CTIA, the wireless association, revealed a new program to help children participate in distance learning during COVID-19. The Connecting Kids Initiative simplifies the process for school districts to find remote learning hotspots. It connects them with wireless carriers working to provide broadband access in their area. Participating carriers include the three nationwide wireless operators as well as regional operators across the country.
“Millions of kids are learning from home for the first time and the wireless industry is committed to helping make sure they have the opportunity to learn remotely,” said CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “We are proud to launch this initiative, and of the many other ways the wireless industry is helping, but we can’t do this alone. It’s important that Congress provide the funding the education community has sought to support hotspot-capable devices and services essential for remote learning.”
Millions of students are shifting to remote learning for the first time, but not all children have access to broadband at home. Through the initiative, schools and school districts can now submit their connectivity needs using one central resource, and CTIA will connect them with wireless providers who may be able to help connect unserved families.
The wireless industry has long collaborated with schools and school districts to expand educational opportunities, particularly in underserved communities. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, it has connected hundreds of thousands of additional students at home for the first time, thanks to new programs and partnerships, according to CTIA.
To make sure students have the tools they need to participate in distance learning and stay engaged with their teachers and classmates from afar, companies across the wireless ecosystem have increased data allotments, donated and discounted devices, and launched new online tools, services and educational games.