Over 15,000 children in five different school districts around the country were given free-WiFi thanks to an initiative by the mobile provider T-Mobile.
With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, millions of kids are still distance learning and many of them were in need of wireless internet connection.
School districts in Allegheny Valley, Pennsylvania, Jackson, Mississippi, Baltimore, Maryland, Santa Fe, New Mexico and South Bend, Indiana were all given five years of free internet connection. T-Mobile’s Project 10Million was created with the goal to provide connectivity to 10 million students across the country within five years.
One of the principals in a school district that was awarded free wifi, Shawn Henderson said, “It means a lot to the community—to narrow the gap, for students to have the opportunity to have internet access at home. It’s amazing.”
A report from the Center for Democracy and Technology found that between 15 and 16 million children of the 50 million learning remotely do not have the proper internet connection for distance learning. With that, many kids are turning to do their homework outside of fast-food restaurants.
The Superintendent of Jackson Public Schools, Errick Greene, told Good Morning America that within his school district about a fourth of his students do not have an adequate internet connection.
Brett Slezak, Supervisor of Technology at Allegheny Valley School in Pennsylvania, said, “There’s a lot of barriers, infrastructure barriers, cost barriers and just barriers in general to getting people connected.”
In indigenous communities in New Mexico are even worse, about 40 of students there don’t have internet connection. “We had some families that might go to town to go to a Starbucks or McDonald’s to use Wi-Fi,” chief technology director at the Santa Fe Indian School, Kimball Sekaquaptewa, said.
“They did what they needed to do, but that is just unacceptable in our community,” Sekaquaptewa continues.
Member of the Jemez Nation, Marcelina Smith, said, “To keep our tradition strong is to continue to learn our language. And without Internet access, I don’t think we’ll have the privilege of that.”
With this program that T-Mobile created, they are working hard to make sure internet connection is provided to everyone who needs it.