Empowering the Next Generation
How to address digital inequities for Latinos
Unforeseen and unprecedented events over the last three years have proved that connectivity is essential to our daily lives—we need it to work, play, learn, and stay connected with our family and friends. Yet 19 million Americans still lack access to high-speed internet. This issue is even greater in Hispanic communities. As of 2021, only 65% of Hispanic adults had internet service at home, compared to 80% of white adults. Without reliable internet, it's difficult to access medical and emergency services, find employment, take classes, or simply keep in touch with loved ones.
Fortunately, T-Mobile is working to address the digital inequities experienced by Latinos. Since T-Mobile's merger with Sprint, the company has taken big steps to bridge the digital divide, increase competition and consumer benefits, and continue to support Latino communities. T-Mobile is determined to close the digital divide. The "Un-carrier" spearheads numerous initiatives to achieve this goal, including Project 10Million, Hometown Grants, low-cost plans like Connect by T-Mobile, and expanding T-Mobile's Home Internet Service to provide more choices for broadband service.
In 2019, T-Mobile launched Project 10Million, an initiative aimed at closing the education gap by offering free wireless hotspots and connectivity to millions of underserved students across the nation. With nearly 17 million children lacking internet access at home, programs like Project 10Million are a necessity. Through Project 10Million, T-Mobile has partnered with school districts to offer free high-speed data and mobile hotspots as well as access to low-cost laptops and tablets. T-Mobile has made a tremendous impact to help bridge the digital divide in education and have brought reliable connectivity to nearly 1,500 school districts, invested $4.83 billion in services, and connected over 5.3 million students through the companies education initiatives.
T-Mobile's commitment to changing wireless for good doesn't stop with students. Through the company's Hometown Grant initiative, T-Mobile committed $25 million through 2026 to support small towns across the country by funding vital community development projects. To date, T-Mobile has given $7.8 million to 175 rural communities across 41 states to fund to revitalized downtown spaces, revamped parks, small business incubators, sustainability efforts and more.
Strengthened by its combination with Sprint, T-Mobile has also played a critical role in increasing competition in both wireless service and in-home broadband. In fact, T-Mobile added 2M High-Speed Internet net customers in the first full year since its commercial launch. And in 2022, T-Mobile was the fastest-growing in-home broadband provider in the nation. Moreover, the company's 5G investments have prompted its competitors to invest billions of dollars in spectrum to expand and enhance their own 5G networks.
Continuing its mission to transform the wireless industry for the better, T-Mobile launched Connect by T-Mobile as part of its 5G for Good initiative to ensure millions remain connected at a low cost. This is especially important for families and individuals most affected by rising inflation and economic uncertainty. T-Mobile and its partners know that Latinos are a driving force in our economy and Latino entrepreneurs are making incredible strides. More than three million people are employed by nearly 350,000 Latino-owned businesses, making Latino-owned businesses the fastest-growing business segment. From 2007 to 2019, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 34%.
Despite this strong growth, Latino businesses still face obstacles when it comes to technology access and education. That's why T-Mobile partnered with UnidosUS to provide digital literacy resources to Latino entrepreneurs with the Digital Literacy and Job Readiness Toolkit through the UnidosUS Latinx in Business program. Together, T-Mobile and UnidosUS help current and aspiring Latino entrepreneurs leverage digital solutions to run their businesses more effectively.
"Our partnership with T-Mobile provides crucial resources for UnidosUS to expand our Latinx in Business program, enabling us to provide our community with enhanced access to digital literacy education and empower the next generation of Latino entrepreneurs," said Mauricio Garcia, Senior Vice President for Programs, UnidosUS.
Among T-Mobile's proudest success stories is its steadfast commitment to the people of Puerto Rico and determination to bring next-generation service to the island. While its competitors lack a presence in Puerto Rico, T-Mobile has doubled down, making multi-million dollar investments in its network and customer service. In the wake of Hurricane Fiona late last year, T-Mobile responded with contributions to Puerto Rico's Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC), the Hispanic Federation, and the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce to support recovery efforts.
"When Hurricane Fiona hit, T-Mobile took swift action to support impacted communities, providing smartphones, critical supplies, and other recovery tools. The company also coordinated with local emergency management teams and deployed technicians and engineers to assess the damage. Their work was a critical component in helping us address the urgent needs of the Puerto Rican community. T-Mobile's support was indispensable, and we thank them for their quick action," said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation.
And just last year, T-Mobile opened a new Customer Experience Center in Kingsburg, CA, creating 1,000 jobs in Fresno County, just miles from the home of Cesar Chavez and National Farm Workers Association. The new jobs offer competitive wages and benefits, making T-Mobile one of the largest and highest-paying employers in the area.
"From building the new Customer Experience Center in Kingsburg to supporting small towns across the nation through Hometown Grants, T-Mobile has shown that it is dedicated to driving economic growth across the nation," said Victor Lopez, Chair, Central Valley Latino Mayors and Elected Official Association.
T-Mobile has accomplished a great deal over the past three years, but the Un-carrier's work is far from over. Together with its partners, T-Mobile has taken big steps to bridge the digital divide and bring reliable internet access to previously underserved communities, many of them Latino. The future of Latino students, business owners, and communities is bright, and with the power to connect, it's even brighter.