T-Mobile Rolls Out Free Limited Internet for Millions of Students
September 9, 2020
As part of T-Mobile’s controversial megamerger with Sprint, the “un-carrier” promised to provide up to 10 million low-income households with free broadband internet access in order to help children navigate the growing “homework gap” that’s become a problem as classrooms incorporate digitized lessons. On Thursday, T-Mobile announced the launch of the program at a time when the covid-19 pandemic has compounded the problems of remote learning.
We don’t have a definitive tally of the number of kids who lack high-speed internet access in the United States, but before the pandemic, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 9 million children lack the connection necessary to handle homework assignments. (One 2018 survey found the number of students in need of a better connection to be closer to 16.9 million.) Now, schools across the country are using remote learning to mitigate the coronavirus spread, and all schoolwork has become homework. Suddenly, T-Mobile’s agreement to provide internet access for the country’s most vulnerable students is more necessary than ever.