Jump modem returns – to re-issue or recycle?

Sally Ann Hardwick from Helensville Library raised an interesting point this morning and this made me realise that others might also be confused. Sally had read by blog posts from earlier this week (made my day to know that someone reads them!) and she was following my specific instructions by requesting a Sims courier label to return modems for recycling that had been returned prior to 5 January 2021 (the new procedures date for ‘modem returns’).

However, when I discovered that the returned modem had only been issued on 30 November 2020, I thought this should be managed under our new ‘de-link and reset’ procedures rather than sent for recycling.

So, I think there is a need to revise my instructions to provide more flexibility:

(1) Any returned modems that you are holding (whether they were returned before or after 5 January) and look to be in an OK condition – with packaging, power supply and ethernet cable – should be treated as potentially available for re-issue. You should use the Modems Return form to get the modem de-linked and reset, ready for re-issue.

(2) Any returned modems that are dirty, defaced or have missing parts should be treated as faulty, and you should use the Faulty Modems form.

Modem returns: a new year and a new Google form – just what you are waiting for!

You might think that Google rules our lives and you might not be that wrong. Certainly for us at DIAA, we simply couldn’t manage programmes like Skinny Jump without Google forms and Google Sheets.

And so, let me introduce you to a new Google Form – MOE Modem Activations and Returns. This is to be used by public Stepping UP partners whenever a customer returns a modem that was supplied by the Ministry of Education (MoE) during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns. When schools were required to close as part of our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education made a herculean effort to ensure that students were able to continue their learning from their homes. This involved providing internet connections to households with students, where there were no existing connections. Families were offered a fully subsidised connection for 6 months, which was subsequently extended until the end of February 2021.

Some families received modems that they didn’t need, while others never got around to activating their modems. As the subsidised period comes to an end, the Ministry expects that some families may not wish to retain their internet connection and are seeking assistance from our Stepping UP partner network to recover unwanted modems. We know that some partners have already been receiving these modems.

Families are being encouraged by the Ministry of Education to return any unwanted modems to a nearby Stepping UP partner and we (DIAA) will provide prepaid courier labels for these to be returned to us.

For families who have not yet activated their modems, they can still do this until 31 January 2021 and receive a 6-month subsidy, but time is running out on this option. If you receive any requests for assistance to activate modems supplied by the Ministry of Education, you can help by directing families to the relevant ISP – see list below. Of course if you are a Skinny Jump partner and a family needs help activate their Jump modem, you can use the same procedures as for any other Jump connection.

Ministry of Education – subsidised internet connection providers and modem types:

  1. Vocus (Slingshot) 0800 892 843: Netcom device (NF18s), TPL link modem
  2. MediaTribe (Bryte) 0800 890 105: D Link modem
  3. Spark (fixed line) 0800 733 033: Akadian or Huawei Smart Modem
  4. Spark (Skinny) 0800 475 4669: Huawei B618
  5. Vodafone (Farmside) 0800 852 850: Huawei B525
  6. 2Degrees 0800 544 889: ADM Fritz Box or Huawei B535
  7. Fusion Networks 0800 368 324: TP Link Archer VR300
  8. Compass 0800 640 840: D-Link DIR 853 Gigabit or Netcom NF10WV
  9. Ash Net 0800 274 638: TP Link – Archer C20

So that makes three new Google Forms for 2021:

  1. Jump Modem Returns Form – to be used whenever a Jump modem is returned or when you have trouble setting up a new Jump modem for a customer. This form is used to de-link the modem from the customer’s Skinny account and reset the modem, ready for re-issue.
  2. Faulty Jump Modem Returns – to be used when a customer returns a faulty modem and if required, is issued with a replacement modem.
  3. MOE Modem Activations and Returns – to be used when any modem issued as part of the MOE Covid-19 connection programme is activated or returned.

New process for faulty Jump modems implemented yesterday (5 January 2021)

Thank you to Jo Cocker from Te Manawa Library in Massey Auckland, who was the first to discover a glitch with the new faulty modem process that took effect yesterday. The tiny URL for the Faulty Modem form was linking to an old version of the form; needless to say, this has been fixed. But we do appreciate this sort of feedback. As one of our famous Wellington retailers (LV Martin) used to say “It’s the putting right that counts!”.

