Some time ago, we asked partners to hold back on actively promoting Jump to the new eligible communities, announced on 25 March 2020. As this announcement coincided with New Zealand moving to Level 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown, we were uncertain what impact the lockdown would have and how well our support systems, including modem delivery and the Helpdesk support, would cope. There were also discussions going on between the Ministry of Education and internet service providers about the best way to respond to the temporary shutdown of schools.
Time has now moved on and the Ministry has announced the support it is providing for school students. The demand for new Jump connections has settled to around 100 per day and our systems and processes (DIAA and Skinny Helpdesk) are performing well, despite the extra challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown.
So we are happy for partners to now promote Jump to eligible people in their communities. If you have interest from local media, you may wish to share some of the high level statistics mentioned in my earlier post.
I am sure Alistair Fraser, our Stepping Up/ Jump Ambassador in Whanganui, would be happy for me to share the media release he prepared for local community media. You might also want to refer to Spark’s media release here.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then make sure these schools are informed directly when the Ministry’s contingency plan is decided.
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).
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.
The Spark team is planning a less-confusing approach for handling B315 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:
- 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.
- When you have 5 or 6 modems awaiting return please contact Shelley (0800 463 422 or email email@example.com) and list the IMEI numbers of the modems you are holding awaiting recycling.
- Shelley will send you a Post Haste courier sticker and address label for Sims Recycling.
- Alternatively, you are welcome to courier the returned modems directly to:
Sims E-cycling (NZ) Ltd
69 Aintree Avenue
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.
Some partners have been asking about our Christmas/ New Year hours for modem deliveries. Our last courier shipment for the year will be on Monday 23 December and we will resume operations on 6 January. We are currently reviewing the current level of activity for each partner compared to modem stocks (as indicated in cell F4 of your Google register) and our goal is to make sure you have enough to bridge this two-week period. So even if you haven’t reached the re-supply trigger number (cell G2), you might receive an extra box, just in case.
We have received feedback from some JUMP delivery partners that they are holding too many modems, while others feel they are not holding enough. Our general rule has been to re-supply when your stocks drop below 5, but for high turnover sites the trigger is set at 10. We now have the capability to set a re-stocking number for each partner, so please do let us know if you have a preference (E: firstname.lastname@example.org). Your stock level is recorded in cell F4 of your JUMP register. This is based on a calculation of the number of modems supplied, less the number issued (counted by ‘Firstname’ in column B), less the number of returned faulty modems (counted by the dates in column X).
This number can overstate your stock level if you do not record at least the family’s firstname in column B and if for any reason we do not receive the Kawa of Care. So please keep an eye on cell F4 to make sure it matches the number of modems you are actually holding.
The team at Linwood Library topped the JUMP leader board in November with 21 sign-ups. This is the third time this year that Linwood has topped the board – 30 in August and 32 in October. Near the top were New Plymouth Libraries (20), Kaitaia Library (15), Whanganui District Libraries (15) as well as Glen Innes Library (13), but as the efforts of these JUMP partners have already been recognised this year, the Spark Foundation morning tea for November goes to RaWiri Residents Association (13). The Association provides community services and facilities from the Rata Vine Community House that are beneficial for the residents of Rata Vine, Wiri and the wider community. Nearly 100 families have benefited from a JUMP connection as a result of the efforts of Liz and the team at RaWiri Residents Association. Well done!
New processes for JUMP modems that are returned to a JUMP delivery partner (libraries and community organisations) are starting to work, so I thought it might be timely to issue a general update.
- Families with a faulty modem should be encouraged to contact the Skinny Helpdesk (0800 475 4669) in the first instance. The Helpdesk staff will make every effort to solve the problem remotely, but if this is not possible they will either send a replacement modem directly to the family or instruct families to get a replacement modem from the delivery partner.
- Families returning a faulty modem to a delivery partner should be allocated a new one and the SIM card in the new modem replaced with the SIM card from the faulty modem. Partners should keep the SIM card from the new modem in a safe place; it might be useful in the future as a replacement for an expired SIM (one that hasn’t been topped up for more than 12 months after it has been activated).
- Families returning a modem that is no longer required should also be encouraged to contact Skinny before returning the modem, so that the service can be disconnected (or partners can do this on behalf of JUMP families).
- If the returned modem is in good condition and all components are returned (box, power supply, ethernet cable), contact the Skinny Helpdesk to reset the modem (by de-linking from the previous family’s account and loading a new $10 package). The modem is then available for reissue.
- All faulty modems, as well as returned modems unsuitable for re-issue, should be placed in a “JUMP recycle” box ( we suggest you set aside one of the boxes that the modems arrive in and label this as “JUMP recycle” to avoid the modem being re-issued by mistake). When the box is full, courier to:
Sims E-Recycle, 69 Aintree Avenue, Mangere, Auckland 2022. Attention: Robert Herbert PH: (09) 275 1501
IMPORTANT: Please make sure the box is clearly labelled on the outside as: “JUMP MODEMS FOR RECYCLING”
6. Mark up the family record in your JUMP Google sheet with the words “RECYCLE” in column H and enter the family’s name (columns B and C) and Date of Issue (column E) against the new IMEI number. We’ll do the rest. For families receiving a replacement modem, there is no need for them to complete a new Kawa of Care, provided partners update the yellow shaded columns (B, C and E).