Today Spark and 20/20 Trust has announced that subsidised broadband is now available in Waitaki through Oamaru Library so more students can keep up with the digital skills necessary for today.
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. As a pre-pay service, the modem can be topped up at any time in the same way as pre-pay mobile phones.
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.
In Oamaru, the district library will help families set up their internet connections as part of 20/20 Trust's Stepping UP programme. Interested families should contact the library to attend the next Spark Jump workshop on Tuesday 8 August.
Debbie Price-Ewen, Reference and Digital Services Librarian 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 Oamaru open the door to the digital world for their children," says Price-Ewen.
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 Spark Jump turn more homes in Oamaru into digital learning environments and enable more students to thrive in the digital world,” says Ms. Le Gros.
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 local communities around New Zealand including The Greater Christchurch Schools Network, 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 gifted a modem to use with the support from technology partner Huawei.
- Families with school-aged children who do not currently have a broadband connection at home and have suitable 4G coverage are eligible for the programme.