So, to summarise the new process:

  1. Customers must contact the Skinny Helpdesk Care Team (0800 475 4669) if they suspect their modem is faulty; the Care Team will attempt to resolve the fault remotely, but if they can’t, they will advise the customer to return their faulty modem to a nearby Jump partner and pick up a replacement. The Care team will also initiate an internal Skinny process to de-link the faulty modem from the customer’s account (this means that by the time the customer arrives at a Jump partner to get a replacement modem, the modem will already be de-linked and the customer can use their same email to set up a new Skinny account with the new modem).
  2. For customers who for any reason are unable to visit a Jump partner, e.g. rural location, disability or otherwise house-bound, the Skinny Care Team will log the fault report with DIAA and we will send a return courier bag and replacement modem to them.
  3. When customers turn up with their faulty modem, Jump partners must complete the Faulty Jump Modem Returns form. There is also a link to this form on the Stepping UP website in the drop down Jump menu.
  4. Customers must use the same email address to set up a new Skinny account and they will then be able to transfer any unused credit balance on their old account to their new account. Note that customers can only use the same email address after the faulty modem has been de-linked, which is why this process is now automatically initiated by the Skinny Care Team when the fault is first reported.
  5. There should be no need for partners to email the Skinny Support Team (support-team@skinny.co.nz) to make a request for modem de-linking.
  6. All faulty Jump modems (B315s and B618s) are now to be returned to Telegistics, where efforts will be made to repair them; those that cannot be repaired will be sent to Sims for recycling.
  7. When DIAA receives a completed Faulty Jump Modem Returns form, we will send a pre-addressed courier label to the Jump Partner for sending the modem to Telegistics. Our goal is to send Telegistics courier labels at least weekly, so if you have more than one faulty return in any week, you can box them and send them together (the courier costs of sending 5 or 6 in a box is less than sending a single modem in a satchel).
  8. If partners are holding any B315s for recycling, that you received before 5 January 2021, these can still be sent to Sims for recycling. Please contact us on jump@diaa.nz and we will send you a Sims label.

Any questions or clarifications about the new process, please contact us at jump@diaa.nz

New processes for faulty and returned Jump modems starts today (5 January 2021)

Hopefully, some partners are already aware of the new processes that started today for faulty and returned Jump modems. Anna Paterson from Rangiora Library has been first to try out the new processes. Today, she assisted a customer set up their Skinny account, activate the modem and complete the Jump profile form – but Anna was then taken by surprise when the customer announced they had changed their mind and didn’t want the modem after all!

I suspect that Anna is not the first Jump partner to encounter customers who change their mind. But rather than consign the modem to the recycling bin, like we have been doing for the last 12 months, Anna was able to log the modem as a “returned modem” using the form here.

This form raises an alert with the Skinny Support team (not to be confused with the Skinny Care Team, who handle calls to the Skinny 0800 number). A Support Team member will de-link the modem from the customer’s account and reset it, ready for reissue, i.e. ensure that the initial 30GB data is available for a new user. When this has been actioned, Anna will receive an email from the Support team, advising her that the modem is now ready for reissue.

As this is only day one of our new processes, we are not exactly sure how long it will take for Anna to receive this email – she is going to let me know (and I will update this blog post accordingly). But we understand it should be ‘pretty quick’, like the same or next day.

6 January UPDATE: Anna has just advised me that she received confirmation from Skinny of the de-linking within 24 hours, so that’s pretty good.

In the meantime, we (DIAA) will add a comment to Column H in the partner’s GDoc Jump Register for the modem in question and mark Column B as ‘pending reset’. This has the short-term effect of reducing your stock levels by one. When we receive advice that the modem has been reset, we will remove these notes and the modem is added back as available stock, ready for reissue.

Seniors coming your way to sign up for Jump!

The December edition of the SuperSeniors Newsletter published yesterday has generated a tsunami of interest in Skinny Jump from Seniors throughout New Zealand. Today, our Jump partners have been reporting a spike in interest from seniors in signing up for Jump.

A record number of 57 people signed up for Jump through our partner network today and 30 of these identified as seniors. We welcome this support from The Office for Seniors in helping older New Zealanders discover Jump.

The article in the SuperSeniors Newsletter reads as follows:

For a lot of people cost is a major barrier to having internet access. Skinny is helping more kiwi homes access the digital world through their Skinny Jump low-cost prepaid broadband service.

