AT&T, Sprint Promise Free Wireless Service for Schools
Last week's State of the Union address made reference
to a new Obama plan to shore up connectivity to schools, the government promising to bring 100 Mbps to 99% of schools within the next four years. The problem was that the address -- and the original plan announcement from last June
-- contained virtually no information on how the government intended to achieve that goal.
Several announcements this week have started to clarify things -- somewhat.
One, the FCC announced that that it would be boosting investment in school broadband by $2 billion
by "reprioritizing existing E-Rate funds to focus on high-capacity Internet connectivity, increasing efficiency, and modernizing management of the E-Rate program." In short, they mean using less of the $2.4 billion E-rate funds provided to companies and schools annually on traditional phone service, and more of it on broadband.
At the other end, the government is expected today to announce that a number of technology companies will spend $750 million combined
on free computer hardware and telecom services (albeit far from 100 Mbps) for schools for a limited time:
Apple has agreed to donate $100 million in free iPads, MacBooks and software to disadvantaged schools. AT&T will donate $100 million in free wireless broadband service to middle school students over three years. Sprint is also donating $100 million in free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over a four-year period.
This goes a long way toward getting a little more specific about how the ConnectED initiative will work, and will certainly be welcome news for schools (depending on the strings attached, perhaps). Still, none of this really addresses concerns that E-Rate still needs real reform (as the consistent flood of scandals highlights
), who'll be running these 100 Mbps lines to the nation's unserved schools, or the fact that with $30 billion poured into E-Rate by consumers already, these schools should have been wired for broadband long ago.Update
: the White House announcement is here
Re: 100Mbps? A lot of these services are for students that take home Chrome Books or Tablets. Many students/parents cannot afford internet services at home. Since many classrooms are becoming digital per Common Core Standards, these services will allow to student to achieve their academic goals. These services would be proxied through content filters to prevent access to inappropriate sites based on the school policies.
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Re: 100Mbps? Not what I'm getting at at all.
What I'm getting at is, how much is this going to cost per month for each school? Plus, if some schools can barely get a T1, how the heck are they going to deliver 100mbps in the area?
They complain about capacity all the time, yet they claim they can handle this just fine. I call bullsh*t. Feeding a tower with 8x T1 lines does not = 100mbps. Sure, you could do 3x DS3's, but that would get cost prohibitive.
..unless you plan to charge insane rates for these speeds. Like >$50,000/mo per school.
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
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MyLaptop[Asus G53SX,32GB RAM,2x1TB HDD,Win7]
WifeWS[C2D@2.4G,4G RAM,250G HDD,Win7]
Router[PE1750,4G RAM,3x36G HDD,2xIntel Pro/1000+GT Quad Port,Gentoo]
In my Hood Around here all schools have fiber from both the local Telco and comcast