Modem returns from Customers who are not in JUMP coverage

I have been advised this week by partners of two instances where customers are seeking replacement modems but their addresses now fail the Skinny Jump address coverage check.

My advice in both instances has been to provide a replacement modem.

Jump coverage and tower capacity is something that is changing all the time and while we are not permitted to connect new customers at addresses that fail the coverage check, we must give priority to existing customers in replacing faulty modems.

One partner raised a concern that the customer involved could have changed addresses since they were originally connected two years ago. We (DIAA) do not hold records of customer addresses in situations where modems have been issued by partners, so we have no way of checking. The other situation involved the transfer of a modem within the family at the same address.

Our recommended approach is to remind customers that they must always check with the Skinny Care Team (0800 475 4669) before relocating their modems to a new address, but if customers advise that they are at the same address as the one they used when originally connecting to Skinny Jump, then we have to take that at face value and provide whatever assistance we can to keep their connections active.

Customers should be advised that in areas that have reached capacity, the performance of their connections might not meet the standard expected of a broadband service and if they were unhappy with the performance of the replacement modem, they should return it (with packaging) and seek an alternative service.

New process for faulty Jump modems to start on 15 August 2022

We reached agreement with the Skinny Jump team today to proceed in implementing a new process for handling faulty modem replacements. This is an attempt to address the continuing shortage of modems and the re-supply waiting time that has now stretched to 6 weeks.

It has also been prompted by the difficult situation that partners are facing when the Skinny Care Team (Helpdesk) refer a customer to you for a replacement modem, but you are unable to help because your Jump modem cupboard is bare.

What is changing from 15 August is that all replacement modems for faulty units will be supplied from our DIAA Wellington office.

We hold a small stock of modems for customers who are unable to travel to a local Jump partner or when local partners are closed. Now that most partners are open again after the Covid restrictions, our priority will be to support existing customers who need replacement modems.

Jump customers must continue to contact the Skinny Care Team first (0800 475 4669) whenever they are having trouble with their Jump internet connection. This is not changing.

If the Care Team diagnose the problem as a modem fault, and the customer advises that they wish to continue with the Jump service, the Care Team will complete a Modem Return Form with the customer’s contact details (address, email and phone) as well as details of the faulty modem (IMEI and broadband numbers) and a brief description of the fault.

This will the ensure that: (a) the faulty modem is delinked from the customer’s account, so that customers can use the same emails to set up replacement modems and transfer any credit balances, and (b) replacement modems are couriered to customers along with a pre-paid bag to recover faulty modems for repair or recycling.

What this means (at least in theory) is that partners should never have to issue replacements for faulty modems. Customers who do not require a replacement will continue to be encouraged to return their modems to a nearby partner, where partners will be responsible for completing a Modem Return form, as you currently do.

We know that some customers will just turn up with faulty modems, seeking a replacement. If partners have supplies of modems, you are welcome to provide the replacement, noting details on the Modem Return Form. But clearly if you don’t have any stock, your only option is to refer customers to the new process outlined above.

Resetting Jump Smart Modems

As part of the fault assessment process, The Skinny Care Team may ask a customer to do a ‘factory reset’ of their Jump modem. This involves using a SIM eject tool or a paperclip to push in the Reset button (located just below the two small black buttons on the back of the modem). The Reset button must be held down for up to 10 seconds, while all the lights on the front of the modem turn themselves off. When the Reset button is released, the lights will progressively turn back on.

This process is what is termed a ‘factory reset’, when all the settings are returned to their original state. If the Wi-Fi password or Username have been changed, they will revert to the default password and username printed on the modem.

If none of the lights come back on make sure the modem is plugged into mains power and the power on/off button (also on the rear of the modem) is “on”, i.e. pushed into the ‘in’ position. If the green power light on the front of the modem doesn’t come on, this would suggest a problem with the power supply.

Updated Modem Return Form to replace old forms on 20 April 2022

An updated Modem Return form is being introduced from the start of business tomorrow (Wednesday 20 April). This replaces the three previous forms used by delivery partners for modem returns, i.e.

(1) Skinny Jump Account Delinking & Modem Reprovisioning – Delivery Sites & Care Use Only – originally developed for modems that were returned mainly because they were no longer required and could be remotely de-linked from customers’ accounts and rest, ready for re-issue.

(2) Faulty Jump Modem returns – originally developed for modems that had been remotely tested by Skinny and customers were advised that the unit was faulty and should be returned to a nearby Jump partner. We have recently consolidated this form with the standard Delinking Form above.

(3) MOE Modem Activation and Returns – originally developed for modems issued by the Ministry of Education.

The new consolidated form is to be used by Jump Delivery Partners when they receive any Jump modem returned by a customer or if they require a particular Jump modem to be re-provisioned for any other reason. The Skinny Care Team may also use this form when a customer reports they have a modem but there is no coverage or capacity at their address.

The purpose of this new consolidated form is:
(1) to make it easy for Delivery Partners to get a modem de-linked from a customer account and then reset in a timely manner, so that it can be re-issued. This form provides a direct communication channel to the Skinny Support Team who are responsible for delinking any Skinny Jump accounts and resetting modems. Jump Delivery Partners should never call the Skinny Care Team on the customer 0800 number, as this Helpdesk team is not able to delink accounts or reset modems.

(2) to recognise modems issued as part of a special Jump Plan – MOE, CIENA or RED CROSS – and ensure these are recovered or correctly re-provisioned.

(3) to record customer details for the collection of unwanted modems or at locations where there is no network coverage or capacity.

The information provided in this form authorises the Skinny Support Team to delink an account and reset the modem. Faulty or defaced modems that are not suitable for re-issue are to be marked as “faulty” in the form and this triggers a response from the Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) team to send a courier bag to recover the modem for repair or recycling.

