Sprint announced a new initiative dubbed “The 1Million Project” on Tuesday that will help low-income students in schools around the United States. The goal of the project is simple: get 1 million mobile devices in the hands of students who otherwise don’t have access to mobile internet.
Sprint described closing the “Homework Gap,” which it says it can do by giving students devices such as smartphones, tablets and mobile hotspots, so that they can finish schoolwork and apply for jobs in places where they might not have had internet access, like at home. Samsung is partnering with organizations such as EveryoneOn and My Brother’s Keeper to distribute the devices, which can be used “for up to four years in high school,” Sprint said.
“Each student may receive either a free smartphone, tablet, lap[top or hotspot device and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month,” Sprint explained. “Those who receive a smartphone can use it as a hotspot and for unlimited domestic calls and texts while on the Sprint network.” Sprint isn’t coughing up the whole bill – it said donations to the Sprint Foundation and from device manufacturers will help cover the cost.
The program is expected to kick off in January 2017 in 7-10 markets; a nationwide roll-out is planned for the 2017-2018 school year.
Why this matters:
Sprint is helping get students online when they otherwise can’t, which will allow them to finish homework, apply for jobs and more.
Sprint said that more than 70 percent of homework now requires web access and that, “nearly two-thirds of students used the internet at home to complete their homework and school-related activities.”
The carrier found cited Pew Research data that found that 5 million U.S. families don’t have access at home, which means, while this is an excellent first step, it won’t even cover all U.S. students who can’t get online after they leave school.