Government Relations Update December 2023

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By Sam Burns, Internet2 Policy Advisor

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

FCC Cybersecurity Pilot Comment Period Goes Live

On December 29, 2023 the comment period finally opened in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program proceeding. This planned $200 million pilot would support a select group of schools and libraries over three years to enable them to utilize specially selected cybersecurity and advanced firewall tools, enabling the FCC to gather useful data from participants about what services may be of the greatest benefit to K-12 schools and libraries. Notably, the pilot program will be funded by USF, but not by E-rate.

Parties interested in submitting comments will have until January 29 to do so and must use the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System. Reply comments will be accepted until February 27.

First State Receives Approval for BEAD Proposal

On December 15, 2023 Louisiana became the first state to complete the approval process for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIAs) $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. Having succeeded in obtaining NTIA approval for the entirety of its plan, Louisiana will now be able to move into the implementation phase and begin receiving its allocation of $1.3 billion in federal funding to bring enhanced broadband access to unserved and underserved areas across the state.

This approval also suggests that Louisiana will be well positioned in the upcoming rollout of the $1.44 billion Digital Equity Capacity Building Grant program later this year, as their sound planning foundation should help to ease their path to approval by NTIA for these addition funds focused on digital equity initiatives to complement new broadband deployments through BEAD.

Additional information about the progress of each state in advancing through the BEAD process is available through the BEAD Dashboard maintained by NTIA.


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