Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Overview

February 28, 2023
5 min read

Applicants must certify compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to be eligible for Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program discounts on:

  • Category One Services — Internet access
  • All Category Two services — internal connections, managed internal broadband services, and basic maintenance of internal connections

CIPA Compliance is NOT required on other Telecommunications Services such as circuits for point-to-point connections between buildings.

The relevant authority with responsibility for administering the eligible school or library (the Administrative Authority) must certify on Form 486 that the school or library is enforcing an internet safety policy that includes measures to block or filter internet access for both minors and adults to certain visual depictions.

Summary of CIPA Requirements:

  1. Internet Safety Policy

Schools and libraries are required to adopt and enforce an internet safety policy that includes a technology protection measure that protects against access by adults and minors to obscene visual depictions, child pornography, or using computers with internet access by minors — harmful to minors. “Minor” is defined as any individual who is under the age of 17.

2. Technology Protection Measure

A technology protection measure is a specific technology that blocks or filters internet access.

3. Public Notice and Hearing or Meeting

The authority with responsibility for the school administration or library must provide reasonable public notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address a proposed technology protection measure and Internet safety policy. For private schools, public notice means notice to their appropriate constituent group.

Certifying CIPA Compliance (FCC Form 486)

CIPA provides that, in the first funding year following the effective date of CIPA (April 20, 2001) in which you are “applying” for funds (see Applying for Funds below), you need not be fully compliant with CIPA’s requirements. Still, you can certify that you are undertaking actions to comply for the next funding year. You may also make this certification in your Second Funding Year for CIPA if you seek a waiver due to state or local procurement rules or regulations or competitive bidding requirements.

Applicants file an FCC Form 486 to indicate the status of compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) for the recipients of service for the FRN(s) and notify USAC that services have started.

School and library authorities must certify one of the following on Form 486:

  1. They have complied with the requirements of CIPA,
  2. they are undertaking actions, including any necessary procurement procedures, to comply with the requirements of CIPA,
  3. or CIPA does not apply because they are receiving discounts for telecommunications services only.

NOTE: Applicants cannot file the FCC Form 486 for an FRN until USAC issues a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) with a positive funding commitment.4

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February 28, 2023

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