Subsidised broadband Spark Jump bridges Digital Divide in Christchurch

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Spark New Zealand

Spark Foundation and 20/20 Trust have announced that subsidised broadband is available to families in central Christchurch through Linwood Library and Addington.net, enabling more students to keep up with the digital skills necessary for today.

As classroom learning goes digital, students without broadband at home are at risk of being left behind. Spark Jump enables more children to go online outside of classroom hours and get on the right side of the Digital Divide.

Families with children up to the age of 18 and no current broadband connection are eligible for the programme. They will receive a modem and a wireless broadband connection and pay $10 for 30GB with no fixed term contract. As a pre-pay service, the modem can be topped up at any time in the same way as pre-pay mobile phones.

Spark Foundation partners with community-based organisations like 20/20 Trust to deliver wireless broadband to families without internet. The Trust is active in communities around the country and works with local partners to select families for the programme based on the eligibility criteria set by the Spark Foundation and the intent to support education.

In Christchurch, Linwood Library and Addington.net will help families set up and manage their Spark Jump internet connections. Interested families should contact these organisations to enquire when Spark Jump sessions are being held.

Greg Smith, Programme Support Coordinator at Addington.net says Spark Jump will help close the skills gap between families who can afford home broadband and those who can’t.

“We’re passionate about empowering our community with access to online services and it’s important for everyone to keep up with the digital skills necessary for today. Access to the internet is critical to get our children better placed to do amazing things in school and later in life, and adults need to have the confidence to support them”, says Greg.

Cath Parr, IT Service Manager – Citizens and Community for Christchurch City Council, is overseeing the Spark Jump programme at Linwood Library and hopes it will expand to other city libraries later this year.

“It is important to make internet access more accessible, especially with the Digital Divide being such a topical issue. For some families, home broadband is simply not affordable. We know that an initiative like Spark Jump will help more children in our community thrive and do better at school,” says Cath.

General Manager of Spark Foundation Lynne Le Gros is pleased the partnership with 20/20 Trust is expanding the reach of Spark Jump to reach more families at risk of being digitally excluded.

“We’re pleased to serve communities around the country with a truly useful product like subsidised broadband. We’re excited to see more homes in Christchurch turn into digital learning environments to better prepare students for the digital world,” says Le Gros.


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