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Cybersecurity Webinar Recap

On June 12, the FCC released the Cybersecurity Pilot Program Report and Order and Funds For Learning hosted a special Cybersecurity Webinar discussing the impact of pilot program for the E-rate community. An FCC representative, school cybersecurity administrators, and CoSN advisor joined the FFL E-rate Guides for this discussion.

FCC – Kristin Berkland

Attorney Advisor for the Wireline Competition Bureau, Kristin Berkland kicked off the webinar with a presentation covering the specifics of the FCC’s Report and Order. A few notes of interest from her presentation:

  • Prior or current E-Rate participation is not a requirement to be eligible to apply for the Pilot Program.
  • The process to apply includes two parts using the Form 484 Application:
  1. Applicant applies to participate by providing a general level of cybersecurity information and a description of the proposed Pilot Program project.
  2. Selected participants submit more detailed information about cybersecurity experiences and Pilot project.
  • The FCC expects to open a Pilot Program application window this Fall.
  • The Pilot Program will leverage many of the existing forms, rules, and processes from the E-Rate, ECF, and Connected Care Pilot programs, including seeking competitive bids, requesting eligible services and equipment, and submitting requests for reimbursement.

School Cybersecurity Administrator Panel

E-rate Guide Brian Stephens spoke with two cybersecurity administrators about the challenges facing their schools David Vignery, Director at Lawrence Public Schools and Curt Godwin, Network Operations Coordinator at Forsyth County Schools shared about the challenges they encounter daily when protecting their district’s cybersecurity.

Both shared that their biggest concerns when protecting their districts is the unknown. Vignery noted that K-12 schools store important and sensitive information from parents, students and staff, and after the last 5 – 6 years, it is clear that schools can “no longer rely on traditional behaviors” to protect this information.

Each shared that cybersecurity is a collaborative effort across schools and districts, Godwin noted that he has worked with both “neighboring peers, and the Georgia Department of Education to craft standards that can be shared with other districts in the state that can make us stronger as a whole.”

Reg Leichty – CoSN Advisor

Leichty discussed the program from a policy perspective, noting that the $200 million allotted to the program, while significant, is a “drop in the bucket when compared with the need.” Leichty hoped that “what we learn from this pilot, could be used to modernize the E-rate program” to allow the Cybersecurity needs of the schools and libraries across the country to be met. He stressed the importance of applying to the pilot program to this end.


Q: Is the $200 million, annual funding, or total over the course of 3 years?
A: The cybersecurity pilot program will provide up to $200 million in universal service support to eligible schools and libraries to defray the cost of eligible cybersecurity services and equipment over the course of three years.

Q: Is there a minimum award amount that has been identified?
A: 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).

Q: When will the FCC start accepting applications?
A: The window for the Pilot Program application window will open this Fall.

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