An alarming number of school districts have come under cyber-attacks this year. Recognizing this need, school officials, along with city, state and federal authorities, have been hard at work to defend our educational institutions’ essential I.T. infrastructure.  Will the FCC join the fight to protect them?

The current E-rate rule making process would allow the FCC to guard our nation’s schools and libraries from malicious attacks. School districts need reliable networks in order to function; and network administrators deserve the resources necessary to help them protect I.T. infrastructure. No student should miss out on educational opportunities because of a cyber-attack – and the E-rate program can provide the support that is needed. We only need the FCC to act.

Fortunately, security is a hot topic at the FCC. It recently went out of its way to address network security, releasing new regulations about the use of foreign equipment that is considered a security risk.

In today’s increasingly connected world, safeguarding the security and integrity of America’s communications infrastructure has never been more important. (See Order paragraph 1)

In that same Order, the FCC went on encourage communications stakeholders to improve communications networks “with the goal of dramatically reducing threats perpetrated by automated and distributed attacks.” (See paragraph 10.)

Network security is a huge challenge for schools and libraries, and the E-rate program is perfectly positioned to provide timely assistance for this critical need. There is no debate about it. Even competitors can set aside their differences long enough to acknowledge the common good that is served by providing network security support to schools and libraries.

The price of prevention is small compared to the stakes involved. The FCC should do the right thing and make network security an integral a part of the E-rate program. We owe it to our students and library patrons.