FCC Broadband Initiative Tackles School Needs
Two dozen companies join technology effort
Prudence aside, Connect to Compete may represent the widespread effort to reach disadvantaged students with technology that some technology advocates have been awaiting for years.
Ken Eisner, the vice president of policy and new business development at One Economy, a nonprofit organization focused on giving connectivity to underserved communities, and a partner in Connect to Compete, said such an alliance may be coming together now not because of a lack of desire in the past, but because of a favorable confluence of conditions.
For one, Mr. Eisner said, there is the leadership and vision represented in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan—which includes many of the goals espoused by Connect to Compete—as well as the National Education Technology Plan released by the U.S. Department of Education. (Both documents were published in early 2010.) Then, he said, there is the increasing popularity of private-public partnerships, as public organizations work to combat budget constraints and companies look for new sources of business during lean economic times.
“Microsoft has really not just been looking at this as a philanthropic endeavor, but as an emerging market,” Mr. Eisner said. “There are 100 million people that haven’t adopted broadband, and this is where their growth market can come from.”
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