Apple, Microsoft join carriers in $750M pledge to education

The companies are providing education tools, devices, and wireless service as part of President Obama's ConnectEd initiative.

Roger Cheng
Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
2 min read
President Barack Obama is pushing to get tech companies to support K-12 public education. Whitehouse.gov live stream/Screenshot by CNET

President Barack Obama has won a commitment totaling $750 million from a number of technology companies to help low-income students in K-12 public schools get early access to the Internet and educational tools.

Apple is pledging $100 million in iPads, according to the AP. Microsoft is offering up its "billion-dollar response," which is essentially the potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system. The company will offer Windows-based tablets, laptops, and devices through its manufacturing partners; 12 million copies of Office; copies of its Windows 8.1 Pro operating system; and student and teacher educational resources.

Meanwhile, AT&T and Sprint are pitching in with a pledge to provide free wireless service to students.

Verizon will invest $100 million in cash and other contributions to accelerate the development of teachers dealing with science, technology, engineering, and math.

President Obama is scheduled to announce the program later Tuesday.

The Federal Communications Commission is also expected to set aside service fees over two years to connect another 20 million students to broadband Internet.

The moves are all part of Obama's ConnectEd initiative, which was name-checked -- alongside several of the companies -- during his recent State of the Union address. One of the President's priorities has been to provide high-tech tools and online access to students to improve education and to focus on the ultra-competitive areas of tech and science.

The White House has a goal of connecting 99 percent of students with high-speed Internet within five years, something that other countries already enjoy.