What an incredible achievement for Jump connections over the last four weeks! With your support, we have together processed 2871 applications since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown on 25 March. 2545 of these have come through our home delivery self-service model and 326 have been delivered directly by 48 partners, using a range of innovative contact-less delivery methods. We applaud all 169 Jump partners who are accepting inquiries from their communities and assisting applicants complete the online application form. We know that these people often call you back when they receive their modems to get over-the-phone help in setting them up. We appreciate it if can provide this help but do encourage people to contact the Skinny Helpdesk on 0800 475 4669 if there are issues you can’t easily deal with. This is especially important if it looks like the modem might be faulty, as the Skinny Helpdesk must log this, de-link the modem from the user’s Skinny account and send us (DIAA) a request to issue a replacement modem.
So, well done in helping nearly 3000 new households connect to internet in just one month. Before COVID, we celebrated a successful month when we signed up 300 families in a month. So while most of the world has been shut for the last four weeks, you have demonstrated that not only are you open for business, but that you responded to the shut-down challenge by expanding Jump deliveries ten-fold. Thank you! And of course a special thank-you to the team at the Spark Foundation and Skinny who have made this possible with such a fantastic internet connectivity product.
A quick look at the summary statistics about the people who have benefited from a Jump connection over the last month clearly demonstrates that we are supporting the groups who have been identified as being among the most digitally excluded:
A Jump customer recently asked if she needed a phone jack to use Jump. The answer is no!
Jump is a wireless service that uses the Spark 4G mobile network. Each modem has a unique Sim card, similar to mobile phones, and this manages the connectivity to the Spark network. However, unlike a mobile phone, a Jump modem must be connected to a 230V power supply. But no other wires are needed. The Sim card does the rest.
And this is a good time to remind everyone of the difference between the two wireless connections used with Jump.
- The first is the wireless connection between a digital device, (smartphone, tablet, computer) and the Jump modem. This is the WiFi connection and part of the setup process explains how to connect to the modem’s WiFi (or ask anyone under 40 – this is usually the first question they ask when visiting your home “What’s your WiFi password?”)
- The other is the wireless connection from the modem to the internet; as noted above this uses the same 4G network as mobile phones.
It is these wireless connections that make Jump such a great service, without having to wait for a technician to install new cables.
Some people are submitting more than one Application for a home-delivery Skinny Jump modem and this can result in more than one modem being sent. Sometimes, it appears that when people received a copy of their application, they discover an error in the address or other details they have submitted, and so they submit another application to correct the error. We have added a note to the message that applicants receive with the copy of their form to request that they do not resubmit their application to correct an error, but instead email or phone us (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 463 422) and we can correct the database before we courier the modem.
Others seem to re-submit their applications after a few days – maybe because they haven’t received their modem. We have also added a note to recipients to explain that it will take 3-5 working days for the modem to arrive. If they want to find out more details, we can supply a courier tracking number for them to monitor themselves (phone Shelley on 0800 463 422 to get the tracking number). We are aware that courier deliveries can sometimes get stuck at local courier depots, especially where they have attempted delivery and have been unable to locate anyone.
If any inquiries come to you, as a Jump partner, about the apparent non-delivery of a modem, please encourage recipients to take the above action (or you can do this on their behalf). Please strongly discourage them from submitting another application as this only makes extra work in recovering the duplicate.
We have an active monitor in our database for detecting duplicates, but this is not 100% reliable, and at times a duplicate has been sent. We then have to make efforts to contact the recipient to recover the duplicate; our standing instruction is for the recipient to hold the duplicate and return it to their nearest local Jump partner after the COVID-19 lockdown ends. Partners should then add this to their stock – we would appreciate notification when this happens (to email@example.com) – name of recipient and IMEI number – so that we can update our records. As a last resort we could send a prepaid courier bag for the return of the modem if for any reason the recipient is unable to return it to a Jump partner.
If a user suspects they have a faulty modem, they must contact the Skinny Helpdesk on 0800 475 4669 in the first instance. The Helpdesk team will do their best to resolve the problem remotely, but they may conclude that the modem is faulty and ask the user to obtain a replacement from their local Jump partner. Whenever a modem is deemed to be faulty, the Helpdesk will automatically de-link the faulty modem from the user’s account, so that when they sign up with a new modem, they can use the same email address. (Note that this is what should happen but sometimes a new Skinny team member overlooks doing this. So users should be advised to contact the Skinny Helpdesk when setting up the new modem if they find they can’t use their existing email address.)
Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown this involved the user taking the faulty modem to their local Jump partner and getting a new one. During the lockdown, DIAA is managing this process nationally. When we are advised of the need for a replacement modem, either through the Skinny Faulty Modem register or by email from a partner (send to: firstname.lastname@example.org), or by phone (0800 463 422), we will courier a replacement modem with the following note:
Note that we are asking users to return the faulty modem to partners. Please add this to your faulty modem box and when you have five or more, we will send you a courier sticker and address label for Sims Recycling.
Note: this does not apply to modems issued to students under the MoE programme. These modems are to be returned to DIAA for repair and refurbishment
The big news of the week came on Wednesday 8 April, with the Minister of Education, the Hon Chris Hipkins, announcing an $87.7 million plan to roll out learning from home. This will involve a combination of online, television and physical learning resources. The part that mostly affects Jump partners is the provision of internet services for households that currently do not have an internet connection. The Ministry is collaborating with all telecommunications and internet service providers to make this happen as quickly as possible, with priority being given to households with senior secondary students working towards NCEA.
Spark is contributing to this by accelerating the deployment of Jump modems, the first of which were distributed on 9 April. These are being supplied direct from the warehouse of Spark’s hardware partner, Ingram Micro. DIAA will be assisting at the national level with faulty modem returns, but we are not expecting to involve delivery partners in handing the returns or in supplying replacements.
The process for reporting faulty modems will be the same – all Jump users must contact the Skinny Helpdesk if they suspect a faulty modem; the Skinny team will attempt to resolve the problem remotely, but if they are unable to do this, they will log the modem details in an online fault register that is shared with DIAA. We will supply a replacement modem and either:
(1) a courier bag for the return of the modem to us (mainly for units supplied as part of the school programme); or
(2) instructions to hold the faulty modem until after the lockdown, when it should be returned to their nearest Jump partner (see below).
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.
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.
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.