Print 27 comment(s) - last by shuninxuo.. on Feb 7 at 3:08 AM

Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all made pledges

Making sure students across the U.S. have access to the Web is a priority for President Barack Obama, and many major tech companies have backed him with pledges totaling around $750 million.

Obama is due to announce his commitments regarding the ConnectED initiative today, which aims to connect 99 percent of U.S. students to the Web via Internet-connected devices within five years. It will also make better use of existing funds to ensure Internet connectivity and train teachers on the use of devices and Web services. 

Major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have all made pledges to back this initiative via either computers, mobile devices, Internet service, discounts or cash. 

More specifically, Apple is contributing $100 million in iPads, computers and other tools; Verizon is pledging up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions; Microsoft is offering Windows-based tablets, laptops and devices at discounted prices as well as 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office software (which it says has the potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system), and AT&T and Sprint are pitching in with free Internet service through their respective wireless networks (AT&T is pledging $100 million of free mobile broadband access and Sprint said it will provide free wireless broadband service to 50,000 students nationwide for four years). 


Tech companies have a lot to gain by helping to equip students with their technology. Likely the top reason is to produce more engineering talent, as the country currently suffers a shortage of enginners who are U.S. citizens. American tech companies are prepping current students to learn and understand technology enough to potentially become future tech leaders and maybe even work for their companies.

It also boosts sales and market share of respective devices and services, such as Microsoft's offer of discounted Windows products. 

Sprint's four-year commitment will begin September 1 of this year while Microsoft's is effective immediately. 

Obama said only 1 in 5 American students had high-speed Internet access, which is far behind places like South Korea with 100 percent of students connected to high-speed wireless Internet. 

Just yesterday, it was reported that the FCC plans to double spending for broadband in schools and libraries to $2 billion. 

The ConnectED initiative, which was announced in June 2013, will provide high-speed broadband and stable Wi-Fi networks with speed no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps. 

Sources: The Official Microsoft Blog, PR Newswire, PR Newswire, Bloomberg

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Smoke and Mirrors
By Ammohunt on 2/4/2014 1:34:12 PM , Rating: 2
I can think of at least a dozen things that most American schools need more than wireless internet access starting with competent teachers.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By ven1ger on 2/4/2014 1:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
So exactly how would you start getting competent teachers, that hasn't been tried?

The majority of teachers are very good and dedicated, but like everything else you have a few bad ones. Teachers are inundated with regulations, disciplining, babysitting and other things that have nothing to do with the idea of teaching.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By spamreader1 on 2/4/2014 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 3
It's really not that hard. Stop spending so much on technology, and spend it more on recruiting/training better Teachers and books.

Book = $50ea average lifespan 5-8 years.
ipad = $300-$500ea depends on grant by local government, and bulk purchasing power = average lifespan 1-2 years, plus added isd it costs to support them with repairs, software, and infrastructure.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By Ammohunt on 2/4/2014 2:34:48 PM , Rating: 1
Easy you start by dissolving the teachers union, next you offer pay incentives to encourage higher quality teachers to enter the workplace and make them compete for jobs just like anyone else.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By KCjoker on 2/4/2014 6:42:49 PM , Rating: 1
That's crazy talk...get rid of bad teachers? There's no such thing if you ask the teacher's union.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By TheDoc9 on 2/4/2014 1:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
This can be part of it. Also, the teachers hands are tied when disciplining a child. Even in average schools this is a problem, only the upper middle class schools are relatively free of it.

For example, a teacher can't touch a child. Even if the kid is getting his ass kicked right in front of them. There is also no cussing or derogatory comments from the teacher. The most they can do is raise their voice.

The students of course have taken advantage of this. Along with bad influences outside of school they simply don't care or perform poorly.

Contrast this with the discipline in schools over seas, coupled with the parents constant encouragement to get a good education and move to/make money in America.

RE: Smoke and Mirrors
By spamreader1 on 2/4/2014 2:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that somewhat depends on where the school is. But in general you're right. Rights of the teachers have been whittled away.

In general our generation just isn't very disciplined, and doesn't discipline. Even in the workforce there's not much accountability for ones actions.

By HoosierEngineer5 on 2/4/2014 1:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
"the country currently suffers a shortage of enginners who are U.S. citizens."

I know a number of U.S. citizens who are 'enginners' who are looking for a job without much success.

RE: Misstatement
By TheDoc9 on 2/4/2014 1:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously, we're missing part of the statement:

"the country currently suffers a shortage of engineers willing to work for competitive (aka:low) pay who are U.S. citizens."

