July 10, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> MTA Golf Day: Register Today

>> 2015 Telco Marketing Peer Group Summer Conference

>> Become a Sponsor of the 2015 MTA Fall Conference!

Informational Items

>>Gopher State One Call Contracts with One Call Concepts for Minnesota One Call Excavation Notification Center Services

>> Klobuchar Meets with MTA Members During Her “Grand County Tour”

>> Commissioner Pai Details Plan for RLEC Stand-Alone Broadband Support, Voluntary Cost Model Participation (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

Safety Corner

>> Surge Protectors

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Joe Flannigan
Administrative Assistant:
Anne Christensen

Stay up-to-date on daily happenings at the MTA offices by following us on Facebook. From peer group meetings to annual conferences and everything in between, get the scoop on what’s happening at our offices!




Meetings and Events

July 13, 2015: 2015 MTA Golf Day

August 5–7: 2015: 2015 Telco Marketing Peer Group Summer Conference

October 1–2, 2015: 2015 MTA Fall Conference

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MTA Updates


MTA Golf Day This Monday

July 13, 2015
Crow River Golf Course
Hutchinson, MN

Register today for MTA’s Annual Golf Day! This year’s event will again be held at the Crow River Golf Course in Hutchinson, MN, on July 13.

Registration is $150 per player or $45 for the reception only. Don’t forget to bring extra cash for the chance board fundraiser!

Sign up your team or register as an individual online.

Golf Sponsors

Scoreboard Sponsor
Power & Tel

Golf Cart Sponsors
Eagle Marketing
Power Product Services

Brat Sponsors
7Sigma Systems, Inc.
Cable Connection & Supply
Ewald Consulting
MP Nexlevel, LLC

Breakfast Sponsor
Bernstein Global Wealth Management

Beer Sponsors
Comlink Midwest, LLC
Olsen Thielen CPAs
TelCom Construction, Inc.

Beverage Sponsors
Innovative Systems
SourceOne Solutions

Field Event Sponsor

Hole-in-One Sponsor
Finley Engineering Company

Hole Sponsors
7Sigma Systems, Inc.
Accedian Networks
Action Battery Wholesalers Inc.
Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Cable Connection & Supply
Comlink Midwest, LLC.
Communication Network Engineering Inc.
Cooperative Network Services, LLC
Dakota Supply Group
Eagle Marketing
Ewald Consulting
Innovative Systems
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.
MP Nexlevel, LLC
National Information Solutions Cooperative
Olsen Thielen CPAs
Power & Tel
Power Product Services
Ramstad Technologies, LLC
SourceOne Solutions
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
TelCom Construction, Inc.

2015 Telco Marketing Peer Group Summer Conference

August 5–7, 2015
Sugar Lake Lodge
Cohasset, MN

View Complete details and register online | Download the Conference Agenda

Connect with friends. Learn from experts. The Summer 2015 TMG conference brings telco professionals and business experts together to share ideas and learn from each other. Learn about new communication trends and technologies, leadership, technologies for customer engagement management, future planning, design and more.

Become a Sponsor of the 2015 MTA Fall Conference!

Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2015 Fall Conference. The conference will be held on Thursday, October 1 and Friday, October 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest. MTA members will come to Minneapolis from all over the state to learn more about the important issues facing our industry — and this is your opportunity to get your company’s message in front of them.

View complete Sponsorship details and register online

If you have any questions about the sponsorship information, please contact Julie Cygan at juliec@mnta.org.


Gopher State One Call Contracts with One Call Concepts for Minnesota One Call Excavation Notification Center Services

Gopher State One Call (GSOC) has entered into an agreement with One Call Concepts, Inc. (OCC) under which OCC will provide services for the Minnesota one call excavation notification center. OCC will begin providing one call notification services for GSOC effective January 1, 2016.

"We are excited to utilize OCC technology for our underground damage prevention efforts in Minnesota," GSOC Board Chair Dan Schroeder said. “The selection of OCC enables GSOC to provide excavators and underground facility operators with new and easy-to-use technology for excavation ticket processing." Mr. Schroeder added, "We would also like to recognize and thank KorPartners, Inc. for its GSOC call center notification services since 2011.”

GSOC members who license KorWeb® ticket management software from KorTerra, Inc., the parent company of KorPartners, Inc., will continue to be able to utilize KorWeb® ticket management software. KorWeb® ticket management software is able to accept one call tickets transmitted by OCC call center software and is utilized by underground facility operators in other states where OCC provides one call center services. GSOC members who use the version of KorWeb® ticket management software which was provided free of charge by GSOC, should contact KorTerra, Inc., if they want to continue using the software after 2015. Alternatively, all GSOC members will be able to utilize OCC’s Locator Ticket Management® (LTM) software at no additional charge.

OCC has a number of exciting technological capabilities. For example, electronic ticket processing may be initiated by first zooming to a map location and drawing the excavation area site. The system then populates a number of fields in the electronic ticket request. OCC believes the "visual first" process capability will provide greater ease of use and lead to more accurate and safer tickets. The OCC software also allows for the creation of multiple ticket requests from a number of planned excavations and allows the user to schedule the release of those ticket requests to GSOC. Multiple excavation GPS data points can be directly downloaded into the electronic ticket processing system followed by the generation of individual tickets for each excavation site or groups of tickets in accordance with GSOC’s procedures.

