Sprint gives 600 Providence students mobile devices, hotspots to help with schoolwork

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Sprint will provide more than 600 Providence high school students will receive a free cell phone, tablet or hotspot device this year as part of a program designed to give young people internet access at home

The company is pointing to research that shows 70% of teachers across the country require internet-based homework, but five million school-aged children don’t have access to the internet at home. The company’s 1Million Project aims to provide a million high school students with mobile or hotspot devices.

“Learning does not start and stop when school opens and closes,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement. “Sprint’s 1Million Project is a game-changer for our students, who will use these devices to continue learning outside of the classroom.”

Sprint made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning at the Providence Career and Technical Academy. Freshmen from every high school in the city will be eligible to receive a device, which will include three gigabytes of high-speed data per month for up to four years. The students will have unlimited data at lower speeds if they exceed their data cap.

In the current school year, Sprint plans to provide devices to 180,000 students in 1,300 schools across 30 states. The initial program will last five years.

“We are making a difference for kids who need the internet in order to keep up with work assigned at home but yet lack access to technology,” Gabriel Torres, the president of Sprint’s New England region, said in a statement. “Sprint’s 1Million Project will give so many kids right here in Providence more advantages for academic success than they had before.”

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan