Obama pushes for higher speed broadband in schools

The goal is for 100Mbps to 1Gbps to 99 percent of students within five years

U.S. President Barack Obama wants the nation's students to have access to faster broadband in their schools and libraries.

Obama on Thursday announced an initiative, called ConnectED, with the goal of bringing 100Mbps to 1Gbps broadband connections to 99 percent of students, through schools and libraries, within five years.

"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," Obama said during a speech at a North Carolina middle school. "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."

Obama asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to revamp its existing E-Rate program, focused on wiring schools and libraries, to push faster wired and mobile broadband into the same buildings.

ConnectED will also use existing federal funding to train teachers in technology education, and it will allow schools to band together to get volume purchasing deals on computing devices.

ConnectED earned praise from some U.S. lawmakers and Internet providers.

"I wholeheartedly support the president's call to modernize the E-Rate program in order to bring faster broadband speeds to our nation's schools and libraries," Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, said in a statement. "To enable a 21st century digital classroom, supported by high-definition video, cloud-based services and other advanced applications, we need bandwidth --- and lots of it."

Comcast also supports Obama's goals, said Sena Fitzmaurice, the company's vice president of government communications.

"We applaud the president for spotlighting the critical importance of robust broadband connections in schools with the launch of the ConnectED initiative," she said in an email. "This program will build on the substantial work by the FCC and the cable industry to bring high-speed Internet access to all Americans -- in schools, in libraries, and also in their homes because Internet connectivity at schools must be paired with access at home to gain the full educational benefits of the Internet."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentbroadbandtelecommunicationBarack ObamacomcastU.S. Federal Communications CommissionAnna EshooSena Fitzmaurice

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?