America Just Got $2.75 Billion Closer to Internet in All Its Schools

A combination of private and public money will bring tech products and high-speed internet to public schools.
More
Ben Margot/AP Photo

Major tech and telecommunications companies are answering the president's call to connect 99 percent of U.S. schools with high-speed Internet within the next five years by pledging more than $750 million in donations. 

President Obama will announce Tuesday that Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon are just a handful of the private companies contributing over $750 million worth of services and funds to schools through the White House's ConnectED initiative.

Apple will pledge more than $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other services. Microsoft will make 12 million copies of its signature Office suite available at no cost. Sprint will provide wireless Internet to 50,000 low-income students, and AT&T and Verizon are both committing $100 million to the initiative.

"These companies have recognized the compelling national need for us to have the high-speed broadband that allows us to have the most modern, most effective learning classrooms in our country where every child can learn at their desk and have a world of learning at their fingertips," National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said on a press call Monday.

Obama's statement follows the Federal Communications Commission's announcement Monday that it is doubling investment in high-speed Internet access for schools from $1 billion to $2 billion through E-Rate, a program established in 1996 that is funded through fees on monthly phone bills.

Obama introduced the ConnectED initiative last summer, and he reiterated his goal to improve technology in U.S. schools during the State of the Union address last week. Without Congress to stand in his way, it has the potential to become one of the bigger accomplishments of his second term.

The education initiative could cost between $4 billion and $6 billion. Even with the infusion of funding from the FCC and the private sector, it's unclear where the rest of the funding will come from without raising fees on phone bills.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Laura Ryan

Laura is a staff correspondent for National Journal covering technology. She is grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wellesley College, where she received a B.A. in American Studies.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in

Just In