Petition Calls for E-Rate Funds for K-12 Cybersecurity Needs

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), State E-rate Coordinators' Alliance (SECA), Allianced for Excellent Education (All4Ed), Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) submitted to the Federal Communications Commission an estimate outlining the cost to provide much-needed cybersecurity protections to US K-12 school districts and a petition for declaratory relief and rulemaking urging the agency to expand the E-rate program to cover these protections. Cybercriminals are targeting K-12 schools, leading to ransomware attacks, student and teacher data theft, and the disruption of remote learning activities. The E-rate Cybersecurity Cost Estimate, developed by CoSN and Funds For Learning, organizes industry standard protections into three key categories and estimates the average cost for each bundle: 1) Next-generation firewalls: $0.738 billion; 2) Next-generation firewalls and endpoint protection: $1.606 billion; 3) Next-generation firewalls, endpoint protection and advanced+ security: $2.389 billion. The petition for declaratory relief and rulemaking urges the FCC to help K-12 school districts protect their networks and data by expanding the E-rate program’s cybersecurity coverage. Specifically, the groups call on the agency to strengthen the E-rate by:  

  1. Defining all firewall and related features as “basic” beginning in funding year 2021;
  2. Increasing the E-rate’s five-year Category 2 budget cap in future funding years to support needed additional cybersecurity investments; and
  3. Updating the agency’s definition of “broadband” to include cybersecurity.

Petition Calls for E-Rate Funds for K-12 Cybersecurity Needs CoSN, SETDA, SECA, All4Ed, SHLB and CGCS Submit E-Rate Cybersecurity Cost Estimate to FCC