Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Spark plugs digital divide with low-cost fixed wireless

At least 5000 struggling families will get subsidised broadband from Spark New Zealand.

The families will each get 30GB of data a month for $15 on a pre-paid, no fixed-term Spark Jump contract. The price also includes a modem.

Spark will use Skinny Broadband. The company’s no-frills subsidiary offers wireless broadband using the 4G mobile network.

Risk of digital exclusion


The company says it won’t pick which families get the subsidised broadband service. Community groups and government agencies will identify families at risk of digital exclusion.

Simon Moutter, Spark’s managing director, says: "We believe New Zealand children deserve to have the opportunity to learn and thrive in the modern digital economy. Spark Jump is our way of helping solve this digital divide, by ensuring children have digital access both at school and in the home.

He says Spark wants to use technology to unleash the potential in all New Zealanders.

Families in Christchurch and Auckland have taken part in a successful pilot in recent months.

Spark’s registered charity, the Spark Foundation will partner with local community-based organisations. These groups will identify eligible families.

Manaiakalani Education Trust


Spark Foundation chair Nick Leggett says the project developed from a four-year partnership with the Manaiakalani Education Trust.

He says: "Our work with Manaiakalani has shown that the lack of home broadband is a barrier to New Zealand children’s learning and that whanau engagement plays a big role in children’s educational success.

"By enabling whanau to support digital learning with home broadband, we can help build on the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to improve broadband access within schools, through the rollouts of ultrafast fibre and the Network for Learning (N4L) managed network.”

Spark says the aim to provide services for at least 5,000 families in the next year. It plans to work with government agencies to extend the project’s reach.

New Zealand's digital divide


While Spark’s contribution is welcome, it highlights the problem getting broadband to poorer New Zealanders. It’s great news for the 5,000 or so Spark Jump families.

Yet by some estimates, that is one tenth of the number of poorer New Zealanders who don't have broadband. The 2013 NZ Census reports there were 62,000 households with school-aged children which said they did not have home broadband or which did not specify whether they had broadband.  

Broadband exclusion a problem for schools and teachers dealing with students from poorer homes. Computers and other digital tools are now commonplace in the classroom. Most schools have fast fibre broadband. Students are often asked to work on digital projects. That’s fine during the school day. But while better-off children can go home and continue their work, poorer students don’t have the opportunity.

This story was first posted at billbennett.co.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog