Technology Headlines

FCC Releases Order Updating Children’s Internet Protection Act

The Order Adopts the Requirements of the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, Requiring E-rate Applicants To Provide Education To Students on Cyberbullying and Appropriate Online Behavior

EDMOND, OKLA. (Aug. 17, 2011) – In a long-expected move, the FCC released an Order adding the requirements outlined in the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act to the existing Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements.
 
Beginning in Funding Year 2012, schools receiving E-rate funding for Internet Access or Internal Connections must certify that they have updated their Internet safety policy to include provisions for educating minors about appropriate online behavior.
 
Stephanie Winfrey, senior compliance specialist at Funds For Learning, a leading E-rate compliance services firm, applauded the adoption of the additional guidelines, adding that the changes should help “foster a generation of responsible Internet users.”
 
“We commend the Commission for adopting the additions to (CIPA),” said Winfrey. “The added education requirements will help in preventing and dealing with the consequences of cyberbullying.”
 
The changes to CIPA were set in place in October of 2008 when Congress passed a S.1492: Broadband Data Improvement Act. The Act included the The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, which requires E-rate applicants to certify that their Internet Safety Policies provide for the education of students regarding appropriate online behavior including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.

With the changes in place, E-rate applicants are starting to plan how to best implement the changes into their current Internet Safety Policies, but are concerned by the lack of specific guidance in the Orders.
 
“Applicants are beginning to wonder what specific additions are needed to meet the new required education aspect of the Orders,” said Stephen Sharp, senior compliance analyst at Funds For Learning. “There is a lack of clarity in the Orders on what exactly it is going to take to meet compliance standards. Hopefully we will receive further guidance from USAC on the specifics of the new requirements.”
 
Applicants will have until Funding Year 2012 to adjust their current policies to comply with the Order. Applicants will need to certify on their Forms 486 for FY2012 (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013) that they are compliant with the Internet safety policies that would include the aforementioned amendments in order to receive funding.
 
About Funds For Learning
Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants and service providers through the complex and ever-changing E-rate regulatory process. With more than 150 combined years of experience in providing professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program, Funds For Learning exists to provide high-quality solutions for the needs of E-rate stakeholders. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Edmond, Okla. For more information, visit www.fundsforlearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.
 
About E-rate
The E-rate program provides discounts on certain services and products that are essential for classrooms and libraries to receive voice, video, and data communications. The amount of the discount depends on the level of poverty and location of the applicant, ranging from 20% to 90% of the cost of eligible services.
 
Contact: Cathy Cruzan, Funds For Learning, LLC, 405-471-0900, ccruzan@fundsforlearning.com