updated 11:16 am EST, Tue February 4, 2014
Obama initiative valued at about $750 million
US President Barack Obama is today announcing commitments from several US corporations towards connecting more students to high-speed Internet, says the Associated Press. In all, about $750 million has been pledged; Apple is offering $100 million in iPads, computers, and other tools, while Verizon is providing the same amount in straight cash and in-kind contributions. AT&T and Sprint are offering free Internet access; Microsoft is promising copies of Windows at discounted rates, and 12 million free copies of Microsoft Office.
To add to this, the Federal Communications Commission is setting aside $2 billion from service fees over two years in order to connect another 20 million students. The combined efforts are going towards fulfilling a goal Obama declared last summer, which was having 99 percent of students on high-speed Internet within five years. At the time, he noted that only about one in five US students had that access, whereas countries like South Korea are completely connected.
Obama and the White House also recently secured pledges from US companies to change hiring practices for the long-term unemployed. It's believed that intentionally or not, many businesses are biased towards hiring people who have been unemployed for less than six months, even though there may be no difference in qualifications.