With the need for equitable access to the internet more crucial than ever, T-Mobile wants to help every single unconnected student in the U.S. get access to the internet connectivity they need to learn. In a video yesterday, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert announced that the un-carrier’s $10.7 billion Project 10Million commitment is taking a big step toward accomplishing this vision. The program is now live and available to school districts.
In response to the unique learning challenges students are experiencing due to the ongoing pandemic, T-Mobile is expanding Project 10Million by giving school districts additional plan options with more data to best meet their students’ needs.
T-Mobile previously committed to kick off Project 10Million once its merger with Sprint was complete, and now, it’s putting the combined resources and network capacity to work. Through Project 10Million, T-Mobile is addressing the persistent homework gap experienced by more than 9 million children across the U.S. who are unable to get online to complete at-home assignments. Project 10Million offers free wireless hotspots, up to 100GB per year of free high-speed data, and access to at-cost tablets and laptops or the equivalent value of about $500 annually per student household.
As COVID-19 forces up to 50 million students out of the physical classroom and into part- or full-time remote learning, the need for connectivity and greater bandwidth has dramatically increased. What was a homework gap has turned into an even more massive schoolwork gap, when students without internet access are completely left out of learning.
To address this need, the company has expanded Project 10Million by allowing participating school districts to apply the value of the free program to one of two new plans with more data. Schools can choose a 100GB per month option or a fully unlimited plan. Every district gets free wireless hotspots and access to at-cost laptops and tablets, and they have the flexibility to pick the solution that works best for their district. It’s all still free to students. All hotspots and other devices will be provided to eligible households by their school. Interested school districts can sign up here.
“Education is the great leveler, but without internet access, kids will be left behind. T-Mobile has a big goal – to deliver connectivity to every child who needs it across the U.S. With our historic Project 10Million commitment, we’re going to help open a lot of doors to opportunity that might have previously been closed,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert.
Project 10Million builds on T-Mobile’s — and Sprint’s — long standing focus on education and connecting students. Prior to merging in April 2020 and before the COVID-19 pandemic, T-Mobile and Sprint had already connected nearly half a million students, and as COVID-19 started to impact schools, the combined company stepped up its efforts. Since March 2020, T-Mobile has connected over 1.6 million students in more than 3,100 school districts across the country. This includes the company’s part in New York City’s plan to connect more than 350,000 students with iPads and data when classes resume virtually. And the telecom partnered with the California Department of Education and Apple to connect up to another 1 million students as schools across the state prepare to start the next school year virtually.
“Since the start of the pandemic, T-Mobile and Sprint have worked hand-in-hand with school districts, state governments and technology partners to bring connectivity solutions to those who need it most, connecting more than 1.6 million students in less than six months,” said Mike Katz, executive vice president of T-Mobile for Business. “During the pandemic, we’ve had countless conversations with school districts and educators. We’ve consistently heard that they need more options that fit the unique needs of their students. We have expanded Project 10Million to tap into T-Mobile’s network resources and capacity, and take our support of educators and students to a whole new level.”
Project 10Million is the third and final component of the Un-carrier 1.0 5G for Good commitments that the company announced before its merger with Sprint was approved. Since the completion of the merger, the company has now launched all three commitments, which also include Connecting Heroes and T-Mobile Connect.