RE: Misstatement
By HostileEffect on 2/4/14, Rating: 0
RE: Misstatement
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 2:22:32 PM , Rating: 1
I cannot believe you just categorized Americans like that.

You're a bigot.

RE: Misstatement
By shuninxuo on 2/7/2014 3:08:09 AM , Rating: 2

So, if a college graduate is American, he most likely has alcohol, drug, financial, personal, attitude and legal problems?

Oh, and on top of all that, he or she is also lazy and abusive? Really?!

WTF school school did you attend, and who are these people you surround yourself with?

RE: Misstatement
By Flunk on 2/4/2014 2:37:31 PM , Rating: 3
It's likely they live in the wrong place, it's a big country.

Geography Fail
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: Geography Fail
By ven1ger on 2/4/2014 1:25:52 PM , Rating: 4
Well, let's not forget that South Korea's population is approx. 50 million. And the US has the highest GDP, while South Korea ranks 15.

It's troubling that a country that is supposedly a technology leader cannot provide the necessary connectivity to the majority of its population.

RE: Geography Fail
By ebakke on 2/4/2014 2:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. What level of connectivity is "necessary" for the populace? And necessary for what? Arguably the majority of the population has whatever amount of connectivity the need already. They may want more, but few circumstances need it.

RE: Geography Fail
By superflex on 2/4/2014 4:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
You need to get out and see how big this country is. Have you ever driven across the country? Wiring it all for broadband is a serious undertaking and population density has a lot to do with it.

Comparing S. Korea to the US is an apples to oranges comparison, but why would Obama present the facts in a logical manner.

You my friend are one of the useful idiots this administration preys upon. Can't critically think outside what your told.

RE: Geography Fail
By TSS on 2/4/2014 10:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Lets also not forget the US has the population of south korea on food stamps right now. High speed internet doesn't really work if there's no computer to plug it into.

I find it more troubling this situation takes less priority then providing "high speed internet", which last i checked, doesn't mean "no internet". And is also a situation caused by the very entity now proclaiming to it needs fixing.

RE: Geography Fail
By Reclaimer77 on 2/5/2014 9:08:20 AM , Rating: 1
That's because the current Administration wants everyone on food stamps.

Obama want's your food, healthcare, housing, smartphone, internet and utilities to be provided by the Government.

Why? Because once you're completely dependent on the Government, you'll keep voting Democrat for life.

RE: Geography Fail
By ven1ger on 2/4/2014 1:25:54 PM , Rating: 1
Well, let's not forget that South Korea's population is approx. 50 million. And the US has the highest GDP, while South Korea ranks 15.

It's troubling that a country that is supposedly a technology leader cannot provide the necessary connectivity to the majority of its population.

RE: Geography Fail
By ven1ger on 2/4/2014 1:26:47 PM , Rating: 3
opps...sorry for the double posting..slow connection on my end.

RE: Geography Fail
By gamerk2 on 2/4/2014 1:34:28 PM , Rating: 4
The irony.

RE: Geography Fail
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: Geography Fail
By senecarr on 2/4/2014 1:34:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the United States has a lot of area, and a lot of nobody living in a lot of it. Geography is used as an excuse for poor infrastructure by a lot of free marketers that don't want to look at the real reasons the US is behind other countries. Even when you take an apples to apples look at dense urban areas in the US they fall far short of the national average of most other developed countries, and even a lot of developing countries.
Britain used to have similar issues with being behind in broadband penetration. They ended up improving things by forcing the main infrastructure telecom into leasing access to wires to other providers. The result has lead to huge price drops, and some increases in offered speed, even in highly rural areas.

RE: Geography Fail
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/14, Rating: -1
RE: Geography Fail
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2014 4:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well don't let the facts get in the way of your nationalism and bigotry guys.

RE: Geography Fail
By Rukkian on 2/5/2014 12:11:58 PM , Rating: 1
While it may be more expensive, everybody has the opportunity to have (relatively) high speed internet if they are willing to pay for it. If you want to live in the country, you may not have alot of choices, but something is available to probably 99.99% of people in the country. Satellite internet is available pretty much anywhere. While it does not provide unlimited downloads, without large bills, educational purposes really does not require lots of downloads.

If you want a lot of choices, then you have to move where there are more people to make it cost effective to have choices. Pretty much everybody can also get dialup. While that has always sucked, it is available. I don't see how fast, cheap internet is a right (contrary to popular opinion).

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