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.

Jump Modems still available during Covid lockdown

With the country returning to a Level 4 lockdown today, all Jump partners will have to suspend the delivery of Jump modems to their communities. However the online ‘self-service’ option remains available. This involves completing an online application form that can be found here. You can also find this form on our Stepping Up website – go to ‘Jump’ in the top menu bar and select ‘Get Jump’; scroll to the bottom of the page and you will find a link to the self-service form.

We hope that most partners will be able to continue supporting their communities by accepting applications by telephone and submitting the application form on behalf of their customers. This worked really well during the Level 4 lockdowns in 2020 and as a result, thousands of households were able to connect to the internet at a time when their physical movements were severely constrained.

We acknowledge this is not as good an option as face-to-face delivery, where you can help your customers set up their Skinny accounts, but it can still be a lifeline for households without the internet.

Are you having problems signing customers up with the Jump app?

Some partners have experienced problems signing up their customers with the Jump app and the Skinny team has asked us to inform them of any issues in case there are things that can be fixed in the back end. With so many varieties of smartphones and operating systems it is impossible for any app to cover all models. Most app developers do try to ensure that their apps are compatible with older models, but there is a limit. I have just tried by old iPhone 5 and when I try to download the Jump app it says: “requires IoS 14.0 or later”. When I google to find out what IoS is on my phone, I discover:

Will my iPhone 5 still work in 2021? No, absolutely not. The phone you’re talking about came out in 2013. Sure, Apple’s known for longevity, but the iPhone 5S is over seven years old! Not only would it run really slow, but the maximum iOS version that can run on it is iOS 12!

So the moral of the story is that if your customers have phones that are over 7 years old, then the Jump app probably won’t work.

But not to be deterred, the Skinny Team has encouraged us to report any problems when attempting to use the Jump app. In order to help, they really need the following details:

Jump app ‘how to’ video now live

The Spark Foundation has prepared a 6 minute video explaining the setup process using the Skinny Jump app. We strongly encourage all partners delivering Jump modems to view this video and have it on hand when you are helping your customers. The video is currently only available in English, but Te Reo Māori and Samoan versions are on their way.

Our survey data indicates that 57% of all Jump sign-ups during the last month were done using the app. We think the app makes things much easier for Jump users, especially when it comes to topping up and buying data, so we are wondering why 43% are not using the app.

Feedback from users indicated that most partners are explaining the app but many are still choosing to still use a computer to complete the signup process. We can understand why this makes sense when you are trying to share a screen with your customers and explain the signup process, but we do encourage you to go through the app sign up as well (assuming of course that your customers have a smartphone). Jump users will not be able to use the app unless they have signed up using the app. The good news is that users can sign up using both a web browser and the app (using the same email address) and this then gives them the choice of both.

Green light on Jump modems

I have just received the green light to say that the troublesome modems that had not been provisioned for Skinny Jump should be alright to issue now. The only problems could be with any modems from the batch that were actually issued. The Skinny team is trying to identify any, but partners may also be aware of these. The problem is that the whole batch was reset and this could cause problems for any modems already in use. This will probably mean they have to start the registration process again.

The Skinny team has asked me to pass on their apologies for this disruption – they are just as keen as we are to try and prevent his happening again.

Can you issue more than one Jump modem to a household?

A message from one of our Jump partners today:

I had a lady come in wanting a Skinny Jump this morning. I asked whether there was broadband at the property and she said no, so I proceeded to check her address with the Skinny Jump address checker. It said it was unavailable and when I explained this she said that she knew coverage was available there because there was already a Jump modem. I asked why she was wanting another Skinny Jump modem if there was already one there and she said that it was for one person and they weren’t going to top up for others. She then asked me to check other addresses – which returned the same ‘no availability’ result, so I wasn’t able to proceed, but she said she would return again. Wasn’t happy she couldn’t get a modem today and was starting to become slightly argumentative. Is it reasonable for there to be more than one Skinny Jump modem at a property? Is this going against the spirit of the programme? Just thought I should get the official party line on this.

Two issues here – ‘no coverage’ and ‘more than one Jump modem at the same address’. These are issues many partners encounter.