Skinny Jump specifically focuses on providing service to groups that the Government has identified as being most at risk of digital exclusion, which includes seniors.

Skinny Jump is flexible prepaid broadband: Only $5 for 30GB of data, no contracts or credit checks, and the modem comes free of charge. Just top up as you go. You can get up to a maximum of 150GB every month (and it will only cost you $25).

Skinny Jump is a not-for-profit service and they don’t use your information to promote or sell other products either.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, or you know someone in this position, you can find out the areas where Skinny Jump is available through the Skinny Jump website

You can only sign up for Skinny Jump through one of their local partners that includes public libraries and other community organisations. You can find out about how to contact your local partner and make an appointment to sign up through the Skinny Jump website

Another barrier to using the internet is learning how to use technology. Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) is one of Skinny’s partners for delivering Skinny Jump and is also one of the Office for Seniors funded providers for delivering digital literacy training for seniors. Their Better Digital Futures programme supports seniors to learn new skills and build confidence with computers and the internet. If you are interested in learning more or know someone you think could benefit from this training, go to their website www.steppingup.nz

A Jump data boost for Summer

To celebrate the end of what has been a difficult year for us all, the Spark Foundation is giving all Jump customers 15GB of free bonus data each month over Summer. This will automatically be applied to customers’ accounts on the first day of each month, commencing on 1 December (today!). This data will not roll over.

So even if your Jump customers have let their accounts lapse, maybe because they had forgotten how to top up or because there are simply too many competing demands on their funds at this time of year, their internet connections will have sprung into life again today. How good is that!

The last 15GB of bonus data will be applied on 1 March 2021. When customers use up their bonus data each month, they can continue to top up their accounts in the normal way.

Jump modem stocktake

Our records indicate that over 1900 modems are being held by 187 Jump delivery partners. We suspect the true number is somewhat less than this, because we are still finding partners who run out of modems without triggering the automatic re-supply process. This can only happen if modems are issued without Profile Forms being completed.

Spark has asked us to review current stock levels so that we can identify any that were issued more than 2 months ago and have not yet been issued. We are considering arranging for modems in this situation to be transferred to a more active partner.

The reason for this is that Spark’s supplies of B315 Huawei modems are now exhausted and from this week, we will be starting to supply B618 modems. But it is important that partners do not issue any B618s until all local stocks of B315’s are exhausted.

During the next four weeks (Monday 23 November to Friday 18 December) we are asking all partners to do a stocktake of modems being held. This involves advising us the IMEI numbers of modems you are holding in stock, awaiting allocation. You may send your stock count at any time during this 4-week period to jump@diaa.nz. Please make sure you tell us the location where the modems are being held. We will reconcile this with our Google records and update accordingly. This will put us in a good position for the start of 2021.

More changes are on the way for Skinny Jump in 2021, so watch this space.

You should never run out of Jump modems but if you do….

We continue to receive requests from partners for more modems and that is fine – remember to use the following email: jump@diaa.nz . But every time we do get a request we ask ourselves why? We have this very efficient system that alerts us when a partner is running low on modems. Each partner has a trigger level that determines when new modems are sent. To make sure you never run out, we set the trigger level to the number of modems that you are typically issuing each week – this means we have a week to get new supplies to you. We know this isn’t perfect and are always happy to receive your individual requests.

The trigger level is set in cell G2 of your Jump register; we remind you what this is every time we ship modems, so do check the next box that arrives. Or if you would like access to your Jump register, please let us know (jump@diaa.nz); this does need to be a gmail address, or an email linked to a gmail address. Many of our partners set up a generic gmail for this purpose that can be used by all staff supporting the Jump programme.

We almost always find though that when we receive an email request it is because some other element of our tracking process is not working. The most common causes are:

Modems have been issued but Jump Profile Forms have not been completed. We totally rely on a form being completed for every modem issued; this allows us to mark up your Jump register, which in turn decreases your stock levels by one. If the form is not completed, we have no way of knowing that the modem has been issued. This generally results in us asking partners to do a stocktake and advise us of the IMEI numbers of the modems they are holding; we can then mark out the others in the Jump register to get things back on track.

