Cybersecurity Pilot Program Announced by FCC

The Federal Communications Commission recently approved a $200 million, three-year pilot program to boost cybersecurity in schools and libraries. The Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program will fund eligible participating school systems at a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $1.5 million. Funding amounts will be determined using a formula that estimates a cost of $13.60 per student.

Qualifying districts may use the funds to secure their networks under four categories: advanced or next-generation firewalls; endpoint protection; identity protection and authentication; and monitoring, detection, and response.

The program is an attempt to stop threats like last May’s ransomware attack on the Seattle Public Library that disrupted technology systems and crippled digital services to patrons. Cyberattacks cost academic institutions upwards of $9 billion in 2022 alone and Texas libraries could also be vulnerable to such attacks.

The funding for the pilot program will come from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund and will be separate from the commission’s E-rate program, a federal program that helps schools and libraries pay for broadband access. The FCC also said it will study the impact of the pilot program as it considers future changes to the E-rate program.

The three-year program will gather data about which cybersecurity and advanced firewall services will have the greatest impact in helping K-12 schools and libraries protect their broadband network and data. The pilot will also help defray the costs of such services for eligible K-12 schools and libraries in rural and low-income communities.

To learn more about the Cybersecurity Pilot Program, here are some available resources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.