Attorney General Ford Helps School Districts Bring Internet Connectivity and Products to Students Learning From Home
Benefits Result from 2019 T-Mobile Settlement
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announced that his office will help local school districts bring T-Mobile’s new “T-Mobile Project 10Million” Broadband Access for Education Program to Nevada students learning from home when the initiative launches. When T-Mobile’s Project 10Million program becomes available, it will help provide qualifying student households with access to broadband products and Internet services before the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Under the terms of the settlement, T-Mobile will be offering qualifying students free service and hotspots, as well as reduced cost devices. In order to achieve this goal, T-Mobile will be aligning with the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) qualification criteria for credentialing and eligibility.
In November 2019, AG Ford and his Bureau of Consumer Protection negotiated a settlement with T-Mobile to resolve antitrust concerns surrounding T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint. Bringing T-Mobile’s Project 10Million to Nevada is one of several benefits from that settlement. Through this settlement, AG Ford and his Bureau of Consumer Protection have been working with the Nevada Department of Education to connect T-Mobile and Nevada school districts with eligible households. These households will gain access to this new program when it formally launches.
“Thousands of local students are thwarted from distance learning programs because they don’t have Internet access and devices in their homes,” said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “Under my Administration, Nevada families always come first, and I’m thrilled to connect T-Mobile with Nevada’s school districts to bring distance learning into the homes of many young Nevadans in need.”
“Having high-quality access to the Internet should not be based on zip code,” added State Superintendent for Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. “All of Nevada’s children deserve to have a device and connectivity to reach their teachers, primary resources and the global community. Thanks to the hard work of our attorney general and his Bureau of Consumer Protection, this settlement seeks to address a serious need and inequity brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to distance learning.”
Additional information about how T-Mobile will be addressing the needs of students during the COVID-19 crisis through T-Mobile’s Project 10Million is available here. Information on how T-Mobile has connected more than 750,000 students across nearly 1,000 schools and school districts in the past several weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic is available here.
Settlement With T-Mobile:
AG Ford and his office worked with T-Mobile and Sprint to negotiate specific settlement terms in the best interests of Nevada consumers and employees. In addition to T-Mobile’s Project 10Million, key commitments in this settlement placed an emphasis on T-Mobile deploying a network that would cover over 90 percent of the State’s population and save employee jobs post-merger.
“While the commitment to keeping hundreds of local jobs was important prior to the pandemic, with so much unemployment it has become even more critical now,” said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “T-Mobile agreed to retain a 450 employee Sprint call center and convert it into a T-Mobile Experience Center, and to offer employment with similar duties and pay to every retail Sprint and T-Mobile employee post-merger.”
Additional highlights of key commitments in the settlement that are advanced include:
- Deploy 5G Network: Within three years of the close of the merger, T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network in Nevada with at least 64 percent of the State’s population having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps. Within six years of the close, the network will cover at least 94 percent of Nevada’s general population and 83 percent of Nevada’s rural population, with access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps.
- Low-Price Mobile Plan Commitment: For at least six years, T-Mobile will offer all Nevada consumers new, low-priced plans that include unlimited talk, text and at least 2 GB of data for $15 per month, and 5 GB of data for $25 per month. Furthermore, T-Mobile will incrementally increase the amount of data provided under both plans, so that each plan’s data allotment will nearly double within four years.
- Commitment to Preserve Nevada Jobs: All retail T-Mobile and Sprint employees in Nevada will receive an offer of employment with T-Mobile, with comparable duties and wages. T-Mobile will also maintain the existing Sprint call center in Las Vegas by converting it to a T-Mobile Customer Experience Center, with at least 450 employees for the entire six-year term of the agreement. The agreement protects the rights of employees to participate in unions or organized labor; and T-Mobile will launch a paid apprentice program, selecting at least 10 apprentices per year, including at least three management or professional trainees.
- Philanthropic Contribution for Minorities, Women, Small Businesses and Nevada Native-American Tribes: T-Mobile will make a charitable contribution of $30,000,000 in three equal installments over a three-year period to fund programs through grants that enhance entrepreneurial opportunities and workforce development for, and expand small businesses owned by, minorities and women in the State of Nevada. The recipients and use of these grants will be at the discretion of Nevada’s attorney general. Funds may also be used to pre-pay or reimburse costs associated with eligible broadband improvements made for the benefit of Nevada’s Native American Tribes under a program administered by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.