FCC Adopts $200M Cybersecurity Pilot Program for Schools & Libraries

From the K12 Tech Talk Podcast Newsroom — The big news this week is that the FCC announced the cybersecurity pilot we’ve been chattering about. It was a formal announcement, meaning it’s going to happen. It’s a three-year pilot.

And, to give our community a pat on the back, we did that poll on K12TechPro a while back — “Do you want us to submit a letter to the public open comments of the pilot?” — and we submitted letters from K12TechPro and K12 Tech Talk. With the announcement, we are cited! We’re in the official document. We were heard!

Read the details here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-200m-cybersecurity-pilot-program-schools-libraries-0.

We’re citation 412. If you’re wondering which sentence was cited, it’s not a sentence. Just a word: vital. “Vital.” Yes, we made it. Commenters emphasize that collaboration with other federal partners is “vital.”  “Vital.” We’re going to make a shirt out of that.

Long story short, the government is doing $200 million for this program. It aims to address cybersecurity threats facing schools and libraries. It will be administered by USAC. The idea is that it will defray the cost of eligible cybersecurity services and equipment.

How can you apply? It’s in the fall. You can read the Report and Order now. Find out what services, equipment, and items you want to apply for in the fall now. Research and think through things now. There will be a process you go through if you want to be a part of the pilot program.

They want a variety of district sizes and products requested. It sounds like they’re going to spread the money around.

There’s going to be a new form. The Form 484? It looks like you will say what cybersecurity services and equipment you want and request it as part of the pilot. Then you have to get detailed on what that is, similar to the E-Rate process.

This needs to happen, and it has needed to happen for years. Hopefully the pilot results in school districts being able to use the E-Rate formula and process to be able to choose cybersecurity along with all the other eligible things as the norm, empowering the school district’s tech director, CIO, E-Rate consultant, or whoever is over the E-Rate program to be the good steward of this funding.

To sum it up, this is long overdue, and we believe that efforts to ensure a high level of cybersecurity in schools is “vital!”

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