MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York state’s public schools are in need of broadband technology, says Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

“There are more than 500 schools that don’t have one connection that meets the broadband criteria that most of you have in your homes. That is a tragedy,” Schmidt said during an appearance in Mineola, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported.

Schmidt is a member of the state’s Smart Schools Commission, which is proposing a $2 billion plan to bring broadband and other integrated technology into every public school. The Smart Schools Bond Act is on next week’s ballot.

New York’s children need the technology to compete, Schmidt said.

“They could be the next great entrepreneur or the great legislator or the great citizen,” he said. “Broadband is the key to doing that.”

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