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Phoenix schools, Sprint giving free cell phones to students

Posted: 5:16 AM, Sep 14, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-14 10:15:43-04

Erubey Sanchez has never had internet access at home. His family is among an estimated 5-million in the US (with school-aged kids) unplugged from the web, despite 70% of teachers assigning online homework. 

"I don't have the tools to finish it, to learn," Sanchez told ABC15. Instead, he's spent countless hours at a friend's or neighbor's house trying to keep up. 

Through Sprint's "1Million Project," the Phoenix Union High School District is giving more than 5,000 students a free phone, hotspot or tablet complete with high-speed data. 
"It's going to help me a lot ... to get my grades up," Sanchez said. 

Tolleson schools, and another in Tucson, are also receiving devices through the Sprint program. 
"The environment's changing," said Phoenix Union Superintendent Chad Gestson. 

"It's highly technological and this helps us close that opportunity gap that really plagues inner cities and urban cities across the country." 

Sprint hopes to equip 1-million students with devices over the next five years. Other carriers, like T-Mobile, have carried out limited but similar programs in other parts of the country.