Updated March 30 at 1:30pm

For ‘Sandy’ states, firms donate up to 26 smartphones, discounted 4G to nonprofits


NORTH PROVIDENCE – In a move to drive low-cost tech and communication systems to area nonprofits involved in local post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, the Mobile Beacon Product Donation and TechSoup program expanded their 4G device allowance, granting eligible groups up to 26 broadband-capable tablets or smartphones, the partnership announced Thursday.

Mobile Beacon is a North Providence-based national provider of 4G mobile broadband services, exclusively devoted to nonprofit groups. TechSoup Global operates technological outreach and optimization programs that serve a growing network of international nonprofits, looking to maximize the network’s “philanthropic impact.”

Launched in April 2012, the Mobile Beacon and TechSoup efforts resolve to make donated mobile broadband technology and discounted services like cellular data plans available to area nonprofits, disbursing donated 4G devices to 501(c)(3)s, schools, libraries, as well as government agencies involved in veterans services and emergency management.

“Hundreds of these organizations now use cutting-edge technology tools to deliver their social missions more effectively both in and away from the office,” Karen Coppock, TechSoup vice president of strategy and impact, said in prepared remarks. Since it left the ground, the program has delivered devices and mobile broadband to more than 800 organizations and expanded its typical contribution of one 4G donated device per fiscal year to 10. Organizations that did not receive a device in the fiscal year can apply for up to 11, and groups located in Sandy-struck states like Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York may request up to 26 in the fiscal year, providing Internet access “when and where it is most needed,” said Coppock.

The 4G device donation doesn’t include complementary mobile wireless internet, but at $10 per month per device, Mobile Beacon offers it at rates far below other unlimited 4G plans.

“We hope that both the cost-savings and mobile access will provide a flexible framework for these organizations to continue their missions,” Katherine Messier, managing director for Mobile Beacon, said in prepared remarks.


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