Do Jump customers get the 60GB data boost being offered by Skinny?

Skinny Jump is a subsidised broadband service for homes who currently do not have broadband because cost is a barrier. On Wednesday 25th March, 30GB plans were  reduced from $10 to $5, making Jump even more accessible to low income homes. This is a permanent pricing change.

Because Skinny Jump is already a subsidised product the 60GB data boost does not apply to Jump customers. We hope that homes that previously had no broadband find Jump is a price accessible service that allows them to get and stay connected.

Support for school students needing home internet connection

With schools now closed, how are we helping school students who do not have broadband?

Spark, Skinny and Spark Foundation are in discussion with the Ministry of Education about how they can help get all school students set up with a broadband connection. Jump might play a role in this, as might other technologies like fibre and copper connectivity.

The MoE has indicated that around 50,000 homes with school students don’t have a broadband connection.  Rolling out at this scale (and pace) comes with many logistical challenges. The Spark Foundation is asking all schools requesting Jump to sit tight for now so they can coordinate a plan with MoE.

Families who don’t want to wait may sign up using our existing processes; for the most part this currently involves registering online using our Skinny Jump Order form. A modem will then be couriered to the family with a self-service user guide to activate the modem and set up a Skinny account.

However, we (DIAA) are not able to respond to schools requesting large volumes of modems; we hope this will be sorted by MoE before schools open again after Easter.

Jump modem deliveries during COVID-19 Stage 4 Alert

We are continuing to supply Jump modems, as internet connections are recognised as an essential service:

Basically there are two options:

Option 1: Partner Assisted. This is a variation of our current (pre-COVID-19 Lockdown) model.  Modems are still supplied by the Jump Partner, but the family is assisted by phone with the set up process, including new email if required, creating the Skinny account and completing the online Stepping UP Profile form. Pretty much the same as you have been doing, only without the user physically coming to the library. The new Skinny User Guide now being supplied with all modems explains what families need to do when they get their modem home, including top-ups.  The main challenge with this model is how you as a partner get the modem to the family; if couriering is the only option, then you are better to go with Option 2 below.  Some partners are implementing ‘no-contact’ options where families can collect their modems from the front porch or deck of the Partner’s home after it has been set up. (we have received 56 signups through this process in the last 2 days)

 

Option 2: Self Supported. In this case, people contact you as the designated staff person by telephone.  You complete the online Spark Jump Order form on their behalf  based on information they supply over the phone.  And that’s all you need to do (takes just a couple of minutes).  We (DIAA) receive the submitted order form and courier a modem directly to the user, along with a Self-service User Guide.  This explains how to set up a Skinny account, which the user can either do on their own or they can call the Skinny Helpdesk for assistance.  (we have already received 120 requests through this process in just 2 days)

 

The main difference between the two options is whether you supply the modem (Option 1) or whether we courier directly to the use (Option 2).  For both options we need your assistance in responding to initial inquiries and helping users complete the documentation.

 

School requests for bulk supplies of Jump Modems

Schools are preparing for the possibility that they might need to close as a result of the COVID-19 alert and this has prompted them to take steps to ensure that all their students could continue to engage in online learning.  Which of course means that their students will need a home internet connection.   Schools have been checking with their students to find out how many do not have access to an internet connection at home and early indications are that this could be tens of thousands.

Some schools have already approached Jump partners requesting large quantities of Jump modems – one Auckland school has asked for 300. Clearly current Jump partners do not carry sufficient modem stocks to satisfy this demand.

The Spark Foundation and Ministry of Education are discussing a contingency plan for supporting the estimated 50,000 households that currently do not have a broadband internet connection.  A roll-out on this scale will place a large strain on all types of resources, so strategies are being implemented to ensure a pragmatic, well-managed and targeted approach is taken.

We’ve been advised by the Spark Foundation that the MOE will liaise directly with schools on this matter and that schools will hear from them in due course.  However, in the meantime, please remind schools that families who want to be pro-active and start preparing for the possibility of their children’s school(s) closing,  are more than welcome to contact their nearest Jump provider and make an appointment to sign-up for a connection.

It would be helpful if you could let us know if any schools contact you about this – could you ask the school for an estimate of how many households could be affected and a contact name, phone and email at the school and send this to us at jump@diaa.nz.  We can then make sure these schools are informed directly when the Ministry’s contingency plan is decided.

Jump modems to be powered up from homes (not at the setup location)

From 25 March 2020, JUMP modems should not be powered up until customers get back to their homes.  This is a change to our current operating procedures, where we have encouraged families to power up their modems as part of the set up process, partly to test that the modem has been activated correctly but also to make sure that families understand how to WiFi connect their digital devices to the modem, using the WiFi key (also referred to as the WiFi password).

The reason for this change is that when the modem connects to the Skinny internet service for the first time, it ‘geo-locks’ to the nearest cellphone tower.  If the Jump user’s home is located in a different cellphone tower coverage area, it appears in Skinny’s management system as a breach of the service terms and conditions, i.e. the modem is not to be moved between addresses without notifying Skinny.

We suggest that each partner hold a demonstration modem (which does not have to be linked to an account) and this can be powered up during the setup process to explain the different indicator lights as well as the process for linking digital devices using the WiFi key.

If families require any further support when they get home, they should contact the Skinny Helpdesk (0800 475 4669).

JUMP Speed Test Vouchers to stop on 25 March

As from 26 March 2020, we will no longer be issuing a complimentary Skinny voucher when families complete a speed test and send us the results.  Partners should continue to encourage JUMP families to complete a speed test when they get home, just to confirm that the connection is working, but we will no longer require them to send us the results.

This was introduced as an incentive to get families to complete an online survey and to provide confirmation that they had successfully linked to the internet from their home.  With the expanded eligibility criteria, to be introduced on 25 March, we are trying to streamline the connection process to allow even more people to benefit from JUMP.

February 2020 Update on JUMP Modem Returns

The Spark team is planning a less-confusing approach for handling modem returns, whether these are faulty modems or modems that are returned to delivery partners because they are no longer required.  From 1 April 2020, some new processes will be implemented, including the handling of returned modems.  In the meantime our advice is:

  1. Any faulty or returned modem is set aside; we recommend you use one of boxes that the modems arrive in as a “modems return” box.
  2. When you have 5 or 6 modems awaiting return please contact Shelley (0800 463 422 or email sparkjump@diaa.nz).
  3. Shelley will send you a Post Haste courier sticker and address label for Sims Recycling.
  4. Alternatively, you are welcome to courier the returned modems directly to:
Sims E-cycling (NZ) Ltd
69 Aintree Avenue
Mangere
AUCKLAND 2022
Phone 09 275 1501
Attention: Robert Herbert

5. The only exception is when you strike a problem setting up the modem; in this instance you should call Skinny (0800 475 4669) for advice.  They may be able to re-set immediately, so that you can continue with the set up.

The original approach  with returned modems was to try and reset them remotely so that they could be re-issued to a new customer.  This has proved to be administratively too difficult and the costs of repair (including courier costs and staff time) have quickly exceeded the value of a replacement modem. The JUMP modems currently being supplied are refurbished ones, so they are already on a second life.  Spark is therefore recommending the above approach as a more efficient process for everyone involved, including delivery partners.