MOORSEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- President Barack Obama is visiting a middle school in North Carolina, as he calls for federal regulators to help turn the nation's classrooms into digital learning centers.
Obama wants to equip schools with broadband and high-speed Internet connections at a cost of several billion dollars. He says it's a way to "help our students get ahead" in a digital age.
Obama is promoting an initiative that he says would mean faster Internet connections for 99 percent of students within five years.
He's calling on the Federal Communications Commission to fund the improvements through an existing program that puts Internet access into schools and libraries, using a surcharge on phone bills.
Administration officials cite a need for the U.S. to catch up to other countries, such as South Korea -- where all schools have high-speed Internet access, and where plans call for eliminating printed textbooks by 2016.
125-v-36-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent)--President Obama is launching a new bid to give the nation's school kids high-speed Internet. AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports. ((HFR til 6a)) (6 Jun 2013)
126-c-21-(Mark Smith, AP White House correspondent)-"of falling behind"-AP White House Correspondent Mark Smith reports the president is unveiling what he calls the "ConnectED" program to wire the nation's schools. ((HFR til 6a)) (6 Jun 2013)
GRAPHICSBANK: Barack Obama headshot, as US President, Washington DC, graphic element on gray (6 Jun 2013)
APPHOTO NCEV102: President Barack Obama hands his umbrella to White House photographer Pete Souza before greeting a group of soldiers after arriving at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, June 6, 2013, before traveling to Mooresville, N.C. to promote his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (6 Jun 2013)
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