Networking & Wireless

Sprint Provides Free Broadband for Students in Illinois

Sprint has committed to offer free high speed Internet service to students in several Illinois public school districts.

The four-year agreement will provide more than 1,600 Illinois students with high speed LTE broadband service, so they can connect to the Internet from home through a Wi-Fi hotspot. The total estimated value of this service is $3 million.

According to the Illinois Report Card, 54.2 per cent of students in the state live in low income households, identified as those "who are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, live in substitute care or whose families receive public aid." Many of these students may not have access to the Internet at home, which can make it more difficult for them to complete homework assignments, find information about postsecondary education or apply for jobs. This service from Sprint aims to help bridge that "digital divide" for low income students in several Illinois school districts, including High School District 214, Maine Township District 207, Leyden 212, Glenbard Township and Hillside 93.

"As educators, we are challenged to meet students where they are and prepare them for success in college and their careers," said David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214, in a prepared statement. "This service provided by Sprint levels the playing field and gives all students the opportunity to continue learning once the school day ends, complete assignments for class and research and apply for colleges."

This service is part of a commitment the company made last year to provide wireless broadband connectivity for 50,000 low-income K-12 students across the United States as part of the White House's ConnectED initiative, which aims to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed Internet by 2018.

Further information about Sprint's ConnectED program can be found on the company's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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