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.
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Today in bad news for Donald Trump:
- Newsweek found that a company he controlled did business with Cuba under Fidel Castro "despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." In 1998, he spent at least $68,000 there, which was funneled through a consluting company "to make it appear legal."
- The Los Angeles Times reports that at a golf club he owns in California, Trump ordered that unattractive female staff be fired and replaced with prettier women.
In some of the first state-by-state surveys since Monday night's debate, Hillary Clinton has the edge in five battlegrounds, according to polls by Public Policy Polling. In four-way matchups, Clinton leads Donald Trump 46%-40% in Colorado, 45%-43% in Florida, 44%-42% in North Carolina, 45%-39% in Pennsylvania, and 46%-40% in Virginia. Gary Johnson doesn't top 7% in any state. Voters in all five states thought that Clinton decisively won the debate.