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Obama: $750 Million in Technology Donated to U.S. Schools

Apple, Microsoft and phone companies are offering hundreds of millions of dollars in free computers and internet service to U.S. schools, President Obama announced Tuesday in Maryland.

President Barack Obama spoke at a suburban Maryland school that equips each student with iPads. File|Patch
President Barack Obama spoke at a suburban Maryland school that equips each student with iPads. File|Patch

President Barack Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Prince George's County Tuesday to talk about bringing better technology to students nationwide, reports NBC 4 in Washington.

During his trip to the school in Adelphi, the president shared his ConnectED initiative, a plan to connect 99 percent of students in the U.S. to next generation broadband or wireless technology. He picked Buck Lodge because it's a school that's already tech savvy, the TV station said, featuring iPads for use in classrooms and at home, plus homework programs online.

Obama wants other schools to follow the Prince George’s County school within five years, the station says. According to the Department of Education, 80 percent of schools currently have internet access that's simply too slow or too limited.

The president used his stop at the Adelphi school to announce $750 million in commitments from U.S. companies to begin wiring more classrooms with high-speed Internet. Apple is pledging $100 million in iPads, computers and other tools. AT&T and Sprint are contributing free Internet service through their wireless networks. Verizon is pitching in up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions. And Microsoft is making its Windows software available at discounted prices and offering 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office software, says the Washington, D.C. Fox station.

"In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it in our schools," Obama said.

Beyond the promise of millions in donated hardware and software, the Federal Communications Commission also is setting aside $2 billion from service fees to connect 15,000 schools and 20 million students to high-speed Internet over two years, the Fox station reports.

Obama last year announced his goal of bringing high-speed Internet to 99 percent of students within five years. He used Tuesday's announcement as another example of how to act without waiting on Congress, the station says.

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