August 7, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Registration Now Open for the MTA Fall Conference

>> 2015 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

>> Announcing the Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

Informational Items

>> USDA Announces Available Funding for Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program

>> Nolan Introduces Sweeping New Rural Broadband Initiative

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

Safety Corner

>> After a Fall — Can Your Harness Kill You?

People and Companies

>> Kiesling Telecom Accounting Seminar

>> BEVCOMM Connects Gigabit Network in New Prague, MN

>> Onvoy Acquires Broadvox to Become Third Largest Competitive Local Exchange Carrier by Rate Center Coverage

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Website/Newsletter:
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


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

October 28–29, 2015: Fall 2015 Customer Service Group Conference

October 1–2, 2015: 2015 MTA Fall Conference

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MTA Updates

ACTION ITEMS:

Registration Now Open for the MTA Fall Conference

October 1–2, 2015
Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
Brooklyn Park, MN

This Summer continues to move too fast; it is already time to start thinking about fall. Getting ready for back to school, the Vikings, cooler temperatures, leaves turning color, and most importantly... the MTA FALL CONFERENCE!

This year’s event will open with an exciting lineup on Thursday. The afternoon kicks off with a presentation by Geoff Feiss, USAC Board member. Geoff is an entertaining speaker who will talk about what is going on at USAC and its future role in our industry. That will be followed by updates on the FCC and other relevant regulatory presentations.

Again this year, the MTA Event Planning Committee and staff have been working with the Video and IT Peer Groups for more opportunities to learn. Friday morning continues with separate tracks giving attendees the most current, up-to-date, information on Video and IT. Know you want to attend, but don’t know which sessions you want to attend? It doesn’t matter; you can mix and match sessions to meet your individual needs. Don’t wait! The event will conclude with keynote speaker Dusty Johnson. Dusty was a huge hit at the Issues Luncheon at the 2015 Annual Convention. We have invited him back to give us his perspective on federal regulatory issues.

View Details and Register to Attend Online

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 to sponsor online

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

Thank You, Sponsors

Partners

Bader Comunications




Gold

National Information Solutions Cooperative

Bronze
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.
SourceOne Solutions

Exhibitors
Badger Communications
Calix
National Information Solutions Cooperative
Olsen Thielen CPAs
Onvoy
Vantage Point


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. A minimum of 25 participants are needed for this outing. To hold the seats, Twins tickets must be purchased by August 27, 2015.


Announcing the Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

October 28–29, 2015
Jackpot Junction Casino
Morton, MN

MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Fall Customer Service Peer Group Conference. This is to be held October 28 & 29 at Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel. This event is for any and all individuals who deal with customers in the telecommunication industry. This is a great opportunity to attend (or send your staff) for very little cost. 

We will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening with an icebreaker.  We will serve appetizers in the Players Sports Bar & Grill, 6:30–8:30 pm.  We will also have some Jackpot Casino Cash as a complimentary part of the Ice Breaker. Attendees will be able to try their luck in the Casino! The morning of learning will include a message from our own MTA President, Brent Christensen; and Cecilia Ray, attorney with Moss & Barnett Law Firm will give us a refresher on CPNI rules.

Before lunch, Catherine Rasmussen, Extension Professor, Leadership & Civic Engagement at the U of M, will begin speaking on "Navigating Conflict More Successfully” and return again after lunch on the same topic.

In the afternoon, we will break out into groups and do the ever-so-popular Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions.

We invite you to meet old and new friends and share your customer service experiences in the telecommunications business. Register now to attend this educational conference. The MTA registration fee is only $125. Rooms will be held until October 15.

You and your staff won’t want to miss this conference! Find the full agenda and registration form on the MTA calendar. You will register with MTA and then make your own hotel reservation. We look forward to seeing you on October 28 & 29.

P.S. Please consider joining the planning committee. Our committee consists of 4 people with 1 leaving each year. You would help plan four conferences. We communicate with each other through email and conference calls. It is a great way to get involved. If interested, please let one of the committee members know. We would like to have someone onboard before the end of this conference.

View Details and Register Online


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:

USDA Announces Available Funding for Farm Bill Broadband Loan Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the availability of loans to build broadband in rural areas, along with changes to the program required by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"USDA is committed to providing broadband to rural areas," Vilsack said. "Broadband is as vital as electricity was 80 years ago. Since 2009, USDA investments have delivered broadband service to 1.5 million households, businesses, schools, libraries and community facilities. But our work is not done. With program improvements and available funding made possible by the Farm Bill, we can continue our work to make broadband more accessible to those who live and work in rural areas."

