Leading technology and telecom companies have heeded President Barack Obama's call for boosting educational broadband and have collectively pledged some $750 million to the initiative. The contributions to the ConnectED program -- which aims to greatly expand broadband in schools by 2017 -- include millions of dollars in iPads, MacBooks and software from Apple, and three years' worth of free wireless broadband service to middle school students from AT&T. "Rather than simply go off on their own ... these companies have recognized a compelling national need for us to have high-speed broadband and to have the most modern, effective learning in classrooms," said Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

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