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.

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.

Modems couriered every weekday during lockdowns

One of our Jump partners asked whether we are able to courier modems during the Level 4 lockdown, or whether we had to wait until we move to a lower level. The answer is a definite YES. We (DIAA) are recognised as an essential service provider during Covid lockdowns, as is anyone supplying Jump modems, and we can all continue to operate. Since the latest Covid-19 lockdown was announced on Tuesday 17 August, we have continued to courier modems ordered through our online ‘self-service’ application form.

One partner has reported a problem using our online form where Google was trying to be helpful and auto-filled the form with her details rather than the customer. If I have this right, this can only happen if you enter your own email address in the form – this field is not intended to be the Jump partner’s email but the email of the customer applying for service. If you do get some unwanted auto-filling, try refreshing your browser to get a blank form.

A copy of the form is then sent to this email (for the customer to verify that the details are correct) as well as to us to arrange for a modem to be sent. The modem will be couriered by mid-day on the next workday and should generally arrive the following day.

Our courier partner (NZ Post) has advised that there could be some delays as a result of the surge in the volumes of courier packages during Covid lockdowns; we found that this was the case in the main centres during the 2020 lockdowns, especially Auckland and Wellington.

Good to go again with Jump modems!

As at 3:45pm today the ‘stop issue’ notice from yesterday has been cancelled. We have been advised by the Jump team that all the modems issued during the last week or so have now been correctly provisioned for Jump. If partners do find any that have not been provisioned, please use the Modem Returns form to get them reset. I will keep an eye on the Modem Return forms and will raise the issue again with the Jump team if I find more than the odd one or two have not been correctly provisioned.

Another update on Jump modem provisioning

We thought this issue had been resolved, but partners are still finding modems shipped over the last week or so that have not been provisioned for Jump. I appreciate that this is incredibly frustrating and I have escalated again to the team in the Spark Foundation.

However, until we can be absolutely sure that things have returned to normal please use the process outlined in my previous blog on this matter, i.e. if you discover a modem that has not been provisioned for Jump, please use the Modems Return form to alert the Skinny Support team. The Support Team will arrange for the modem to be reset and provisioned for Jump. As this is a slightly more complex process than simply delinking and resetting, Skinny has asked that the modem not be reallocated for 2 days.

To summarise:

1) Set-up the online account with the customer. Once it’s set up, go into the Dashboard to check if the plans available are Jump or regular 4G Wireless Broadband.

2)If it’s regular 4G Wireless Broadband (not Jump), use the JUMP Modems Return form:
https://www.tfaforms.com/rest/forms/view/4864829 and in the section “Other”, write “Please provision as Jump modem”. In the ‘Broadband number box’ you may enter the SIM ID number instead. The SIM ID is the 17 digit number, starting with 64052…, printed on the outside of the box. Like the IMEI number, this comes with a barcode, so if you have a scanner, this is areal breeze to enter in the form.

3) This generates a case in Skinny’s queue which they can then escalate to their Operations Team.

4) Wait 2 days before re-issuing the modem.

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.

Ministry of Education letter to families with students on MoE subsidised programme

The Ministry of Education has recently sent a letter to households with school students who received a fully-subsidised Jump service during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns. The letter explains that the offer has been extended for the 2021 school year until December 2021.

Some of these letters have been inadvertently been sent to households who did not require the modem and have already returned it as part of a recovery programme that we have assisted the Ministry with. Please explain to these families that there is nothing they need to do. They will not receive any further letters from the Ministry.

Families who still want to activate their modems are encouraged to contact a nearby Jump partner for assistance. If they bring their modem to you, please support them in the same way that you would for any other new Jump customer (only in this case there is no need to supply a modem).

Families who no longer require the modem are encouraged to return it to a nearby Jump partner; please accept the modem and complete the online MOE Modem Activations & Returns form; we will send you a courier bag to return it to us.