Sprint announced this week the public schools that will participate in its 1Million Project pilot.

The 1Million Project, launched in October, is a multiyear initiative from the Sprint Foundation to offer free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless Internet connectivity to 1 million low-income, U.S. high school students lacking a reliable source of Internet access at home.

“Since we announced the 1Million Project, we’ve received an incredible amount of outreach from schools across the country that need help,” said Doug Michelman, senior vice president of corporate communications for Sprint. “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.”

The pilot program will include 4,000 students in 11 cities. Beginning in January, all pilot program students will receive a free mobile device and free high-speed wireless Internet connectivity through Sprint. After successfully completing the program, schools will also be invited to join the multiyear initiative through its entirety when it begins its nationwide rollout for the 2017-2018 school year, according to Sprint.

Of the 100 applications received for the pilot program, Sprint selected 11 organizations to participate:

  • Kansas City Public Schools, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Paterson Public Schools, Paterson, N.J.
  • Pomona Unified School District, Pomona, Calif.
  • Providence Public Schools, Providence, R.I.
  • San Diego Unified School District, San Diego
  • Brockton High School, Brockton, Mass.
  • Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Global Collegiate Academy, Dallas
  • Lake Worth Community High School, Lake Worth, Fla.
  • West Charlotte High School, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Youth Connection Charter School, Chicago
  • Village of Park Forest–Teen Services Department, Park Forest, Ill.

Students will receive either a free smartphone, tablet, or hot spot device, as well as 3GB high-speed LTE data per month. If student’s data use exceeds 3GB, students will have unlimited data at 2G speeds. Smartphones in the program can be used as a hot spot and for unlimited domestic calls and texts while on the Sprint network.

Sprint hopes the pilot program will give it a deeper understanding as to how student needs 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. Lessons learned and best practices will be applied to the nationwide rollout at the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Schools, public housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations can apply for the 1Million Project beginning with the 2017-2018 school year through March 31, 2017 at www.sprint.com/1millionproject.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.