Jolie Hodson, CEO of Spark, gave an excellent presentation at the DIA-hosted Digital Inclusion Connect Forum, in Wellington yesterday. Jolie gave us a sneak preview of Spark’s plans for a revitalised JUMP service. This included raising the data allowance to 50GB for $10 (up from 30GB), limiting the number of top-ups each month to three (to help families avoid spending too much on the Internet each month) and extending the eligibility criteria to include unemployed people, youth and isolated seniors as well as families with children 18 and under. Jolie didn’t mentioned when this might happen, but we understand it is likely to be early in 2020.
Spark’s objective is to increase the number of people benefiting from JUMP to 35,000 each year, up from the current 3,500. Jolie also mentioned that Spark is looking for ways to do more than just connect people to the internet; she wants to help New Zealand move towards a more digitally equitable society, where everyone has the skills and capabilities to participate and improve their digital wellbeing.
Jolie noted that the 2018 Census revealed that there 211,000 households with no internet and connecting all these households with affordable quality internet is a challenge that Spark is willing to take on. Well done Spark!