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Subsidised Internet Reduces “Digital Divide”

Subsidised internet, in the form of a programme called Skinny Jump, is now cheaper and more widely available to those who may struggle getting online

The Spark Foundation and Skinny have announced reduced rates for using Skinny Jump modems, their popular subsidised wireless internet connection. The scheme is accessible in the Hurunui district through the area’s libraries.

Rates are now $5 for 30 Gigabytes, a quarter of the price of the cheapest commercial services available. The new rates will apply to existing Jump users and eligibility to obtain a Skinny Jump modem has been widely extended.

As well as being available for families with children, Skinny Jump can be obtained by people identifying with one or more of the following groups: people with disabilities, migrants and refugees with English as a second language, Māori & Pasifika youth, offenders and ex-offenders, seniors, and people living in social housing.

Jump is a flexible pre-pay internet service. Because it uses Skinny’s 4G wireless network there’s no fibre or landline connection and no installation cost. No credit references or credit checks are needed, and as a pre-pay service, there are no term contracts. Users are limited to five top-ups each month (a maximum of 150GB per month), so Jump is not suitable for everyone. People who want to play online games or watch lots of movies should check out a fixed line internet option.

The Hurunui District Library in Amberley, as a Jump partner, can help eligible people signup for this service. Residents can call the library on 03 314 8980 to find out if they are eligible.

Hurunui Librarian Susie MacKenzie will then check to make sure the household is in a Skinny coverage area and complete an application form on their behalf. Once details are submitted, a modem and setup guide will be couriered directly to the applicants.

Hurunui Librarian Susie MacKenzie and Skinny Jump

“This is a great opportunity for people to get connected to the internet, so they can access information and keep in touch with friends and family,” MacKenzie said.

“The internet plays such a large role in our lives these days. Skinny Jump is a vital government initiative, helping to reduce the digital divide and make broadband more accessible.”

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