Obama to talk school broadband program

President Obama this week will travel to Adelphi, Md., to talk about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to hook virtually all American students up to the Internet.  

In remarks at a middle school on Tuesday, Obama will detail “progress toward his ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years,” the White House announced on Monday morning.

The planned remarks come after Obama praised the ConnectED program, which updated the FCC’s E-Rate initiative, in his State of the Union address last week.

In the speech, Obama said that the administration has made a “down payment” on the plan to bring broadband service to 20 million students in 15,000 schools across the country. The White House has said that Obama would announce additional partnerships in coming weeks.

The initiative is being aided by partnerships with companies like Apple, which has pledged to contribute laptops, iPads, software and technical expertise to support the program.

Obama unveiled the ConnectED program last year, as a target for the FCC to hit with its E-Rate program. The program gives discounts to help schools and libraries connect to the Internet, and is funded by fees on monthly phone bills.

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the FCC plans to double the funding toward bringing broadband to schools and libraries over the next two years, from $1 billion to $2 billion. According to the Times, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will announce more details at an event on Wednesday.