In a rule published on page 45397 of the July 30 Federal Register, USDA is establishing two funding cycles to review and prioritize applications for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program. USDA also is setting a minimum level of acceptable broadband service at 4 megabits downstream and 1 megabit upstream. USDA urges applicants to design systems that allow for 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream to meet future needs. USDA is accepting comments on these changes through September 28.

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must serve an area where at least 15 percent of the households are unserved. Applications with the most unserved households will be processed first.

The maximum loan amount under this announcement is $20 million. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2015. For more information, see page 45504 of the July 30 Federal Register.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the previous five years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural areas.

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Nolan Introduces Sweeping New Rural Broadband Initiative

Rural Broadband Initiative Act recalls success of New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration that connected rural America to the electrical grid in the 1930s.

Recalling the success of the New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration (REA) that began connecting every corner of rural America to the electrical grid in the 1930s, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan has introduced legislation to launch a massive effort of similar scope for high-speed broadband. Nolan’s Rural Broadband Initiative Act (H.R. 3152) would lay the foundation for new funding and a coordinated federal strategy to bring 21st Century high-tech communications services to millions of underserved rural people and businesses.

“It’s time to bring high-speed broadband to all of rural America,” Nolan declared. “More than half of all rural Americans are without high-speed broadband. Yet there is currently no clear Congressionally approved plan, no strategy, and no single federal office responsible for helping connect tens of millions of rural people to modern broadband services. Here in rural America, high-speed broadband is essential to our ability to compete – to help start new businesses, create new jobs, attract new people and provide the education and health care services so essential to our quality of life.”

Nolan said his measure would centralize key rural broadband grant and loan initiatives under one Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the direction of a new Under-Secretary appointed by the President, the office would administer roughly $724 million in existing rural broadband loan and grant programs – streamlining regulations and acting as a one-stop clearinghouse to provide assistance for local, state and regional governments seeking to connect their areas.

The office would further act as central clearinghouse of broadband information for all federal agencies – including the Federal Communications Commission, which administers some $4.5 billion specifically designated for rural areas.

The bill would also establish a sense within Congress that “necessary funds should be made available to provide universal and affordable broadband access” across the nation “with a focus on underserved rural communities.” This provision is considered key to future budget requests that would follow a wide-ranging assessment of the rural broadband needs – and a forthcoming report to Congress outlining a national rural broadband strategy – required by Nolan’s bill.

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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

After a Fall — Can Your Harness Kill You?

Quite often, we believe our job is complete if we can keep ourselves from an impact injury during a fall event at work or at home. Unfortunately, post-fall suspension trauma and timely rescue are often ignored when building a fall protection plan. While waiting for rescue after a fall-related event, suspension trauma is a real threat.

What is suspension trauma?

Suspension trauma can be caused by any situation where a worker is forced to stay upright without the ability to use his legs or move. The use of a personal fall arrest system during a fall event can be the cause of this situation. Even under the most ideal circumstances, when a rescue plan is in place, suspension trauma should always be treated as an emergency situation because it can become fatal in less than 30 minutes.

During a fall event, several things occur that can lead to suspension trauma. Because the worker is suspended in an upright posture with legs hanging, blood begins to pool in the legs. The safety harness straps can exert pressure on leg veins, compressing them and reducing blood flow back to the heart. If circulation is impeded enough, the heart rate will likely abruptly slow, reducing oxygen to the brain. Under normal circumstances, fainting and collapsing to the ground would occur, positioning the head, heart and legs at the same level, thus returning blood flow and oxygen to vital organs. Unfortunately, during a fall event, the harness keeps the worker upright. The worker faints but cannot collapse and circulation isn’t restored.

Taking steps to reduce the potential for suspension trauma

One of the ways to slow the progression of suspension trauma is to stand up. Under normal circumstances, when a worker is standing, the leg muscles must contract to provide support and maintain balance, which puts pressure on the veins. This pressure, along with a series of one-way valves in the veins, helps blood get to the heart and reduces the amount of blood pooling in the legs.

Preparedness is key

Too often, a person is saved by their personal fall arrest system, only to succumb to suspension trauma while waiting for rescue. Everyone who works at heights should be fully trained in fall prevention and protection procedures. Those procedures should also include provisions for rescue in the event a fall does occur. Taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with suspension trauma relief straps by adjusting them and practicing with them could mean the difference between life and death. During a fall event, the worker can deploy the trauma relief straps — creating a loop that the worker can put his feet into and press against to simulate standing up. This allows the leg muscles to contract and can relieve pressure from the leg straps to help improve circulation.

What to do after a worker has been rescued?

