Carriers Back Barack's ConnectED Broadband Plan With Big Bucks
The big 3 US carriers, as well as several other tech giants, are among the companies backing the US president's ConnectED broadband education program to the tune of more than $750 million, the White House announced Tuesday.
President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative on January 29. The public-private partnership aims to bring high-speed Internet to more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students during the next two years to help improve their connected experience. (See Better Broadband Isn't Enough for Schools.)
This Tuesday, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said it will pledge over $100 million to provide middle-school students with free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is pledging up to $100 million in cash and commitments for the program. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is pledging "free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million."
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), meanwhile, pledged $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products to help learning in disadvantaged schools. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) says it will deeply cut the price of its Windows operating system for all public schools, making devices more affordable for these establishments.
The government is also contributing money to the program. The US Department of Agriculture is making $10 million in distance-learning grants for rural schools. There will also be a $2 billion down payment on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to connect 20 million more students to broadband, starting in 2014.
You can see the White House fact sheet on the ConnectED initiative here.
Light Reading already has a lively debate on the uses of broadband in education here.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading