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Cybersecurity Pilot Program

Cybersecurity Pilot Program Webinar

On June 12, 2024, Funds For Learning hosted a special webinar to cover details of schools and libraries cybersecurity pilot program. You can view the recording of the June 12th cybersecurity pilot program webinar by clicking the button below.

Cybersecurity Pilot Updates

To receive updates about Cybersecurity Pilot Program please complete this form. FFL will use it’s best efforts to provide you with latest cybersecurity pilot program updates.

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Cybersecurity Pilot Program Resources

FCC Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program website here

USAC Cybersecurity Pilot Program website here

Cybersecurity Pilot Program

Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program (Pilot Program)

Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program (Pilot Program), is meant to study the effectiveness of using universal service funding to support cybersecurity services and equipment to protect school and library broadband networks. The three-year Pilot Program provides up to $200 million in Universal Service Fund support available to participating eligible schools and libraries to defray the costs of eligible cybersecurity services and equipment.

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What is Covered?

The Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program (Pilot Program), modeled after the Connected Care Pilot Program, to study
the effectiveness of using universal service funding to support cybersecurity services and equipment to protect school and library broadband networks. Funds will be available for four general categories of technology. Those categories include: Advanced and Next-Generation Firewalls, Endpoint Protection, Identity Protection and Authentication, as well as Monitoring, Detection, and Response. Read the full Pilot Program Order here

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Proposed Cybersecurity Pilot Program Rules  

Pilot funding and duration:

The pilot will be a three-year program funded with up to $200 million.

Funding cap come from unused E-rate funds from prior funding years to minimize the impact on the contribution factor.

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Funding caps and prioritization: 

Pilot program participants will be subject to a pre-discount “budget” similar to the current Category Two budget system used in the E-rate program.

School applicants’ budget will be set at $13.60 per student and Library applicants will receive a budget of $15,000 per library location. 

All applicants will be subject to a $15,000 budget minimum (for schools with fewer than 1,100 students) and a $1.5 million budget maximum (for schools with more than 110,000 students).

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Eligible services:

Services and/or equipment are eligible if they ‘constitute a protection designed to improve or enhance the cybersecurity of a K-12 schools, library or consortia.

Pilot Eligible Services List, enumerates as eligible, in a non-limiting manner, four general categories of technology for pilot-eligible products and services, including: Advanced and Next-Generation Firewalls, Endpoint Protection, Identity Protection and Authentication, and Monitoring, Detection, and Response

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Application process

The FCC has divided its participation application (FCC Form 484) into two parts:
 
Part one of the application “will collect a more general level of cybersecurity information about the applicant and its proposed Pilot project, and will use pre-populated data where possible, as well as several “yes/no” questions and questions with a predetermined set of responses. 
 
If selected to participate, an applicant will then be required to complete part two of the application, which will collect more detailed information about the applicant’s current cybersecurity posture, training, and policies and history of cyber threats.    

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Application process modeled after E-rate:

Selected participants will undergo an application process that is very similar to the current E-rate process. This includes competitive bidding via FCC Form 470, requesting discounts via FCC Form 471, and invoicing via BEARs or SPIs (FCC Forms 472 or 474.

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Pilot Program Eligible Services List

Advanced/Next-Generation Firewalls

Equipment and services that implement advanced/next-generation firewalls, including software-defined firewalls and Firewall as a Service, are eligible. Specifically, equipment, services, or a combination of equipment and services that limits access between networks, excluding basic firewalls that are funded through the Commission’s E-Rate program, are eligible.

Eligible equipment and services may include the following features, substantially similar features, or their equivalents:

  • Advanced Threat Detection and Prevention
  • AI/ML Threat Detection and Response
  • Application Awareness & Control
  • Cloud-Delivered Threat Intelligence
  • Comprehensive Network Visibility Software-defined Firewalls
  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
  • Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Protection
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS)
  • Integrated Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Security
  • Intrusion Prevention/Detection
  • Malware Detection
  • Network Segmentation
  • Patch Management Systems
  • VPN
Endpoint Protection

Equipment and services that implement endpoint protection are eligible. Specifically, equipment, services, or a combination of equipment and services that implements safeguards to protect school- and library-owned end-user devices, including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, against cyber threats and attacks are eligible.