Following the rescue of a suspended worker, normal first aid rules do not apply. The blood that has pooled in the legs has been prevented from collecting oxygen from the lungs and is now stale and loaded with carbon dioxide and toxins from the body's metabolizing processes. If the worker were laid down after rescue, the stale blood would rush back to the heart and other vital organs. This rush of deoxygenated blood can cause death by heart attack or a few days later from organ failure. The current recommended procedure following a rescue is to keep the worker in a knees-bent “W” sitting position for at least 30-40 minutes. This partially closes the femoral artery allowing any pooled blood to be slowly released back toward the heart, allowing the body to reprocess and remove the toxins, etc.

Conclusion

Not only are safety harnesses used on the job, but also by hunters while hunting from tree stands. It is just as important to understand suspension trauma off the job as it is on the job. A sound rescue plan must be in place to provide timely rescue and relief from suspension trauma. Talk with employees and family members about the risks associated with suspension trauma.

If we can be of assistance with your fall protection planning or if you have any questions about the Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Safety Program, please feel free to contact us at safety@mnta.org

Take Care.

Dan Berg, MS
Senior Safety Consultant

People Companies

Kiesling Telecom Accounting Seminar

August 13–14, 2015
Marriott Coralville Hotel & Conference Center
Coralville, IA (near Iowa City)

“Going the Extra Mile” is the theme for Kiesling’s 2015 Telecom Accounting Seminar which will be held August 13–14, 2015 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville, Iowa.
Attendees can expect to learn from—and interact with—a carefully selected team of experts whose credentials have been sharpened by working with organizations like yours. No matter if you are new to telecommunications accounting or an industry veteran looking to better your business, the Kiesling seminar has topics to meet your training needs. Here are links for more information. 

View Details

Earn up to 11 CPE credits by attending the 2015 Kiesling Telecom Accounting Seminar. For more information, contact Debbie Smith at 608-664-9110. We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 Kiesling Telecom Accounting Seminar in Coralville!

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BEVCOMM Connects Gigabit network in New Prague, MN

BEVCOMM announces immediate availability of unlimited Gigabit Internet speeds in New Prague, MN. The service provides extremely fast Internet at speeds up to 1,000 Mbps and 100 times faster than the Internet speed in a typical U. S. household. Residential households with a fiber-to-the-home connection can connect to incredible speeds, with no data limits for $90 per month with a bundled package.

“As demands and customer expectations for faster speeds increase, we are continually looking for solutions that help meet that demand and keep our community on the cutting edge,” states Exchange Manager Dirk Berger, “Our fiber to the home network in New Prague makes Gig connections possible. Fiber is future proof, a technology that dramatically changes the way users connect with their world. We are excited to offer such amazing speeds at an affordable rate.” He continues, “With a Gig you can do absolutely anything and everything online with virtually no limitation—watch movies and videos, game, chat, shop, telecommute and more; and with many devices all on the same connection.”

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Onvoy Acquires Broadvox to Become Third Largest Competitive Local Exchange Carrier by Rate Center Coverage

Deal will boost Onvoy's network to more than 5,000 rate centers, reaching 80% of U.S. households and serving more than 1,000 Carriers

Onvoy, LLC, a leading provider of wholesale telecommunication services, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Broadvox, LLC, a CLEC focused on providing wholesale VoIP services. The deal is expected to close in early September.

With the addition of Broadvox, the Onvoy network will grow to 5,000 rate centers and expand coverage from coast to coast. Onvoy's customers will have immediate access to over 80% of all U.S. households.

Executives at both companies agree that the enhanced coverage and combined workforce will mean more opportunities for current customers as well as a clear path for the company's continued growth into new markets.

"As part of an acquisition strategy that will propel our business forward over the next several years, Broadvox is a natural fit for Onvoy. The combined economies of scale will give us a solid foundation for future growth and expansion," said Fritz Hendricks, President of Onvoy and a 30-year veteran of the industry. "We look forward to working with the talented Broadvox team."

"This is definitely a case where the sum of the combined companies is significantly greater than if we stood alone," said Andre Temnorod, Founder and CEO of Broadvox. "Now, we'll be able to meet the communication needs of virtually any carrier or service provider in the country. Our team is excited about Onvoy's strategy and the company's ambitious plans for future growth."

The combined entity will serve an impressive customer portfolio, with minimal overlap, that includes major wireless, cable, telecom, next generation VoIP and enhanced service providers. The addition of Broadvox's rate centers will allow customers to expand their reach while all customers benefit from the personalized experience and reliability on which Onvoy has built its reputation.

Denver-based investment bank, Q Advisors, served as the exclusive financial advisor to Broadvox.



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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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