September 4, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> MTA Fall Conference: Early Rates End Next Week

>> 2015 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

>> Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

>> Announcing the Administrative Assistants Peer Group Fall Conference

Informational Items

>> FCC Posts Census Block Groups Used in Alternative Cost Model (from NECA’s Washington Watch)

>> FCC Announces 10 Carriers to Receive $1.5 Billion in Annual CAF Phase II Support

>> FCC Denies Applications for Review of Order Denying Petitions to Waive RBE Financial Statements Requirement

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities

Safety Corner

>> Bay

People and Companies

>> Anderson Pacific and Neutral Path Partner to Expand Gigabit Plus Broadband Availability from Denver to Omaha to Minneapolis

>> CenturyLink to bring broadband to 114,000 rural households in Minnesota

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

November 4–5, 2015: 2015 Administrative Assistant Peer Group Fall Conference

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MTA Updates

ACTION ITEMS:

MTA Fall Conference: Early Rates End Next Week

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

The early rate deadline for this year's Fall Conference is fast approaching. Be sure to register by September 10 to secure the lowest rates for this year's event.

Also, make your hotel reservation today; the MTA Fall Conference hotel block ends on Friday, September 9. The hotel is busy that week, so make your reservations now!

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 Carissa Wolf at carissaw@mnta.org.

Thank You, Sponsors

Partners

Bader Comunications



Olsen Thielen


Bronze
Cooperative Network Services, LLC
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.
Power and Tel
SourceOne Solutions

Gold

BEC Technologies, Inc.

Dakota Supply Group

National Information Solutions Cooperative

TelCom Construction, Inc.


Exhibitors
Badger Communications
BEC Technologies, Inc.
Calix
National Information Solutions Cooperative
Olsen Thielen CPAs
Onvoy
Unitel
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.


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


Announcing the Administrative Assistants Peer Group Fall Conference

November 4–5, 2015
Otter Tail Telcom
Fergus Falls, MN

View complete details and register online

We are excited to announce the upcoming MTA Administrative Assistant Peer Group Fall Conference scheduled for November 4–5, 2015 in Fergus Falls! This is a great opportunity to attend a very informative meeting (for a very minimal cost) and take advantage of the knowledge and resources that our Administrative Assistant peers have.

Registration Fee

$99

Lodging

Best Western Fergus Falls
925 Western Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN

$98.99 plus tax for Double Non-smoking. King non-smoking $103.49
Call (218) 739-2211 for reservations. Mention MTA to get discounted rate.

Deadline for discounted rates: October 3, 2015.


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS:

FCC Posts Census Block Groups Used in Alternative Cost Model

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on August 24, 2015, announcing it posted a table showing the classification of census block groups as rural, suburban and urban used in the Alternative Connect America Cost Model to assist parties wishing to comment on plant mix values. Parties had until August 28, 2015, to submit proposed corrections to the plant mix input values for individual study areas.

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FCC Announces 10 Carriers to Receive $1.5 Billion in Annual CAF Phase II Support

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC issued a News Release on August 27, 2015, announcing that 10 carriers have accepted $1.5 billion in annual CAF Phase II support for rural broadband deployment, which, together with the carriers’ own investment, will expand broadband to nearly 7.3 million rural consumers in 45 states and one U.S. territory over the next few years. In addition to the CAF Phase II awards to Frontier, Windstream, FairPoint, Hawaiian Telcom and Micronesian Telecom reported in previous editions of Washington Watch, the FCC announced: AT&T has accepted $427,706,650 in annual support to serve 2.2 million rural customers; CenturyLink accepted $505,703,762 in annual support to serve over 2.3 million rural customers; Verizon conditionally accepted $48,554,986 in annual support to serve 114,610 customers in California and Texas; Consolidated Telecom accepted $13,922,480 in annual support to serve 50,000 rural customers; and Cincinnati Bell accepted $2,229,130 in annual support to serve over 14,000 rural customers. The Wireline Competition Bureau also issued a Public Notice authorizing and directing USAC to disburse the funding.

