July 24, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> MNPUC Issues New Order on Call Completion Reporting

>> Announcing the 2015 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

>> 2015 Telco Marketing Peer Group Summer Conference

>> MTA Golf Day Another Great Success

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

>> New Lifeline Rules Take Effect (from ITCI’s Industry Watch)

Informational Items

>> Vantage Point Details Results of Alternative Cost Model Study (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

>> NTCA, WTA, ITTA, USTelecom Discuss Updates to Cost Recovery Mechanisms (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

>> Bill to Crack Down on Phone Scams Introduced (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

Safety Corner

>> Preventing Back Injury

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

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

September 17–18, 2015: 2015 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

October 1–2, 2015: 2015 MTA Fall Conference

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MTA Updates


MNPUC Issues New Order on Call Completion Reporting

On July 14, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued an Order outlining the process to report originating calls that did not complete. The new process has two parts; Part A has overview questions for each company to complete. You only need to complete Part A when changes in your process and procedures change, not every quarter. Part B is a report of each incident of call failure and a root cause analysis. This form needs to be completed each quarter and filed with the PUC under docket number P999/CI-12-1329. Only calls that fail to terminate in Minnesota area codes 218, 507, 320 need to be reported. As always, if you have any questions, please contact MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at bchristensen@mnta.org or 651-288-3723.

Announcing the 2015 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

September 17–18, 2015
Embassy Suites Bloomington
Bloomington, MN

Join us for the Fall MTA OM/HR Conference in Bloomington, MN. Brush up on what is happening in our ever-changing industry, learn some insights from industry experts, and hear about all the changes taking place in this industry. Our keynote speaker will be Lisa Brouwer, who will captivate us with a workshop about Full-Throttle Living on Thursday.

View complete details and register online.

Special Event: Twins Game at Target Field

As part of the conference, there will be an outing to a Twins Game at Target Field. Ticket Price includes Light Rail Pass (good for 3 hours prior and 3 hours after the game). Tickets are $42 each. There is a minimum of 25 participants needed for this outing. To hold the seats, Twins tickets must be purchased by August 27, 2015.

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.

MTA Golf Day Another Great Success

Thank you to everyone who attended this year's Golf Day. A special thank-you to our sponsors, as well!

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.

In addition to our Golf Sponsors, we want to thank the following organizations for donating door prizes this year:

  • Accedian
  • Action Battery
  • Arvig
  • Boarder States
  • Calix
  • Christenson Communications
  • Clearfield
  • CNE
  • CNS
  • Dakota Supply Group
  • Eagle Marketing
  • Farmers & Federated Telephone
  • Garden Valley Telcom
  • Innovative Systems
  • J. Carlson Services
  • KM Telcom
  • MACC
  • MP Nexlevel
  • NISC
  • NTCA
  • Onvoy
  • Power & Tel
  • Power Product Supply
  • SDN
  • VantagePoint

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.

New Lifeline Rules Take Effect (from ITCI’s Industry Watch)

In mid-June, the FCC released a Second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 15-71) which sought comment on the restructuring of the Lifeline program. On July 14, the Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order was printed in the federal register. This makes August 13, 2015, the date the new rules become effective. As of that date, all ETCs must retain verification documentation that proves subscriber eligibility for use during audits, investigations or NLAD dispute resolutions. Previously, the Commission required ETCs to examine certain documentation to verify a consumer's program or income based eligibility, but prohibited ETCs from retaining copies of the documentation. Instead, the Commission directed ETCs to review the documentation and keep accurate records detailing how the consumer demonstrated his or her eligibility and then returning or destroying the documents used for verification. Beginning August 13, ETC must retain these eligibility documents. The Commission reminds ETCs that pursuant to Section 222 of the Act, they have a duty to protect “the confidentiality of proprietary information” of customers. In this context, this includes all documentation submitted by a consumer or collected by an ETC to determine a consumer's eligibility for Lifeline service, as well as all personally identifiable information. These documents must be retained: for as long as the subscriber receives Lifeline service from the ETC, but no less than three calendar years. Another important revision in the Lifeline Program Rules, is the upcoming change from billing date to a “snapshot” date for reporting credit reimbursement on Form 497. Beginning with the Lifeline Reform in 2012, companies were no longer allowed to report partial month credits for reimbursement. The current system does not handle the pro-rata amounts, but simply the $9.25 flat rate credit multiplied times the number of Lifeline customers reported. Because companies have different billing dates, or may be taking different snapshot dates for reporting reimbursements, the FCC has concluded that going forward all ETCs will use the first of the month as the snapshot date for reporting Lifeline customers for reimbursement. So, beginning September 1, 2015 (the first month after the rules are in effect), each ETC must run a report showing the number of Lifeline customers that it will use to report on its Form 497 for reimbursement. That report should then be kept for documentation purposes in case of an audit or investigation. ITCI will send out a memo very soon detailing these changes and clarifying the rules.


