The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment for a proposed three-year pilot program that would provide up to $200 million for K-12 schools and libraries.
In a Friday post in the Federal Register, the FCC announced that it will seek comments until the end of January on a Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program within the Universal Service Fund, which supports projects in rural and low-income communities. The pilot program would gather information on “cybersecurity and advanced firewall services” to protect schools and libraries against cyberattacks.
The agency is seeking comments to determine which schools and libraries should be considered eligible for the program and how it can measure the program’s effectiveness.
The agency said that schools and libraries would need to use free or low-cost cybersecurity resources to “make the most effective use of pilot program funding,” including resources provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Department of Education.
The Government Accountability Office last year issued a report showing that more than 600,000 K-12 students were affected by ransomware attacks in 2021. The office urged federal agencies to help schools defend themselves cyberattacks. Attacks cited in the report included phishing, ransomware, distributed denial-of-service and video-conferencing disruptions.
The FCC also noted that it will also continue to promote its E-Rate program, which provides schools and libraries discounts on internet service.