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The 1Million Project Foundation to connect 20,000 North Carolina high school students

The following is a press release from Sprint

Sprint (NYSE: S) announced today that the 1Million Project Foundation aims to provide approximately 20,000 North Carolina high school students with a free mobile device and free wireless service by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The program launched in August 2017 with a mission to help one million high school students achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the digital tools and connectivity they need to succeed in school. In its first year, the initiative connected 113,000 students across the country, including more than 11,000 students in North Carolina. Through a partnership with the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE), 9 new participating districts will join the 1Million Project for a total of 18 across the state. By the end of the 2018-19 school year, more than 260,000 students total at over 1,700 high schools in 33 states will receive internet access and devices.

North Carolina high schools have participated in the 1Million Project dating back to our pilot program in the spring of 2017, and we are thrilled to see how the program has grown across the state over the past 18 months,” said Doug Michelman, president of the 1Million Project Foundation. “Our mission is to equip one million high school students across the country with the digital tools that they need to succeed. Through partnerships with the SBE and school districts across the state, North Carolina is setting an incredible example of what we hope to achieve through 1MP in the years to come.”

Right here in the U.S., there are more than five million families with school-aged kids who do not have home internet access.1 Unfortunately, this means that millions of students lack the devices and connectivity needed to have an equal shot at success.

In North Carolina, a report conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that more than 274,000 N.C. households are without access to high-speed internet.2 A study on the state’s homework gap conducted by the N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office and Friday Institute at North Carolina State University notes that 67 percent of those without internet access cite cost as the primary reason.

“The North Carolina State Board of Education strives to ensure digital equity for all of our state’s public school students,” said Cecilia Holden, director of Legislative Affairs and Special Initiatives for North Carolina’s State Board of Education. “The principle of equity underpins our Digital Learning Plan and our Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan. We are proud that all North Carolina Public Schools have robust, reliable, high performance network access, regardless of the community’s socio-economic status or geographic location in the state. We now aspire for all students to have access to the internet after school as well, given that this is a critical tool for positioning students to graduate ready for post-secondary education and the workforce.”

“Partnerships and innovative programs are essential to closing the homework gap,” said Jeffrey Sural, director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the North Carolina Department of Information Technology. “We’re excited that Sprint has committed to expand its 1Million program and serve more students in North Carolina.”

The 1Million Project Foundation will distribute devices and provide service to eligible students at the following high schools and school districts (* denotes new participants in Year 2 of the program):

  • Buncombe County School District
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
  • Cumberland County School District
  • Currituck County High School (Currituck County Schools)*
  • Guilford County Schools
  • Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School (Hickory Public Schools)*
  • Iredell-Statesville Schools*
  • Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools
  • New Hanover County Schools*
  • Onslow County Schools*
  • Pitt County School District
  • Roanoke Rapids Early College (Rapids Graded School District)*
  • Rockingham County Schools
  • Stanly County Schools*
  • Sugar Creek Charter School*
  • Union County Public Schools*
  • Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District

Each participating student participating will receive either a free smartphone, tablet, or hotspot device and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month for up to four years while they are in high school. Unlimited data is available at 265 kbps speeds if usage exceeds 3GB in a month. Every device has a Free Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant content filter to block adult content and malware. Students who receive a smartphone receive unlimited voice and text while on the Sprint network and may also use it as a hotspot.

In a survey of those who participated in the first year of the program, the vast majority of students (84%) said the 1Million Project made it easier for them to complete more of their homework in a comfortable, convenient, and safe place. Looking forward, 74 percent said they are more willing to work hard to graduate from high school. And, 68% said they are more likely to go to college. Administrators reported improved attitudes toward learnings, homework completion rates and school attendance among students.

Schools or districts who want to apply for the third year of the program, which begins with the 2019-2020 school year, can visit to learn more. Applicants will receive a response by spring 2019.

Anyone looking to support the program can visit to make a donation via credit card.4

About The 1Million Project Foundation:
The 1Million Project Foundation will help 1 million high school students who do not have reliable Internet access at home reach their full potential by giving them mobile devices and free high-speed Internet access. Today’s learning environment requires 24/7 internet access in order to study, learn, explore and complete school work from home. Students that cannot connect when they leave school are at disadvantage, and their chances of staying on track in school are greatly limited. By working with school districts across America, the 1Million Project seeks to remove a significant hurdle in these students’ lives by ensuring they have the same access to the internet as any other student so that they too have a fair shot at achieving their full potential. For more information, visit  

About Sprint:
Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served 54.6 million connections as of June 30, 2018 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Today, Sprint’s legacy of innovation and service continues with an increased investment to dramatically improve coverage, reliability, and speed across its nationwide network and commitment to launching the first 5G mobile network in the U.S. You can learn more and visit Sprint at or and

1 The Pew Research Center (
2 North Carolina Looks to Innovative Solutions, Partnerships to Bridge Homework Gap (
3 The Homework Gap in North Carolina: A Pilot Study of K-12 Households (
4 Cash donations for the 1Million Project Foundation are tax-deductible charitable contributions.



EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.