Vantage Point Details Results of Alternative Cost Model Study (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Vantage Point filed the results on July 13, 2015, of two studies it conducted comparing the A-CAM cost-to-serve module results to engineering cost data from wire-center-wide FTTP projects. The first study compared A-CAM results to engineering cost data of 144 wire centers across the country, and found that while the A-CAM seems to somewhat accurately estimate overall deployment costs, on a wire center-by-wire center basis the A-CAM capex results for almost a third of the wire centers differs by more than 30 percent from the engineering data for that wire center. Vantage Point’s second study reviewed engineering cost data for three wire-center-wide FTTP networks that have been constructed, and concluded in all twelve nodes analyzed the A-CAM misses the wire-center-specific engineering data by more than 40 percent. Vantage Point said it brings these model deficiencies to the attention of the FCC so that it can work to improve the A-CAM.

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NTCA, WTA, ITTA, USTelecom Discuss Updates to Cost Recovery Mechanisms (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

NTCA, WTA, ITTA and USTelecom met with Commissioners Clyburn and O’Rielly and their Legal Advisors, and Carol Mattey, Deputy Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, on July 10, 2015, to discuss concepts and specific plans for the updating of existing cost recovery mechanisms to address consumer demand for broadband services and other changes to existing mechanisms. They also discussed proposals for voluntary options for those carriers that wish to avail themselves of model-based USF support, and the need for further development and analysis to resolve open issues relating to such proposals.

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Bill to Crack Down on Phone Scams Introduced (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Sens. Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) announced the introduction of legislation to address phone scams. They said scammers are increasingly falsifying caller ID information to hide their identities by creating the appearance a phone call or text message is coming from a familiar number, such as a business, government organization, or known individual. They said the Phone Scam Prevention Act would require the FCC to detail where consumers can access technology to combat scams, establish a plan to develop caller ID authentication standards, and extend the prohibition on caller ID spoofing to include calls from abroad and text messaging services.

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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

Preventing Back Injury

Preventing a back injury is much easier than repairing one. Because your back is critically important to your ability to walk, sit, stand, and run, it's important to take care of it. Most back pain arises from using your back improperly, so learning a few basic rules about lifting, posture and proper exercise can help keep your back in good shape.

1. Exercise to strengthen your back and reduce stress

Having strong back and stomach muscles is important in order to ease the work your back is put through each day. By doing simple back-toning exercises, you not only strengthen your back but reduce stress and improve your appearance, too! Check with your doctor for the best exercises for you.

2. Lose excess weight

Excess weight can exert extra force on back and stomach muscles. Your back tries to support the weight out in front by swaying backward, causing excess strain on the lower back muscles. By losing weight, you can reduce strain and pain in your back. Check with your doctor for the most sensible diet plan for you.

3.  Maintain good posture

Many back issues can be prevented by learning to sit, stand and lift items correctly. When you sit down, don't slouch. Slouching makes the back ligaments, not the muscles, stretch and hurt, thus putting pressure on the vertebrae. The best way to sit is straight with your back against the back of the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your knees slightly higher than your hips. Learn to stand tall with your head up and shoulders back.

4. Maintain good posture when you sleep and drive

Sleep on a firm mattress or place plywood between your box spring and mattress for good back support. If your mattress is too soft, it could result in a back sprain or sway back. Sleep on your side with your knees bent or on your back with a pillow under your knees for support. Drive with your back straight against the seat and close enough to the wheel so your knees are bent and are slightly higher than your hips.

5.  Plan your lift

Lifting objects is often a mindless task, and unfortunately many people perform their lift incorrectly — resulting in unnecessary strain on the back and surrounding muscles. In order to lift correctly and reduce strain on your back, it's important to plan your lift in advance. This means to think about the weight of the object you will be moving and the distance you will move it. Is it bulky? Will you need help? Do you see any hazards that can be eliminated? Think about this whenever you do any lifting.

6. Position yourself correctly in front of the load

The next important step is to align yourself correctly in front of the load with your feet straddling the load, one foot slightly in front of the other for balance. Slowly squat down by bending your knees, not your back and stomach. Using both hands, firmly grab the load and bring it as close to your body as you can. This will help distribute the weight of the load over your feet and make the move easier.

7. Lift with your legs and not your back

Once the load is close to your body, slowly straighten out your legs until you are standing upright. Make sure the load isn't blocking your vision as you begin to walk slowly to your destination. If you need to turn to the side, turn by moving your feet around and not by twisting at your waist.

8. Set the load down correctly

Once you reach your destination, it's just as important that the load is set down correctly. By reversing the above lifting procedures you can reduce the strain on your back and abdominal muscles. If you set your load on the ground, squat down by bending your knees and position the load out in front of you. If the load is set down at table height, set the load down slowly and maintain your contact with it until you are sure the load is secure and will not fall when you leave.

9.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If the load is too heavy, bulky or awkward for you to lift alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If no one is available, is it possible to break the load into two smaller loads? Can you locate a cart or dolly to help you move it? Look for simple solutions to help make the move easier on you and your back.

Dennis Renowski
Safety Consultant

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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