Sprint plans to give 1 million underprivileged high-school students free wireless devices and data, the US mobile carrier announced on Monday in conjunction with the Sprint Foundation.
Called the "1Million Project," Sprint's initiative aims to help close the "Homework Gap" for students lacking home internet access to complete their assignments in an increasingly digital-reliant world.
Sprint aims to roll out the program nationwide by the start of the 2017-2018 school year, after pilots in selected markets. Students in the program will receive a free phone, tablet, laptop, or hotspot, as well as 3GB of LTE data each month.
"Education is the foundation for our society to prosper, and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning," Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint, said 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."
Pew Research Center reports that 5 million US families with school-aged children do not have broadband access at home. At least 70 percent of teachers in the US assign homework that requires web access, based on a report by the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Task Force.
Sprint has partnered with non-profit agencies EveryoneOn and My Brother's Keeper Alliance to recruit community organizations and execute locally, deliver the devices, and activate the mobile internet service for the participating high school students.