the library, a free programme which sets people up with a free-loan 4G router pre-loaded with 30GB/30 days of free data; it’s for families in low-income communities with children under 18 who don’t have a broadband connection at home.

And the best part?

Once that data is used, it’s only $10 to top it up with another 30GB/30 days – a price so cheap, it’s not even comparable to other offers available for internet.

Mr Greville said based on the latest Census statistics (2013), 76.8 per cent of New Zealand had internet access in their homes.

In Masterton it was only 65.6 per cent, and on the East Side, it was only 52.4 per cent.

Carterton, Greytown, and Martinborough punched above their weight, but still failed to reach the national average at a respective 71.2 per cent, 72.5 per cent, and 70.3 per cent.

Featherston sat at only 62.5 per cent uptake.

“Our main problem is that people know about this programme, but they don’t believe it,” Mr Greville said.

“We get the ‘too good to be true’ crowd – people turning up to take the course with money in their pocket expecting someone to pivot on them with unexpected costs, but that is not the case.”

Masterton Library and Wairarapa REAP have got together with national Spark Jump coordinators 20/20 Trust to make this Spark community programme available in the the Wairarapa. 

Read the full story on the Wairarapa Times-Age website (