T-Mobile plans to provide free internet service to millions of students and their households as the pandemic ushers in a new normal of remote learning.
The cellular service network recently announced the start of a $10.7 billion initiative that’s meant to deliver free internet connectivity to all U.S. students who are part of free and reduced-price school lunch programs.
Under the 10-year program, millions of low-income households will get free wireless hotspots and free high-speed data, T-Mobile says. It’s executing the plan by partnering with school districts across the country.
“Even before the pandemic, more than 9 million of America’s 56 million school-age kids did not have access to reliable internet and could not complete after-school assignments,” T-Mobile said in a blog post. “Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented 50 million students are learning remotely.”
T-Mobile’s efforts point toward a striking reality: Without reliable internet, some students from low-income households are unable to participate in any type of digital classroom learning.
T-Mobile first announced its goal of providing 10 million low-income households with free internet in 2019 when it sought to merge with Sprint. Now that the deal has gone through, T-Mobile says the expanded network plays a crucial role in accomplishing this vision.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: T-Mobile: Free internet for 10 million students going back to school