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ConnectED brings in $2B in federal funds for high-speed Internet at schools

ConnectED brings in $2B in federal funds for high-speed Internet at schools

Obama announces commitments at Maryland middle school; tech firms pledge $750M

Major tech companies including the three top wireless U.S. carriers on Tuesday committed $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies to K-12 classrooms across the U.S.

President Obama also announced that the Federal Communications Commission will invest $2 billion during the next two years to expand high-speed Internet at America's schools and libraries.

AT&T, Sprint and Verizon pledged about $100 million each toward the ConnectED initiative, while Apple said it would pitch in $100 million in iPads, MacBooks and other products, and Microsoft announced deep discounts on its Windows operating system used in schools.

Other gifts include an Autodesk 3D design program called "Design the Future" for free to every secondary school in the U.S., with a value of $250 million. O'Reilly Media also is partnering with Safari Books Online to provide $100 million in educational content and tools.

Obama called attention to the ConnectED program during a visit to Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md. Fewer than 30% of America's school have sufficient broadband, but ConnectED has a goal to provide high speed broadband to 99% of schools by 2017.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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