Tech Companies Contribute $750 Million Total for Obama's ConnectED Education Initiative
February 4, 2014 1:00 PM
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.
The Official Microsoft Blog
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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