A long-term solution is needed to address the safety and reliability of computer networks in schools and libraries. A systemic challenge like cybersecurity requires thoughtful, well-reasoned decision-making, and good policies and financial support take time to develop. But malicious computer attacks are on the rise, and almost every day it seems there is another incident, taking networks offline and jeopardizing the finances of organizations and individuals alike. The immediate need that schools and libraries have for cybersecurity support should not be ignored while permanent policies are pursued.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can strengthen school and library I.T. defenses by adding advanced firewalls to the E-rate eligible services list. Funds For Learning recently submitted a proposal to the FCC for a pilot program that would provide E-rate discount support for advanced firewalls over the next three years, but with a total funding cap of $60 million per year. This would offer schools and libraries an immediate opportunity to strengthen the security of their networks, while allowing the FCC the time necessary to gather data and public input for new regulations – all while guarding the sustainability of the Universal Service Fund.
What do you think? Do you support the Funds For Learning proposal? Should the FCC launch a pilot program for safe and secure E-rate networks? The timing of your answer is important. The FCC is currently considering which goods and services to include on the Eligible Services List next year. Please consider submitting your answer to the FCC today. You can use the FCC’s comment system and reference proceeding “13-184”.