Apple and carriers will donate free devices and broadband to US schools

The White House won't be going it alone as it brings US classrooms into the internet era through its ConnectED initiative -- it just revealed that a host of technology firms will also lend a hand. Apple plans to donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks and software to underprivileged schools, while Autodesk and O'Reilly Media will give away free software and content. Microsoft, in turn, will heavily discount Windows to lower educational PC prices. Carriers are getting in on the action, too. AT&T and Sprint have both pledged to offer free wireless broadband to schools for multiple years; Verizon isn't giving away service, but it will donate up to $100 million in cash and other commitments. The combined efforts aren't going to fix the American education system by themselves, but they could create a level playing field for schools across the country.

[Image credit: Johan Larsson, Flickr]