LIVE @ ISTE 2024: Exclusive Coverage

The FCC's cybersecurity pilot will explore how federal support can help schools and libraries bolster their networks against cyberattacks.

FCC adopts $200M cybersecurity pilot program


The cybersecurity pilot program will explore how Universal Service Fund support can help schools and libraries bolster their network defenses against cyberattacks

Key points:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 6 adopted a three-year, $200 million Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program, which will allow the FCC to obtain and analyze actionable data about which cybersecurity services and equipment would best help K-12 schools and libraries address growing cyberthreats and attacks against their broadband networks.

Through the pilot, the FCC aims to learn how to improve school and library defenses against sophisticated ransomware and cyberattacks that put students at risk and impede their learning.

The pilot will enable the FCC to gather the data needed to better understand whether and how universal service funds could be used to support the cybersecurity needs of schools and libraries and to share lessons learned with our federal partners to jointly combat this growing problem.

“This is a landmark moment for schools and libraries across the nation. The cybersecurity threats facing our educational institutions are significant,” said Funds For Learning CEO John Harrington in a statement. “This pilot program represents a crucial step in providing the resources necessary to safeguard sensitive information and maintain secure, reliable access to digital learning tools.

“Cybersecurity in education is not just about protecting data; it’s about safeguarding our children’s future and ensuring a safe, uninterrupted learning environment for all. We commend the FCC for acknowledging the urgency of these issues and taking initial steps to address the cybersecurity concerns of E-rate applicants.”

In Funds For Learning’s annual E-rate Applicant Survey, over the past six years, more than 95 percent of respondents believe cybersecurity products and services should be eligible for E-rate support. In the 2023 survey, over 100 applicants shared their individual opinions about the need for cybersecurity.

“CoSN applauds the FCC for its leadership in helping school districts tackle the serious and universal problem of cybersecurity threats,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “This pilot program will not only provide much-needed support to a select group of schools and libraries but also offer valuable insights into the scope of the challenge and the resources required to keep our students and educators safe online. We look forward to working closely with the FCC to ensure the program’s success and to build a more secure future for schools’ digital infrastructure.”

Modeled after the Connected Care Pilot Program, the pilot program will make $200 million in Universal Service Fund support available to participating schools and libraries to defray the costs of eligible cybersecurity services and equipment. These funds are separate from the FCC’s E-rate program, to ensure gains in enhanced cybersecurity do not undermine the E-rate’s success in connecting schools and libraries and promoting digital equity.

This pilot is part of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s Learn Without Limits initiative, which addresses the Homework Gap by ensuring connectivity in schools and libraries so everyone, everywhere has access to high-speed internet services. This initiative includes Wi-Fi on school buses, E-rate support for libraries in Tribal communities, and funding from the FCC’s E-rate program for the off-premises use of Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet access services.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Laura Ascione

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.

New Resource Center
Explore the latest information we’ve curated to help educators understand and embrace the ever-evolving science of reading.
Get Free Access Today!

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Email Newsletters:

By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.