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Sprint is giving away a million devices — and wireless service — to U.S. high school students

CEO Marcelo Claure is looking to close the “homework gap.”

Marcelo Claure speaking at the 2015 Code Conference
Asa Mahat

Aiming to narrow the so-called “homework gap,” Sprint announced Tuesday it plans to give a million high school students a free smartphone, tablet or PC and up to four years of free wireless service.

CEO Marcelo Claure said Sprint is contributing the wireless service, while various hardware partners have committed to donating the devices, which Sprint plans to distribute over the next five years.

Claure said that children in more than five million households lack an internet connection at home.

“They are struggling to keep up in a world that has gone digital,” Claire said on a conference call. “It’s 2016, and most people would assume internet is a given. But it’s not.”

The devices, Claure said, will be a mix of phones, tablets, connected laptops and hotspots, based on students’ need and what devices are contributed.

For now, the program will give students three gigabytes of high-speed data, as well as free calling and texting for those with phones, though Claure said that could increase over time.

The 1Million Project, as the effort is known, is a partnership between Sprint and the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper and ConnectED initiatives.

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