On November 22, 2022, Funds For Learning met with the Wireline Competition Bureau, to discuss the proposed pilot program to strengthen school and library networks with additional E-rate support for network firewalls. The FCC staff in attendance via video conference included: Jodie Griffin, Division Chief, Johnnay Schrieber, Deputy Division Chief, Gabriela Gross, Special Counsel, and Joseph Schlingbaum, Attorney Advisor.
Similar to prior meeting with representatives of the Office of Chairwoman Rosenworcel on November 21, the discussion centered around the three-year pilot program including:
- The E-rate program would allow funding for all firewall hardware, software, features and services, without distinction between “basic” and “advanced” capabilities.
- The total annual funding for firewalls would be capped. Funds For Learning recommends a range of $60-to-$120 million per year. Requests would be prioritized for applicants with higher discount rates.
- Firewalls would be eligible as Category Two (C2) funding. For an individual applicant, firewall expenses would be tallied as part of their C2 spending and would be limited by their existing five-year C2 budget.
The full Funds For Learning Ex Parte letter to the FCC can be viewed here.