Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Subsidised broadband for selected Rotorua families

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Education trust Nga Pumanawa e Waru has partnered with Spark to deliver subsidised broadband to selected families in Rotorua.  Photo/File
Education trust Nga Pumanawa e Waru has partnered with Spark to deliver subsidised broadband to selected families in Rotorua. Photo/File

A partnership which will give 100 Rotorua families subsidised internet access will help bring online learning back home, according to Nga Pumanawa e Waru's Mercia-Dawn Yates.

The education trust has partnered with Spark to deliver subsidised broadband to selected families in Rotorua.

Spark Jump is a programme which provides a modem and a heavily subsidised wireless broadband connection for families with school-aged children who lack broadband at home.

Ms Yates, the trust's director of engagement, said the trust was still working out the criteria of who would receive the first 100 modems.

She said it would offer students, and potentially their families, the chance to do online learning at home.

While many used the internet at school - "it is their world" - they often didn't have the connectivity at home, Ms Yates said.

"It expands it beyond the school gates. There is also the possibility of what it offers for parents and some might want to do some online learning themselves.

"It shifts the learning environment."

Work would also take place around identifying families who weren't connected because of issues around establishing connections where they lived, as well as those who weren't connected for financial reasons.

Nga Pumanawa e Waru is the fourth organisation to come on board the programme joining The Greater Christchurch Schools Network, Web Access Waikato Trust, and 20/20 Trust.

Spark will deliver the first modems to Nga Pumanawa e Waru in the coming week.

Trust chairman Leith Comer said Spark's subsidised broadband would help make Rotorua a great place to learn for hundreds of school children who didn't have internet at home.

"Access to the internet is important so our tamariki can thrive in future-focused learning environments. Having an internet connection at home will help whanau create learning opportunities and open the door for their kids to the digital world," Mr Comer said.

Spark Foundation general manager Lynne Le Gros said she was pleased to be partnering with an education trust with a strong presence in the Rotorua community.

"It's important to get all New Zealand children digitally fluent and thinking about the jobs of tomorrow. Connecting more homes to the internet is our way of helping children keep up with their digitally connected peers and bridge the digital divide."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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