SHLB Supports Cybersecurity Funding to Strengthen E-Rate March 30, 2023
For Immediate Release
Marketing and PR Director
SHLB asks the FCC to increase the Category Two budget cap
by $100 million for school, library cybersecurity equipment and services
Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2023) - Today, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition requested an increase in the federal E-rate program’s overall Category Two budget of $100 million each year for the next two years to keep school and library networks safe against rising cyber-attacks. SHLB also asked that the FCC allow schools and libraries flexibility to choose the cyber solutions they need by focusing on the functionality of eligible cybersecurity equipment and services, and to support those needs solely under the Category Two budget.
SHLB filed initial comments in this proceeding with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and several other parties requesting cybersecurity eligibility under E-rate. There was nearly unanimous support from other commenters that the E-rate program should directly address network security and cyberattacks now.
“Cybersecurity concerns in the E-rate space are growing day by day,” said John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the SHLB Coalition. “Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have noted that school and library networks are extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. School and library broadband networks are the critical arteries that supply educational nutrition to underprivileged communities across the country. For this reason, SHLB supports raising the Category Two cap by a modest amount of $100 million per year for the next two years to allow those schools and libraries to safeguard their networks. This minor increase in funding will also provide helpful data to the Commission before it determines the next five-year E-rate Category Two budget.”
The reply comments include the following premises:
The Commission should increase the Category Two budget cap by $100 million per year for the next two years to give schools and libraries the opportunity to address their cybersecurity needs.
The E-rate program should support cybersecurity equipment and services under Category Two.
The Commission should structure the eligibility of cybersecurity solutions by functionality rather than by specific technology.
The submission can be found here.
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public interest organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of non-commercial and commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.