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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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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.

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