AT&T offers cheap wireless data to teachers and students stuck at home

Teachers only get free service if enough students are signed up, though.

Remote schooling is going to be a fixture of daily life for many people as long as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, and AT&T is acknowledging that reality beyond lifting data caps. It’s offering free wireless data service (including free hotspots) to teachers at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, helping their distance learning plans. However, there’s a catch: teachers will only get one line of free service for every 24 students that get a discounted $15 plan, so the freebie is only available if most or all of a classroom uses AT&T.

The pricing is available until December 29th, although schools that add at least one qualifying line can activate other lines under the same pricing until it ends on December 29th, 2022. Teachers who don’t get free access can still take advantage of a 25 percent discount on regular wireless plans (announced in July) for themselves and their families.

AT&T is making the move alongside a $10 million pledge to support “at-risk” students with internet access and hotspots. Districts and non-profits will get invitations to apply for support in the weeks ahead.

The offer is a not-so-subtle way to make AT&T integral to classrooms, at least as long as the pandemic continues. Even so, it’s an acknowledgment that teachers and students alike face real gaps in connectivity at a time when remote schooling is either the safest option or the only choice.