There is an unexpected surge in demand for Jump modems. We update the Jump registers every day, but if a partner is holding 6 modems with a trigger level set at 5 and then issues 5 modems in one day, there will be a delay of a few days in getting new supplies. The solution in this case is to increase the trigger level or if partners are able to anticipate the surge, we can help you stock up in advance.

A box of modems has been misplaced. We understand that our partners lead busy lives and often many people are involved in supporting the Jump programme. It is easy for a box to be misplaced – under someone’s desk or in a storeroom. We have records of all modems dispatched, including the courier track and trace details. This includes the name of the person signing for the box of modems when it arrives. We often discover this person is on leave and no-one else knows where the box has been stored. The Jump registers include details of all modem shipments, including the Post Haste tracker code, so it is easy for us or for partners to quickly confirm whether this is a courier issue or a local one.

Modems appear to be faulty during the set up process and are not recorded. It is easy to make mistakes when helping a customer set up their modems and their Skinny accounts and, at times, the most pragmatic thing to do is simply move on to another modem. But is is important to contact the Skinny support team by email (support-team@skinny.co.nz) and make sure the modem is delinked and reset, ready for issue to another customer. If the modem is genuinely faulty and has not been allocated, partners should indicate this by entering ‘faulty’ in column B of the Jump register. This then reduces your stock count by one, as the modem is not available for re-issue. Or if you don’t want to mark up the Register, you can always send us an email with the IMEI number (jump@diaa.nz) and we’ll mark it up for you.

Jump Demo Modems

We encourage all our partners to hold a ‘demo’ modem. This is useful for training new staff as well as explaining to customers what the different lights mean. You can also explain to customers how to connect their digital devices to the modem using WiFi when they get home and power up their Jump modems.

The modems do come with a lot of different codes and numbers on the stickers, so it is good to point out the WiFi Password, which could be on a sticker on the back of the modem or or the bottom. Some customers do get confused by the ‘Admin’ password and try to use this for their WiFi link, so it is good to highlight this during the setup process.

Note WiFi Password is called ‘Password’ on this sticker (not to be confused with ‘Admin’ Password)
Note WiFi Password is called WiFi Key on this sticker

When you power up the Demo modem, it will connect to the Jump network and the clock starts ticking on your initial 30 days 5GB that is pre-loaded. You do not need to top up your account when the initial 30GB expires, but if you wish to use the modem for other purposes, then it is fine to keep topping it up.

Even after the initial 30GB has expired, the Demo modem continues to be useful to explain the various features and the WiFi password.

Are you confused about de-linking Jump modems?

Some partners are still uncertain about the process for de-linking Jump modems.

When does a modem need to be de-linked?

There are three particular situations when a Jump modem needs to be de-linked from a customer’s Skinny account:

(1) A faulty modem is returned to a partner and a replacement modem is issued. Customers should contact the Skinny Helpdesk whenever they have a faulty modem and if the fault cannot be fixed, the Skinny Care Team will ask the customer to return the modem to a nearby partner and get a replacement. At the same time the Skinny Care Team will issue a request to the Skinny Support Team to de-link the modem from the customer’s Skinny account. If the modem is not de-linked, the customer will not be able to use any credit remaining on their Skinny account; they would have to set up a new Skinny account with a different email address and would lose any balance on their old account. This will become obvious to partners when trying to set up the replacement modem. To get the modem de-linked, partners must email the Skinny Support Team on: support-team@skinny.co.nz . Customers must also call the Help desk (Care Team) to get their replacement modem linked to their existing account.

NOTE the difference between the Skinny Care Team and Skinny Support Team. The Care Team is contacted by telephone (0800 475 4669) and the Support Team by email only support-team@skinny.co.nz . The Care Team is not authorised to de-link accounts; all requests for de-linking are handled by the Support Team.

(2) An error is made during the setup process and the modem needs to be re-set before it can be re-issued. Partners should email the Skinny Support Team support-team@skinny.co.nz and ask for the modem to be de-linked and reset.

(3) A modem is returned in good condition by a customer who does not want it anymore. Since February 2020, our advice has been to put all returned modems (faulty or otherwise) in a recycling box. However, some partners have continued with the previous process, which was to contact the Skinny Support Team support-team@skinny.co.nz and ask for the modem to be de-linked from the previous customer’s account and reset for re-issue ($5/30GB preloaded). We expect to return to this process in 2021, so if this is already working for you, keep on trucking!