Digital Inclusion

Rural access

By the end of 2019, Verizon Wireless covered over 99% of the U.S. population, including just over 97% of those living in rural counties. Our rural coverage is supported through our LTE in Rural America (LRA) program. At the end of 2019, Verizon continued to partner with 18 carriers to provide LTE service in their rural areas via a growing network of active sites. The leases for the LRA participants cover just over 2.5 million people and more than 129,000 square miles through more than 1,350 LTE-enabled sites in 13 states. The LRA program continues to be an integral part of Verizon’s dedication to providing high-speed wireless data to rural communities.

Moving forward, we are going to evolve our work to be increasingly broadband-led and prioritized based on identifying areas of need. Despite our extensive network map, we recognize that there continue to be areas that can use better broadband coverage—and we are committed to continuing to work with partners to serve more populations in coming years.

Expanding access to the underserved

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data, some 15% of U.S. households with school-aged children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home.1 We’ve taken on the challenge as an opportunity to bring the power of digital technology to the underserved by partnering with nonprofits, schools and higher learning institutions to bring technology to students through our Verizon Innovative Learning initiative.

Verizon Innovative Learning

At Verizon, digital inclusion is about ensuring the benefits of technology are realized by all. Right now, millions of under-resourced students in the U.S. lack the connectivity, technology and skills required for success in today’s digital economy. That’s why, since 2014, we have been working to foster digital inclusion through a transformative program called Verizon Innovative Learning. We work hand-in-hand with nonprofit partners and our team of education and technology experts to build and administer STEM-focused programs that create the kinds of transformative opportunities that change lives.


Our Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program provides free technology, free internet access and technology-driven curriculum to help give students in under-resourced middle schools the technology, education and opportunity they deserve. Every student and teacher at a Verizon Innovative Learning school is equipped with a free tablet or Chromebook and up to a four-year data plan, giving more students the ability to achieve, learn and create more both at home and in school. The program also provides ongoing professional development to teachers to support student learning with technology. Our goal is to reach 350 schools by 2021.

Verizon Innovative Learning Labs

The Verizon Innovative Learning Lab program creates a custom-designed, state-of-the-art, experiential learning space within Verizon Innovative Learning schools. Powered by a next-gen, emerging technology-infused curriculum, including augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and professional learning, the Lab equips students with the opportunity to change the world by leveraging technology, social innovation and design thinking to impact their communities.

5G enabled learning

We brought 5G technology to the classroom in the third quarter of 2019, giving our students and teachers the opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. Our goal is to deploy it in 100 schools by the end of 2021. 5G enables immersive experiences using virtual and augmented reality, and advanced low-latency robotics which turn lesson plans into living, breathing, engaging experiences.

Young men of color / Rural young women programs

In addition to the schools program, Verizon Innovative Learning offers project-based learning experiences for middle school young men of color and rural young women. The project-based learning experiences leverage next-gen technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D design and printing and more in intensive summer camps followed by weekly enrichment classes year-round. These programs are hosted at partner Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions as well as community colleges countrywide.

Impact by the numbers

Schools programs

Schools program:

153 total schools have participated since 2014

85%of students participating in 2019 were eligible to receive free or reduced-cost lunch

Teachers reported classroom improvements:

85% of teachers said that the program allowed for more individualized instruction

82%of teachers said that the program enhanced their ability to differentiate instruction

78% of teachers said that the program enhanced student engagement

63% believe the program enhanced positive interactions among students in the classroom

Teachers’ technology proficiency improved:

89% said the program helped them explore new ways of teaching

71% said the program helped them reach goals they already set for their classroom and teaching

Students’ attitudes changed:

59% believed assignments were easier when using a tablet

54% believed having the device improved their confidence in the things they can do

Out of school programs

Young men of color

24 participating institutions

2,177 middle school young men

Rural young women

16 participating institutions

1,449 middle school young women

After participating in the 2019 summer program:

98% increased interest in STEM subjects

95% increased confidence in being successful

96% increased interest in a STEM career

89% increased interest in school

After participating in the 2019 summer program:

98% increased interest in STEM subjects

94% increased confidence in being successful

97% increased interest in a STEM career

88% increased interest in school