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Current as of 09/12/16 03:59PM NZST
Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

Spark gives cheap broadband to needy families

Net profit slipped to $370 million, or 20.2 cents per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $375m, or 20 cents, a year earlier. Photo / Dean Purcell
Net profit slipped to $370 million, or 20.2 cents per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $375m, or 20 cents, a year earlier. Photo / Dean Purcell

Spark is offering entry level home broadband for $15, a quarter of the usual price - but only to some families.

The telecommunications company is offering heavily subsidised broadband to families with school-aged children that cannot afford commercial home broadband services.

Spark chief executive Simon Moutter said the programme for social change, Spark Jump, would give access to thousands of children.

"Digital inequality, especially when it comes to online learning, is a significant challenge for New Zealand," Moutter said.

"Every day, tens of thousands of children do not have access to home broadband and come home from school unable to continue their online learning."

"Spark Jump is our way of helping solve this Digital Divide, by ensuring children have digital access both at school and in the home."

Spark Jump will offer selected families a 30GB no-frills broadband service for $15 which the company said was about a quarter of the price of the cheapest commercial services available.

It was offering the deal as a pre-paid, no fixed-term contract which included a modem to allow flexibility.

The service uses the Skinny Broadband platform and provides "wireless" home broadband via a 4G mobile signal connecting with the nearest cell tower.

The programme will work with Spark Foundation, the registered charity funded by Spark, and local community-based organisations to identify and refer eligible families.

Spark wants to make Spark Jump available to at least 5,000 families over the coming 12 months and is looking to collaborate with government agencies and community groups to scale this up.

- NZ Herald

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