ConnectED program could deliver 100Mbps broadband to 99 percent of US students

Many attempts to supply broadband to US students, on- and off-campus, have been imperfect at best: they either leave gaps in coverage or carry woefully inadequate bandwidth. The White House is aiming for much, much better service through its ConnectED initiative. The proposed five-year program would rework the FCC's E-Rate subsidies to offer at least 100Mbps broadband (and ideally 1Gbps) to 99 percent of American students. Schools could also use their funding to set up WiFi, although they would have to pay for any computing power themselves. ConnectED would add about 40 cents a month to phone bills, but it could put most schools on an equal plane -- and keep pace with increasingly faster connections at home.

[Image credit: Johan Larsson, Flickr]

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June 6, 2013

President Obama Unveils ConnectED Initiative to Bring America's Students into Digital Age

Calls on FCC to leverage E-Rate program to have 99 percent of students connected within 5 years

WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama today unveiled a bold, new initiative called ConnectED to connect 99 percent of America's students to the internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years, calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal. The President also directed the federal government to make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages. And he called on businesses, states, districts, schools and communities to support this vision. This ambitious initiative does not require Congressional action.

"We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology," said President Obama. "So today, I'm issuing a new challenge for America – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student in America's classrooms to high-speed broadband internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it."

Preparing America's students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning experiences driven by new technology. But today, millions of students lack high-speed broadband access and fewer than 20 percent of educators say their school's Internet connection meets their teaching needs. ConnectED will bring high-speed Internet within their reach, with a particular benefit for rural communities that have lagged behind in connectivity.

In addition to connecting America's students, ConnectED harnesses the ingenuity of the American private sector get new technologies into students' hands and support digital learning content.

ConnectED also better invests existing federal funds to ensure that every educator in America receives support and training in using education technology tools to improve student learning. For more details on the ConnectED initiative, click HERE.

The ambitious new vision for digital, connected learning builds on work the Administration has done over the past four years to increase broadband access across the country.