Eligible equipment and services may include the following features, substantially similar features or their equivalents:

  • Anti-Malware
  • Anti-Ransomware
  • Anti-Spam
  • Anti-Virus
  • Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
  • Extended Detection & Response (XDR)
  • Insider and Privilege Misuse
  • Privileged Access Management
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Inspections
  • Target Intrusions
  • Web Application Hacking
Identity Protection and Authentication

Equipment and services that implement identity protection and authentication are eligible. Specifically, equipment, services, or a combination of equipment and services that implements safeguards to protect a user’s network identity from theft or misuse and/or provide assurance about the network identity of an entity interacting with a system are eligible.

Eligible equipment and services may include the following features, substantially similar features, or their equivalents:

  • Active Countermeasure Tools
  • Cloud Application Protection
  • Cloud Services
  • Credential Stuffing
  • Content Blocking and Filtering/URL Filtering
  • Content Caching Systems and Service
  • Customer Portal Services
  • Digital Identity Tools
  • Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Protection
  • DNS/DNS-Layer Security, Blocking, and Filtering
  • Email and Web Security
  • Identity Governance & Technologies
  • Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
  • Logging Practices / Event Logging
  • Network Access Control
  • Offsite/Immutable back-ups
  • MFA/Phishing-Resistant MFA
  • Patching
  • Password Spraying
  • Privileged Identity Management
  • Products with TPM Chips
  • Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
  • Secure-By-Design Equipment and Services
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
  • Security Updates
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
  • Web Content Controls
  • Wireless Access Controllers
  • Zero Trust Architecture
Monitoring, Detection, and Response

Equipment and services that implement monitoring, detection and response are eligible. Specifically, equipment, services, or a combination of equipment and services that monitor and/or detect threats to a network and that take responsive action to remediate or otherwise address those threats is eligible.

Eligible equipment and services may include the following features, substantially similar features, or their equivalents:

  • Advanced Attack Surface Management and Asset Management Solutions
  • Bug Bounty Solutions & Services
  • Compliance Assessment
  • Dark Web Scanning
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Internal/External Vulnerability Scanning
  • Network/Device Monitoring & Response
  • Network Security Audit
  • Network Traffic Analysis
  • Managed Detection & Response (MDR)
  • Managed Service Providers
  • Maturity Models
  • Network Detection Response (NDR)
  • Penetration Testing
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) for Around the Clock (24/7/365) Monitoring, Detection, and Response
  • Threat Hunting/Updates and Threat Intelligence
  • Vulnerability Management

 Notes:

  • Certain technologies (e.g., DDoS protection) are listed in multiple categories above, reflecting the multiple ways they are categorized in the marketplace.
  • Eligible costs include maintenance, operation and support charges, monthly charges, special construction, installation and activation charges, software, modulating electronics, and other equipment necessary to make eligible equipment and services functional. All eligible equipment and services and related costs, including maintenance and operation, must be competitively bid.
  • A manufacturer’s multi-year warranty for a period up to three years that is provided as an integral part of an eligible component, without a separately identifiable cost, may be included in the cost of the component.
  • Eligibility is limited to equipment that is network-based (i.e., that excludes end-user devices, including, for example, tablets, smartphones, and laptops) and services that are network-based and/or locally installed on end-user devices, where the devices are owned or leased by the school or library, and where equipment and services are designed to identify and/or remediate threats that could otherwise directly impair or disrupt a school’s or library’s network, including to threats from users accessing the network remotely.
  • Ineligible costs include:
    • Any equipment, service, or other related cost that is eligible in the Commission’s E-Rate eligible services list program in the funding year for which Pilot reimbursement is sought.
    • Any equipment, service, or other related cost for which a participant has already received reimbursement, or plans to apply for reimbursement, through any other USF or federal, state, or local program in the funding year for which Pilot reimbursement is sought.
    • Staff salaries and labor costs for personnel of the participant or underlying beneficiary are not eligible.
    • Consulting services that are not related to the installation and configuration of the eligible equipment and services are not eligible. These include services related to application assistance, Program advice, and other activities not tied directly to actual installation and initial configuration of eligible equipment and services.
    • Long-term planning and risk assessment surveys, including threat intelligence analysis and costs associated with incident response plans
    • Security cameras, asset tracking tags, insurance costs, threat responses exercises, training, and any costs associated with responding to specific ransom demands are ineligible.
    • Any equipment or services prohibited by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, Pub. L. No. 116-124, 134 Stat. 158 (2020) (codified as amended at 47 U.S.C. §§ 1601–1609) (Secure Networks Act) or the Commission’s rules, including Commission rules 54.9 and 54.10, that implement the Secure Networks Act.
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Let Funds For Learning Help you Navigate Cybersecurity Pilot Program

