DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis announced a partnership with T-Mobile to provide free Wi-Fi hotspots and 100 GB of data to 34,000 students who come from low income households. The Colorado Department of Education estimates 65,000 students in the state lack access to the internet.
The partnership is an effort to close the digital divide in Colorado as schools continue to rely on remote learning during the pandemic.
“Broadband access is now an essential school supply, it’s a non-negotiable. And so we are really excited about this partnership and it doesn’t end here, we’re going to keep working together to really do our part to close the digital divide,” said Commissioner of Education Katy Anthes.
“That divide falls along income lines and in Colorado we already have achievement gaps, the gap between achievement in schools from rich kids and poor kids and we have only seen that achievement gap grow because of COVID-19,” said State Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Democrat representing Sheridan.
The families who qualify for the program are those whose students are eligible to receive free or reduced school lunches.
The Colorado Department of Education will also give $2 million to help improve access to broadband.