Sprint on Monday said 4,000 students across 11 U.S. cities will be the first to receive free devices and service as part of a pilot for its 1Million Project giveaway aimed at bridging the digital divide.
According to Sprint, the pilot will go into effect in January and will include schools in Missouri, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois.
“Since we announced the 1Million Project, we’ve received an incredible amount of outreach from schools across the country that need help,” Sprint Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Doug Michelman said. “Too many students in America lack Internet access at home and are falling behind in school and in life. We couldn’t be more excited and honored to work with these amazing institutions to launch the pilot program and start helping disadvantaged students reach their full potential.”
Announced in October, Sprint’s 1Million Project aims to distribute a mix of phones, tablets, laptops, and hotspots to one million U.S. high school students over the next five years. The devices will be offered along with free talk, text and 3 GB of high-speed data and unlimited 2G data from Sprint. Sprint said it has received more than 100 applications for the program since it was announced.
The carrier said the first batch of 4,000 students to receive devices and service will be in the Kansas City Public School District in Missouri, Paterson Public Schools in New Jersey, the Pomona and San Diego Unified School Districts in California, Providence Public Schools in Rhode Island, Brockton High School in Massachusetts, Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Global Collegiate Academy in Dallas, Lake Worth Community High School in Florida, West Charlotte High School in North Carolina, and the Youth Connection Charter School in Chicago. Devices will also be distributed via the Village of Park Forest Teen Services Department in Illinois.
Sprint said the pilot will help it learn “more about how student needs may vary from market-to-market and school-to-school, how to allocate resources to differing schools and organizations, and best practices for communicating with program participants.” The carrier’s findings from the pilot will be applied to the nationwide rollout scheduled for the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Sprint said.