The top Award of Excellence in Public/Private Partnership honors Sprint’s commitment to Chicago’s Smart Communities initiative, which aims to shrink the Digital Divide
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 21, 2011 – Calling it a “successful and outstanding relationship,” The U.S. Conference of Mayors today awarded Sprint (NYSE:S, news, filings) and the City of Chicago its Award of Excellence in Public/Private Partnership for the teamwork exhibited on the city’s Smart Communities Digital Excellence Initiative.
During its 79th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., today, The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) recognized the joint effort by Sprint and Chicago to bring broadband access to underserved communities throughout the city.
“We are truly honored to receive this recognition and are thankful that we are able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause,” said Sprint’s Kimberly Green-Kerr, Midwest vice president for business. “Sprint and the City of Chicago have a long and productive history and I’m glad we’re able to roll up our sleeves and help bring the latest technology to the communities that need it.”
Chicago’s Smart Communities program is a three-phase project designed to spotlight five pilot neighborhoods in need of a “digital transformation.” In the first phase, 60 students in the communities attended a summer technology program and, upon completion, received free prepaid Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go USB devices and six months of service. Phase Two will include more than 1,000 adults in the neighborhoods receiving free or reduced 3G/4G broadband services from Sprint. Phase Three is designed to give all 270,000 residents in the five communities – Auburn Gresham, Pilsen, Chicago Lawn, Humboldt Park and Englewood – access to reduced-cost broadband options.
“When you talk about the Digital Divide, you’re talking about something that’s real and very hard to overcome,” said Dan Gillison, Sprint’s national public sector director. “Unless these residents are given a helping hand to bridge that divide, they’ll fall farther and farther behind as this country becomes more technologically advanced. Sprint and the City of Chicago are giving them that helping hand.”
Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, offers millions of customers control, flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk™ plans for mobile phone service and prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access. For more information, visit www.virginmobileusa.com
The Sprint 3G network reaches more than 283 million people in more than 19,000 cities (inclusive of data roaming). In addition, Sprint first launched 4G in Chicago in November 2009 and it is currently available in 71 markets across the country. For more information, visit www.sprint.com/4G.
ABOUT THE U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.
ABOUT SPRINT NEXTEL
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.8 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Candace Johnson, 317-660-2232