GSOC will be reaching out to underground facility operators and excavators to ensure a smooth transition to the new technology. This outreach will include explanation of ticket notification processes, verification of facility operators’ data bases and training. GSOC and the GSOC notification center will continue to be located in the Twin Cities.

For more information and input regarding this transition, please contact Barbara Cederberg, Chief Operations Officer, GSOC at barbara.cederberg@gopherstateonecall.org or at 651-681-7307.

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Klobuchar Meets with MTA Members During Her “Grand County Tour”

Last week, Senator Amy Klobuchar toured 15 counties as part of her “Grand County Tour” promoting economic development opportunities in rural Minnesota areas. The tour started in East Grand Forks and ended in Grand Marais. Her trip began on July 1 with a summit on call completion that included representatives from Halstad Telephone, Red River Communications, Garden Valley Telephone, Wikstrom Telephone, and MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen. The Senator, along with Congressman Colin Peterson, heard from the MTA members and local Karlstad business, Mattracks, about the problems associated with call completion in rural Minnesota.

On July 3, Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) hosted Senator Amy Klobuchar to discuss regional broadband deployment, along with the expansion of High Speed Internet to rural Minnesota, as well as assisting with the high cost of TV Programming affecting cable providers. The Senator also heard other success stories and challenges for telecommunications in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

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Commissioner Pai Details Plan for RLEC Stand-Alone Broadband Support, Voluntary Cost Model Participation (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Commissioner Pai issued a statement on June 29, 2015, detailing his plan for supporting stand-alone broadband in rural areas, and providing proposed rule change language. He said after careful study he has concluded that targeted changes to existing USF rules can solve the stand-alone broadband problem in RLEC areas. He said his proposed rule amendments would: give rural consumers the real option of choosing whether they want to purchase broadband and telephone service from the same company; increase broadband deployment; meet the FCC’s own goals of distributing support equitably and efficiently and ensuring no double recovery of costs; and do all of this within the existing budget. Commissioner Pai also suggested the need for the FCC to open a path for rate-of-return carriers to participate in the CAF by the end of this year. He said while the FCC’s alternative cost model for RLEC areas is not perfect, there is no reason to prohibit participation on a strictly voluntary basis.

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Peer Group Bulletin
All MTA members are welcome to join a Peer Group

MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

MTA’s core purpose is to enhance the success and viability of its telecommunications industry members. You are an important part of helping us fulfill this mission. Here is your opportunity to maximize the impact of your event sponsorships for 2015.

Download the 2015 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

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Safety Corner

Surge Protectors

During my facility inspections this summer, I have been concentrating on electrical issues. With all the electrical devices we use today, the availability of electrical outlets is insufficient in most buildings.  Therefore the most common electrical violation I have been seeing is a surge protector plugged into another surge protector, commonly referred to as “daisy chained”.  Another common solution has been a “mixed daisy chain” which is an extension cord plugged into a surge protector. However, interconnecting these devices is a violation of both OSHA regulations and NEC codes as it can cause them to become overloaded, leading to failure and eventually a fire.

Additionally I have seen microwaves, refrigerators and space heaters plugged into power strips and surge protectors, which are only designed for use with low-powered loads, such as computers, peripherals, or audio/video components. Power loads are addressed by 29 CFR §1910.304(b)(2), Outlet devices: "Outlet devices shall have an ampere rating not less than the load to be served." Power strips and surge protectors are not designed for high power loads such as space heaters, refrigerators and microwave ovens, which can easily exceed the recommended ampere ratings on many power strips.

Most power strips and surge protectors are approved for providing power to anywhere from 4 to 12 individual items. But when multiple power strips are interconnected, the one directly connected to the outlet is often supplying power to far more than the approved number. This electrical current overload can result in a fire or can cause a circuit breaker to trip, de-energizing computers and other equipment throughout the office area. The risk is magnified when another outlet in the same wall or floor receptacle is also overloaded in a similar fashion. When other outlets on the same circuit are also overloaded, the risk increases.

Also remember power strips and surge protectors (also called surge suppressors) are different. Typically, power strips are cheap, multi-outlet products that are merely an expansion of a wall outlet. These usually have a circuit breaker of some sort, but most don't offer any real "protection" from electrical issues and are pretty much just like plugging directly into the outlet itself.  Surge protectors offer various levels of protection against power spikes but have a limited useful life and an indicator light to let you know it is protecting your equipment.  Although they may provide power to your equipment, the amount of protection could be reduced or have none at all.  Therefore they should be inspected monthly to ensure it is working and replaced as needed.

There are safer solutions to consider.  In many cases, a power strip energized by another power strip can simply be replaced by a power strip with a longer power cord or a surge protector with more outlets.  The best solutions, however, are to move desks and electrical devices closer to existing outlets or have additional outlets installed by an electrician.

Stay safe and enjoy the rest of your summer as it is going by fast! 

Jeff Ulmen
Safety Consultant

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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