We encourage you to leverage the experts at FFL to help you navigate these new waters.

Our mission is to provide high quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate and Cybersecurity Pilot Program participants. We start by understanding your needs and then we step you through the process to ensure we are meeting all the compliance guidelines in a timely manner, while reducing your workload and stress

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Past Cybersecurity Webinars

Cybersecurity Pilot Webinar RecordingsSlidesDateDuration
Cybersecurity Webinar 1Download06/12/240h59m31s
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Related Cybersecurity Pilot Program News

$25K Average Cyber Funding Available – May 24, 2024
E-rate Cybersecurity Timeline – May 24, 2024
Cybersecurity Pilot Vote set for June 6 – May 17, 2024
FFL Discusses Cybersecurity Pilot & Proposed Rulemaking Initiatives – March 22, 2024
Cybersecurity Pilot Changes Suggested – February 9, 2024
Our Suggestions for a Cybersecurity Pilot – January 31, 2024
Firewall Report Provided to FCC – July 11, 2023
Continued Support for Cybersecurity – June 2, 2023
Cybersecurity Support Continues – April 14, 2023
Widespread Support for E-rate Cybersecurity – Februrary 16, 2023
Safeguarding K-12 From Cybersecurity Threats – January 27, 2023
Firewall and Network Security Comments Sought by FCC – December 14, 2022
Firewall Support: Big Impact with Little Cost to USF – December 12, 2022
FCC Urged to Reevaluate Its Abilities to Combat K-12 Cyber Threats – December 9, 2022
LACOE Calls for E-rate to Support Cybersecurity – December 7, 2022
FFL Discusses Cybersecurity Pilot Proposal – November 23, 2022
Support for Network Security Solutions – November 23, 2022
Cybersecurity Pilot Proposal Presented to FCC Chair’s Office – November 22, 2022
Cybersecurity Pilot Program Proposed – November 17, 2022
Estimating Cybersecurity’s Impact on C2 Funds – October 21, 2022
Urgent Need to Combat Cybersecurity Threats in Schools Emphasized – September 16, 2022
Cyber Attacks Threaten Communities – September 9, 2022
School Bus Wi-Fi will Help; Cybersecurity is Required – May 13, 2022
SHLB Coalition Voices Support for Cybersecurity – November 8, 2021
Groups Meet with FCC to Discuss Cybersecurity – October 20, 2021
FCC Can Help K-12 Cybersecurity – October 15, 2021
Cybersecurity Petition Filed with FCC – February 10, 2021
Cybersecurity Support is Needed – September 25, 2020
Schools Need Option to Secure Networks – May 29, 2020
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We’re here to help!

Our mission is to provide high-quality consulting and support services for the needs of E-rate program participants. We consult with applicants to help them understand, effectively utilize, and maintain compliance with E-rate rules and regulations. We help prepare and submit paperwork, and interact with program administrators on our clients’ behalf.

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