Broadband subsidy for offline pupils

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STAFF REPORTER

Subsidised broadband is being made available to families through public libraries in Temuka, Geraldine and Timaru.

On Monday last week, Spark Foundation and 20/20 Trust announced the subsidised service would be made available, enabling more school pupils to keep up with the digital skills needed today.

Spark Jump is available to families with children up to the age of 18 and no current broadband connection.

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 data usage 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 the Timaru district, library staff in Timaru, Geraldine and Temuka will help families set up and manage their Spark Jump internet connections. Interested families should contact their nearest library to make an appointment to join Spark Jump.

Timaru District Libraries manager Adele Hewlett said Spark Jump will help close the access gap between families who can afford home broadband and those who can not.

“We’re passionate about empowering our community through education and it’s important to keep up with the skills necessary for today. Access to the internet is critical to ensure our children can develop the digital skills needed to excel at school and later in life but for some families, home broadband is not affordable. We know that Spark Jump will help more children in our community thrive.”

Spark Foundation general manager 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.