Network security is a top priority; but the E-rate eligible services list is sadly outdated. The current E-rate rules prohibit network security, management and monitoring functions from being purchased. Only firewalls are allowed — which is sort of like supporting door locks but ignoring the open windows and discouraging security alarms. An outdated eligible services list should not stand in the way of a healthy network that is up and running, accessible to students and library patrons.
What would it cost the E-rate program to support this critical functionality? A review of recent funding years’ funding commitments shows an average of 3.5% of Category Two project costs are for ineligible functions.
Adding security and other functionality to the eligible services list would be a positive step for schools and libraries; it would help them better secure their networks; it would also streamline and simplify the E-rate application process; and, because C2 expenses are already subject to a budget, it is unlikely that these new items would add significantly to the amount of E-rate funding requested each year.