AT&T and Connected Nation deliver on commitment to provide 35,000 hotspots and free internet service to help vulnerable students

A young student takes part in a virtual lesson with OrchKids. The AT&T Connected Learning program provided 100 hotspots to OrchKids.

Bowling Green, Ky. (August 11, 2021) – Leading nonprofit Connected Nation has completed the deployment of 35,000 hotspots. Made possible by a contribution from AT&T – these hotspots, equipped with more than a year of free internet service – will help some of the most vulnerable students across the country.

“AT&T made a $10 million commitment in 2020 to help our nation’s most at-risk children access remote learning and the company has delivered on that promise,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “The AT&T Connected Learning program is not only putting devices and services into the hands of students, but it’s focused on helping those who are facing some of the most difficult challenges that a child could endure —such as living in foster care or experiencing homelessness. It’s been exciting to work with AT&T to create positive change in the lives of these very deserving students who were struggling to access their online classrooms.”

The Greenup County School District received more than 300 hotspots from the AT&T Connected Learning program for classes like Brittany Hale’s first grade class (pictured above).

AT&T committed $10 million to respond to the need for increased at-home connectivity for students during the pandemic, and worked with Connected Nation to make it happen. The program officially opened in November 2020 to nonprofits and schools seeking to help their most vulnerable students.  A list of awardees, including 124 schools and nonprofits spanning 26 states, was announced in February 2021.

“For years, AT&T has prioritized its commitment to education, and we continue our focus by helping to narrow the homework gap.  Doing so begins with providing access to connectivity and devices – particularly for our nation’s most vulnerable students,” said Mylayna Albright, AVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T. “Collaborating with Connected Nation enables us to better identify how and where we can make the biggest impact so students most at-risk can get the tools they need to succeed.”

The last of the 35,000 hotspots were delivered on August 5, 2021— completing the promise to provide access to remote learning to as many students as possible.  

“We were giving out computers and people were constantly asking me if we had a way to get low-cost internet or free internet to go along with the computers,” said Dylan Zajac, Founder and Executive Director, Computers 4 People. “It’s one of the things we really need to help close the Digital Divide in the country, so I was so happy to get a response from AT&T and Connected Nation for this program and give out these hotspots to help our local students in need.”

Some organizations opted to delay their hotspot and internet service delivery so that the year of free internet service would coincide with the start of the fall school semester. The program is primarily focused on providing access for students in the following groups:

  • Students in foster care
  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • English language learners
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students eligible for the Migrant Education Program
  • Other at-risk students who may be disconnected from formal education opportunities

The 124 awardees in the program represent 81 schools and 43 nonprofits. Schools and nonprofits could seek up to 500 hotspots per application.   To see the full list of awardees and learn more about the impact of this program, head to connectednation.org/homeworkgap.

Computers 4 People provided hotspots from the AT&T award to clients of the York Street Project in Jersey City. Dylan Zajac, Computers 4 People’s Founder and Executive Director, is pictured third from the right.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
Connected Nation
jdenson@connectednation.org
502-341-2024

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About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

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