Today Spark Foundation and 20/20 Trust have announced that subsidised broadband is available to more families in the Nelson and Tasman districts through Nelson Public Libraries as well as Richmond, Motueka and Takaka Libraries, enabling more students to 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 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 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 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.
In the Nelson-Tasman region, the public libraries in Nelson, Richmond and Motueka will help families set up and manage their Spark Jump internet connections. Interested families from these areas should contact their local library to enquire on how they can join the programme.
Steve Harley, Team Leader Programmes and Services at Nelson City Council, says Spark Jump will help close the gap between families who can afford home broadband and those who can't. “Public libraries already play an important role in providing equitable access to the internet and learning opportunities for our communities, and partnering with 20/20 Trust to provide affordable internet is a great fit. We’re happy to play a part in supporting Spark Jump to help more children in the Nelson-Tasman region participate in the digital world,” says Steve.
Access to broadband infrastructure is a key concern for Tasman families outside of the immediate urban areas, said Helen McCubbin, Information Services Librarian at the Richmond Library. “Through Spark Jump, Tasman children will be able to access broadband through the mobile network maximising their access outside of school buildings and hours,” she said.
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 the top of the South turn into digital learning environments to enable 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 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 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.
Team Leader Programmes and Services, Nelson City Council
03 546 0249
Information Services Librarian, Richmond Library
03 543 8500