In our 2022 survey of E-rate applicants, 98% of respondents agreed that the federal E-rate funding program should provides support for mission-critical cybersecurity products and services.
In response to the FCC’s December 2022 request for comments regarding E-rate support for “advanced or next-generation firewalls” and other security services, E-rate stakeholders across the country showed tremendous support for ensuring that schools and libraries have financial resources for mission-critical network security. Comments were submitted by hundreds of schools, libraries, service providers, manufacturers, consultants, and industry organizations of all sizes. Common threads expressed by numerous commenters include:
- Unified call for support – virtually all commenters were in favor of the FCC taking steps to ensure E-rate funding is available for next-generation firewalls and other security services.
- The threats are real, and dangerous – numerous comments expressed well-researched examples of the real-world financial and social impacts of network security breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cybersecurity incidents. It is clear that attacks are on the rise and that K12 organizations are prime targets.
- Don’t fence us in – Many commenters cautioned the FCC against being too specific or granular in determining what specific firewall features or technologies should qualify for E-rate support. Network security is a rapidly and continually evolving technology, and many are concerned that too narrow a definition of eligible functions could result in an outdated Eligible Services List in short order.
2023 Applicant Survey
Our thirteenth annual E-rate applicant survey is underway, with a special emphasis on K-12 cybersecurity needs. We are encouraging all E-rate applicants to take a moment to share their thoughts regarding this vital funding source. The results of the survey will be shared with E-rate program administration and the Federal Communications Commission. More information about the survey may be found here.