Internet Accessibility

Sprint Initiative Aims to Close Homework Gap for 1 Million Students

Less than a week after pledging to give away 5,000 free WiFi hotspots to families in New York City, Sprint has expanded its commitment and will now provide free wireless devices to 1 million high school students nationwide.

According to the Pew Research Center, 5 million families in the United States with school-aged children lack Internet access at home. With nearly two-thirds of teachers assigning Internet-based homework, many students face a “homework gap” when they go from a digital oasis at school to a digital desert at home. The lack of Internet access creates obstacles to learning, forcing students without broadband to go to great lengths to complete homework assignments.

Sprint’s 1Million Project is the largest corporate initiative in the United States aimed at bridging the digital divide and closing the homework gap. Scheduled to begin early in 2017, the multiyear initiative targets low-income, U.S. high school students without reliable home Internet access. For the initiative, Sprint and the Sprint Foundation will work with nonprofit agencies to recruit community organizations such as schools, libraries and public housing authorities, to locally deliver and install the Sprint devices – which will either be a smartphone, tablet, laptop or hotspot device. Students can use 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month, with unlimited data available at 2G speeds when the 3GB runs out.

“Education is the foundation for our society to prosper, and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning,” said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, in a statement. “But it’s a huge problem in America that we have 5 million households with children that lack internet connections. Those kids have a huge disadvantage and we are failing them. All of us at Sprint are committed to changing this by providing 1 million students in need with free devices and free wireless connections.”

Sprint will pilot the program in seven to 10 markets before rolling out the whole plan for 2017-2018 school year. The company seeks to reach its goal of a million students in five years.

To apply or to learn more about 1Million Project, visit the Sprint site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].