Microsoft, Apple helping Obama administration with high-speed broadband initiative for schools

President Barack Obama cited Microsoft and Apple in his State of the Union address as allies in his plan to help the U.S. government provide high-speed broadband to U.S. students, an initiative that has already impacted more than 15,000 schools.

During his State of the Union address on Wednesday, Obama reiterated plans to provide 99 percent of U.S. students with high-speed broadband access at their schools over the next four years. He added that the government has received support from companies to help get the project underway, two of which are Microsoft and Apple.

"Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit," Obama said.

His statements didn't clarify if the companies would be providing funds or technology and equipment, though he was possibly referring to the FCC's E-Rate program, which Microsoft offers products and services through.

Obama's educational broadband initiative, known as ConnectED, aims to give schools access to broadband with speeds of at least 100Mbps, though it's targeting speeds of 1Gbps. According to a White House blog post shortly after the program's announcement last year, less than 20 percent of teachers said their schools' Internet connections met teaching needs.

Microsoft's Twitter account said the company is "ready to answer the call" of the tech industry providing more investments in education, adding that more information on the company's commitment will be released soon.

Source: State of the Union (Full Text) | Image via White House

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22 Comments

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My bet:

Apple broadband connection will be better than MS connection.

im joking, after all both companies are neither a cable company nor a network company, i.e. they are just a middleware.

1Gbps eh? our schools here have a 1Gbps fiber ring between 5 buildings with a 1Gbps internet link, it's 80-100% saturated the entire school day and teachers whine about how "slow" it is...

Enron said,
1 gbps for 5 buildings? How many people in each of those buildings?

the entire district has about 4,000 students + 300 faculty members

each building has a 1Gbps link (EPL or Ethernet private line link in Comcast's Metro Ethernet lingo) those then go into a main router that has a 1Gbps EDI (Ethernet dedicated internet) line so building to building and to internet at all locations has 1Gbps available, just they share 1Gbps out the internet outside of their private ring

Do people actually believe this Moron....still?

He has lied so many times and people are worst off then they were 6 years ago.

Seriously, you gotta be a fool to still believe him. Everything this guy has touched has turned into garbage. Not one great thing in his time at office. Not one.

I hate how its only the HUGE companies that get mentioned. Cablevision in the NYC area gives schools and libraries free internet connections yet they do not get mentioned at all.

-adrian- said,
nevermind. Misread your comment at first Their is clearly a need in educating the people in US

Agreed. It just boggles the mind that this is the sort of nonsense we're focusing on when students are graduating school with no knowledge, skills, or training. They can't even balance a check book or understand credit. And God forbid they ever have to write a letter! LOL

Nice, but how about updated text books, equipment (other than tech), and better pay for teachers as well.

Edited by techbeck, Jan 29 2014, 1:53pm :

techbeck said,
Nice, but how about updated text books, equipment, and better pay for teachers as well.

Textbooks are transitioning to digital formats, so I imagine there could be some government funding there, and equipment is routinely donated, though the majority comes from school district budgets.

You'll have a harder time with the pay issue, as the federal government can't just pay teachers' salaries -- Congress would have a meltdown at the mere suggestion of such a thing. State governments have more of a role in salary legislation than the federal government.

Lots of places still use text books tho. I do agree, digital would be the way to go so hopefully computer equipment will be part of this. Other equipment I was talking about was athletic equipment and equipment used in class rooms like in biology/chemistry.

I know the government cannot just pay teachers more. Not sure how to address this but many teachers, good teachers, are under paid for what they do.

techbeck said,
Nice, but how about updated text books, equipment (other than tech), and better pay for teachers as well.

Without high speed internet access, the NSA are not fully able to monitor future terrorists!

techbeck said,
Nice, but how about updated text books, equipment (other than tech), and better pay for teachers as well.

Jobs when the kids get out of school might be nice too. Working to improve the future is certainly a good thing, but he needs to devote a little more time on fixing the problems of today. A better future needs a solid foundation in the form of a stable present.

DConnell said,

Jobs when the kids get out of school might be nice too. Working to improve the future is certainly a good thing, but he needs to devote a little more time on fixing the problems of today. A better future needs a solid foundation in the form of a stable present.

The problems of today, are also problems of yesterday. These are not new issues and schools in the US have been crap for some time now. Even before the internet was popular. Internet for schools will help, to an extent and schools are not all about internet access.. Schools need to be better funded.

Valid point, but he shouldn't be initiating more spending on new projects when the country is drowning in debt. All he's doing is trying to distract people from the train wreck that is Obamacare.

Also, AFAIK schools are funded on the state and local level, not the federal. Barry should keep his nose out of the states' business.

DConnell said,
Also, AFAIK schools are funded on the state and local level, not the federal. Barry should keep his nose out of the states' business.

Normally I would agree, but the states are not doing jack to correct the problem. So in situations like this, I welcome the FED to step in and try to do something about it.

The federal government is taking too much power that it shouldn't already. It might be with good intentions, but that's just paving on the road to hell.

And I don't think Obama's intentions are ever good.

Edited by DConnell, Jan 29 2014, 8:56pm :