Tech Companies Contribute $750 Million Total for Obama's ConnectED Education Initiative
February 4, 2014 1:00 PM
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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.
The Official Microsoft Blog
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RE: Geography Fail
2/4/2014 1:34:47 PM
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
2/4/2014 2:13:15 PM
The devil is in the details. Canadians tell me, despite statistics, their Internet is horrible.
Britain's Internet is all screwed up, now complete with a Big Brother national porn filter.
According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s National Broadband Map, America is literally awash with broadband choices:
89 percent of Americans have a choice of five or more broadband providers, including wireless and satellite.
85 percent of Americans have a choice of two or more wireline broadband providers.
96 percent have a choice between wireline, terrestrial wireless and satellite.
Only a tenth of one percent of Americans are beyond the reach of all broadband services.
America’s broadband companies are less profitable than those in Europe, and the prices they charge are the third lowest in the world for entry-level service plans.
Americas broadband woes are based on a set of facts that doesn't really exist. Our Internet is faster, cheaper, and more readily available on average. We're also the world LEADER in mobile broadband technology, bar none.
RE: Geography Fail
2/4/2014 4:37:46 PM
Well don't let the facts get in the way of your nationalism and bigotry guys.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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