Once the modem is reset, an advice note is sent to the Delivery Partner at the partner email entered at the end of the form.

WANTED: Modem Recovery ideas

We are looking for a Jump delivery partner to join a small working group to brainstorm and test some ideas for recovering unused Jump modems.

Our original Jump distribution model was based on library systems that lend books (and other things) for limited periods. Our proposal was for Jump customers to keep their modems for as long as they like, but return them to their nearest delivery partner if they become faulty or if they are no longer required. The modems could then be repaired or simply reset and reissued to another customer.

This has been fairly successful with over 1500 modems being returned for repair or reuse during the last 15 months.

However, our records indicate that many customers do not bother to return the modem when they no longer need it and we are looking for new ways to encourage this.

While we are seeking someone who is currently actively involved in handling recovered Jump modems and who is able to participate in the working group during April, we welcome ideas and suggestions from all partners.

Faulty Jump modems during lockdown

During lockdown, we are couriering replacement modems from our Wellington base together with a courier bag for the return of the faulty unit.

The process works like this: the Jump customer contacts the Skinny Care Team on 0800 475 4669 if they have a suspected problem with their modem. The Care Team may be able resolve this remotely, but if they can’t they will refer the customer to our (DIAA) 0800 number (0800 463 422) for Shelley to arrange a replacement.

Shelley takes on the role that Jump partners would normally provide, getting details of the modem (IMEI Number), customer’s name and physical address. She then completes the online Modem Return form to ensure the old modem is delinked from the customer’s account and arranges for a new modem to be sent.

By the time the modem arrives (typically within 2-3 working days), the Skinny Support Team will have actioned the de-linking request and the customer can proceed to set up a new account.

If the customer has a credit balance on their old account, they must contact the Skinny Care team again, after they have their new modem and new Skinny account set up, to arrange for the credit balance to be transferred.

If a customer contacts you, as a Jump partner, directly rather than contacting the Skinny Care Team you are welcome to follow the same steps as
Shelley, i.e. capture the contact details for the customer and the IMEI number of the faulty modem, email these to jump@diaa.nz, and complete a Modem Return Form.

And yet another update on Jump modem provisioning

Hopefully, this time it’s good news! This morning, the Spark Foundation team advised that all pipeline modems (i.e. ones you have received from Ingram Micro during the last few weeks) have now been checked and provisioned for Jump. There are only 12 modems that have been issued to customers that have not been correctly provisioned; the Skinny team is contacting these customers individually to sort this out.

If any partners do receive a returned modem (they will only be B618s) that has been issued during the last few weeks and is causing problems for customers, please use the Returned Modems form to get it reset and provisioned correctly.

Please contact us immediately on jump@diaa.nz if you discover any further modems that have not been provisioned for Jump. Please provide the IMEI number of the modem concerned. Thank you.

Reuse, repair and recycle

It is clear from an analysis of the ‘faulty modem’ and ‘returned modem’ forms that there are different interpretations of these terms, so here’s my attempt to explain this more clearly.

REUSE: When a modem is returned by a customer, our first objective is to get the modem reset remotely so that it can be reused. So provided the modem:

(1) has not been reported as faulty; or

(2) is not physically defaced or damaged; and

(3) has all its bits (modem, power supply and ethernet cable)

this should be treated as a Modem Return. By completing the Modem Return form, the modem will be reset remotely and become available for re-issue (reuse). You will receive an email confirmation when the modem is reasdy for re-issue, or with other instructions from the Skinny Support Team. This normally happens the same day.

REPAIR: This is what we want to happen when a modem is faulty, and the Skinny Care Team has advised the customer to return the modem to a Jump partner and get a replacement. In this case, Partners should complete a Faulty Jump Modem Returns Form. Our objective is to send the faulty modem for repair; completing the form will result in a courier bag or label being sent to Jump partners for the return of the modem (as an aside, we know some of you have been waiting for some time for the courier bag/label to arrive; we aim to clear the backlog within the next week).

RECYCLE: This is perhaps where most of the misunderstandings are occurring. We are using the term ‘recycle’ to mean that the modems will be disassembled and the various materials separated and then sent for the manufacture of new products. ‘Recycle’ should not be confused with ‘Reuse’. Very old modems or ones that have been physically damaged or defaced, or ones that have parts missing are most likely to be assigned to your recycle box. When you have 5 or 6 modems ready for recycling, get in touch with Shelley (shelley@diaa.nz or phone 0800 463 422) and she will send you a courier label for the Jump recycler.

Now that is hopefully a bit clearer, a huge thank you to the partners who are following the new modem return processes. Since 5 January 2021, 250 modem return forms have been completed – that’s over $30,000 worth of modems that are able to stay in use. We have also received just under 100 Faulty Modem forms; we have assessed 68% of these as ‘faulty’. The other 32% are either suitable for reuse (and the Return Modem form should have been used) or should be assigned to the recycling box.

Update on Jump modem provisioning issue

We were advised today that the issue concerning modems received by partners in the last week not being provisioned for Jump has been resolved. As we suspected, a mistake had been made by Ingram Micro and modems were distributed without being provisioned for Jump.

The problem has not only been fixed for future shipments but all modems shipped without being provisioned for Jump have now been updated remotely.

However, the Spark Foundation has asked us to contact customers who received a B618 modem from an Ingram direct shipment on 15 and 16 March to make sure they can see the Jump dashboard with the initial 30GB of data. We will refer details of anyone who can not see the Jump dashboard (as opposed to the Skinny one) back to the Foundation for them to manually load the initial 30GB.

If you have modems returned because of this issue,please use the modem returns process to get them delinked and reset.

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.