Thursday, 26 August 2021 10:15

Spark lifts data caps during lockdown to help users on basic plans

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Spark lifts data caps during lockdown to help users on basic plans Image by Alex Fox from Pixabay

New Zealand broadband provider Spark has announced a waiving of data overage charges for all users who are on data-capped fixed and wireless broadband plans.

The company said this policy was meant to prevent disconnections for anyone who was at risk of being cut off due to an inability to afford extra data or an upgrade to another plan.

The lifting of data caps began on Wednesday and will continue until the country moves out of alert level 4 which has been imposed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The company said it would also increase data allowances for those on Skinny Jump, it not-for-profit service aimed at bridging the digital divide.

Spark customer director Grant McBeath said: “We understand that with the extended lockdown our customers will need more data to continue working, learning, and connecting from home, and we hope that by removing data caps we can help Kiwis to adapt to our latest Covid-19 curveball.

"We also have a number of support options available for those experiencing financial hardship.”

Spark reminded customers that traffic would be monitored and managed to ensure fair use, and the operational performance of the network.

"Customers who are consuming extreme amounts of data will be contacted by us, and where the need arises, we will utilise traffic management to limit congestion – resulting in slower speeds for customers, particularly during peak periods of the day," it said.

"These measures are necessary to manage congestion due to the record levels of traffic being experienced and to ensure that all our customers get the best experience possible."

Said McBeath: “The traffic running over our networks at the moment is the highest we have ever experienced – including during our last lockdown. We are responding by rolling out upgrades to our mobile network where it is needed, and it is possible to do so.”

More than 16,000 households are connected to Skinny Jump after a big increase in demand during the country’s first Level 4 lockdown in 2020. This plan will now include an additional 6GB daily data bonus on weekdays, from 9am-3.30pm.

“We hope that the removal of broadband data caps, our wide range of broadband plans that cater to different budgets, our Financial Hardship Policy, and our not-for-profit broadband service Skinny Jump, will help provide some relief for Kiwis as we navigate lockdown once again,” said McBeath.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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