For a monthly fee, Gwinnett County Public Schools staff, students and their families have access to portable wireless hotspot technology powered by T-Mobile.
Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation announced the LeanStream hotspot is available with unlimited data for $50 per month with no contracts, no term commitment, no fee for the device and no back-end fees. Foundation Senior Executive Director Aaron Lupuloff said the program, called Wifi on the Go, is part of the Foundation’s commitment to find new and innovative solutions that benefit GCPS students and faculty.
Lupuloff said the program is aimed to address the “staggering” rate of students that lack internet access at home. The Foundation will also receive $10 per month per unit to support GCPS schools, students and teachers.
“This program is a true win-win,” Lupuloff said. “We can support our schools while providing a truly unique and exclusive benefit at the same time. Many of our families simply cannot get affordable portable broadband. The opportunity to help fill that need while also supporting our schools was an easy decision for us. We are delighted to share this program with our GCPS family.”
The program launched to Gwinnett County Public Schools employees and families last week. It’s not the first school system in Georgia to partner with LeanStream, an Alabama-based company that serves as a third-party administrator for customer enrollment and provides hardware. Gwinnett County Public Schools is, however, the first district in the state to officially launch the program. LeanStream CEO Jason Taylor said Atlanta Public Schools also signed a contract with LeanStream but that program has not yet launched.
“It’s an educational program at its core,” Taylor said.
Taylor said Wifi on the Go is in 20 school districts in Alabama and on in Tennessee, seeking to provide 21st century learning environments to students.
Operably, the pocket-sized Franklin T9 mobile hotspot functions anywhere T-Mobile provides 4G LTE service. The portable hotspot is designed to support multiple devices at once, but Taylor said the internet speeds vary based on the number of devices tethered to the network and how the wireless internet is being used. Activities that require high bandwidth, like video streaming, alter download and upload speeds.
A federal judge recently ruled to allow a merger between T-Mobile an competing wireless company Sprint, effectively creating a three similarly-sized wireless companies: T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T.
Lupuloff said the hotspot device and plan is open to full-time and part-time GCPS staff. Lupuloff said families of GCPS students and teachers that subscribe are grandfathered in even after an employee retirees or a student graduates.
Interested enrollees can sign up at bit.ly/GwinnettWIFI. There is a validation process in which employees will need their GCPS-issued email address and student families will need a special enrollment code. An enrollment code can be requested at email@example.com.