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FCC Denies Applications for Review of Order Denying Petitions to Waive RBE Financial Statements Requirement

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order on August 27, 2015, denying Applications for Review filed by Rural Broadband Services Corporation, Lennon Telephone, and Last Mile Broadband of the Wireline Competition Bureau Order that denied their Petitions for Waiver of the financial and technical qualification requirements for the Rural Broadband Experiments. The FCC asserted Petitioners are under the mistaken impression that the Bureau failed to give each individual waiver applicant individual consideration. The FCC said the fact that the Bureau chose to rule on all of the pending waiver requests in a single order is no different than numerous other matters in which the Bureau or the Commission addresses matters raising similar factual circumstances in a single decision. Commissioner Clyburn issued a statement disagreeing with the decision to deny Lennon’s AFR.

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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

Back to School Safety

Wow, where h

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People Companies

Anderson Pacific and Neutral Path Partner to Expand Gigabit Plus Broadband Availability from Denver to Omaha to Minneapolis

Anderson Pacific Corporation, through its affiliate Near North Partners, LLC, has joined with Neutral Path Communications, LLC, a premier provider of high capacity communications transport services in the Midwest, completing a merger of assets that expands both the company’s geographic reach and service offerings.

Neutral Path Communications provides high capacity dark fiber, carrier neutral colocation and related services, revolutionizing the way network operators deliver high capacity broadband. By partnering with Anderson Pacific’s Near North Partners, Neutral Path now offers a full suite of transport services from dark fiber, dedicated optical waves and Ethernet services between key aggregation points in Minneapolis, Omaha, and Denver.

Neutral Path transport services facilitate Gigabit plus bandwidth to enable service providers and other network operators to meet the growing demand from consumers’ using online video and other over the top services; enterprises using data to improve and customize end-user services; schools as teachers incorporate the power of Internet accessible research and online applications into their curriculum; healthcare providers delivering specialty services in even remote rural environments.

“Service providers and other network operators hear their customers and are doing their best to meet the growing demand for bandwidth. But without cost effective, high capacity connectivity to IP exchanges and content networks, the potential of Gigabit plus has been elusive for many. As a result of this transaction with Anderson Pacific, Neutral Path provides the high capacity, cost effective solution to unlock Gigabit plus potential,” said Scott Bergs, CEO of Neutral Path Communications. “By facilitating access to key peering points, a significant amount of our customers’ traffic is peered for free, while performance is improved by bringing end-users closer to the content networks,” added Tony Frentz, Neutral Path Communications’ Chief Strategy Officer.

“Through FiberLink and other of our investment companies, we have seen firsthand the power of high capacity bandwidth to improve lives and dramatically lower costs for businesses and consumers. We are excited to partner with the Neutral Path team to share these benefits throughout the heartland,” said Christopher Jensen, Managing Partner of Anderson Pacific Corporation.

As a result of the transaction, Neutral Path Communications now offers low latency, high capacity, cost effective optical transport services over a backbone network of more than 1,300 miles to customers in Denver, CO, Omaha, NE, Minneapolis, MN and points between.

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CenturyLink to bring broadband to 114,000 rural households in Minnesota

Company to accept Connect America Fund money

CenturyLink, Inc. announced today that it will bring high-speed Internet services to more than 114,000 rural households and businesses in Minnesota by accepting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF) statewide offer in Minnesota.

CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to approximately 1.2 million locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks. The company is accepting a total of approximately $500 million a year for six years.

High-speed Internet access brings many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine.

“We’re pleased to help bridge the urban-rural digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband to  more than 114,000 households and businesses in high-cost markets in Minnesota,” said Duane Ring, CenturyLink senior vice president of global field operations. “While CAF II funding does not address all markets in our footprint, our company investment for CAF II is significant, and we look forward to working closely with Minnesota policymakers to find funding and deployment solutions for additional markets.”

“Expanding access to broadband is crucial to expanding opportunity for all,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president & CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association and chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband. “Greater broadband availability in unserved areas of Minnesota will provide new opportunities in economic development, education, agriculture and telemedicine. CenturyLink’s participation in CAF II is an important piece in making border-to-border broadband a reality in Minnesota.”

Once CenturyLink’s initial CAF II six-year build-out plan is finalized over the coming months, construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

The FCC created the CAF program in 2011 to facilitate high-speed Internet access in high-cost locations by transitioning Universal Service Fund money that was supporting rural landline service to the build-out of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

CenturyLink previously accepted approximately $75 million in CAF phase I interim, one-time support to bring broadband with 4 Mbps download speed to nearly 114,000 unserved rural locations.

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