(1) Skinny address checker indicates ‘no coverage’ but customers insist it works for their neighbours, or in the case above, at the same address. All partners will soon be receiving a pack of ‘no coverage’ explanatory flyers to give to customers who don’t understand the limitations of wireless connections (and that is pretty much everyone except radio engineers!). We also encourage someone from every Jump partner to attend one of the two special webinars next week (on 2 and 6 August, where this issue is being discussed by the Spark Foundation team. You can register here: https://diaa.arlo.co/w/upcoming/cat-11-partner-webinars/

(2) More than one modem at the same address: while the goal for Skinny Jump is to provide internet connectivity for households that can’t afford a fixed line connection, we do recognise that many houses often have more than one family or people who live quite independently of each other, e.g. a landlord and tenant. There are also many situations where people are living in flats, motels, camping grounds, etc. that share the same physical address. So sharing the same address is not enough to disqualify an applicant. There is no technical reason why two or more modems cannot be located at the same address (although when it gets to seven, as has happened, we do investigate to find out the reason). Partners have the discretion to refuse a customer if you suspect someone is abusing the opportunity, but you can supply more than one modem to the same address if you believe the reasons are genuine.

Jump Provisioning glitch now sorted

A few partners discovered that a recent shipment of Jump modems had not been provisioned for Skinny Jump. They did the right thing and completed the Modem Returns forms – this raised the alarm in Skinny and initiated an investigation with the modem supplier, Ingram Micro. They discovered 200 modems had been shipped without being provisioned for Jump. This has now been fixed, so you can proceed in issuing these modems.

I am aware of at least one modem that might have actually been issued – it didn’t have the 30GB loaded. I have been advised that this modem should also be OK now.

Jump coverage issues – join the webinars

We know that Jump delivery partners don’t like to turn customers away empty handed. But working with a wireless service like Skinny Jump, this regrettably is a fact of life. The Skinny Jump service uses the Spark cellphone towers and there are limits on how many customers can be connected to any single tower (this is because wireless services operate within a limited radio frequency spectrum). You can find more information on the Jump website.

The impact of this is that if too many customers are connected to the same tower, the service degrades for everyone, and this gets the service provider into trouble with the Government regulator, the Commerce Commission. Customers connecting to any internet service can expect a reasonable quality of service and providers like Spark and Skinny are held accountable.

So what does this mean for you as a Jump partner – if the Skinny Jump addresses checker says ‘no coverage’, you are not permitted to issue a Jump modem. We have had examples of where customers claim to have contacted the Skinny Helpdesk and have been advised to contact their nearest partner to get a Jump modem, even when the address checker says ‘no’. This is a mistake and we alert Skinny to any such incidents – please ask your customer for the name of the Skinny Help Desk agent and day they received this advice and then forward this to us at jump@diaa.nz . The Skinny Helpdesk team have access to the same address checker that you do, so there shouldn’t be any confusion, but at times we know there is.

The good news is that the capacity on cell towers is changing all the time – there are updates every night. Not only is Spark continuing to invest in expanding the capacity of their towers, connections also become possible when existing customers leave. So that is why we encourage partners to complete an online application whenever you have to turn a customer away. Not only do we double check the coverage availability, but we also hold the applicant on file in case we become aware of a future upgrade.

Skinny is also helping by providing all partners with a flyer to give to customers explaining the capacity issue. You can expect these to arrive during the next week. We have also scheduled two partner webinars where the Skinny team will explain this issue and answer any questions.

Make sure you or someone from your team joins one of these webinars, to be held on 2 and 6 August. You can register here: https://diaa.arlo.co/w/upcoming/cat-11-partner-webinars/

Digital Banking Partner Survey

We invite all our Stepping UP delivery partners to complete a brief online feedback survey.

In collaboration with our Stepping UP partners, we have been actively promoting the digital banking classes for the last 24 months – ever since Kiwibank first announced that they were withdrawing cheque services and closing some branches. Since then, other banks have followed this lead, and now cheques, and an increasing number of local bank branches, are history.

For the last two years, Kiwibank has supported a nationwide tour by DORA, our mobile digital classroom, and working with local partners, over 2500 people have been able to participate in a 2-hour class. TSB has also provided support for digital banking classes in Taranaki during the last 3 months and many partners are now offering digital banking classes on a regular basis.

Kiwibank has extended their support for a further 12 months and we welcome expressions of interest from partners to host a visit from DORA. Please use the Feedback Survey to provide any comments on your experiences to date in offering digital banking classes and any suggestions for reaching even more people in your community.