MTA News Bytes

March 4, 2016

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>>The 2016 MTA Convention Is Fast Approaching. Are You Registered?

>> 2016 CSR Spring Conference

Informational Items

>> Chairman Wheeler Circulating RoR USF Reform Order for Approval

>> Chairman Wheeler, FCC Commissioners Testify at FCC Oversight Hearing

Peer Group Bulletin

>> MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities

>> Upcoming Peer Group Events

Safety Corner

>> Safety Bytes

People and Companies

>> Monitronics Announces Partnership with
Consolidated Communications

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Jeanne DeMartino
Anna Wrisky
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

March 21-23, 2016: MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

Peer Group Investment Opportunities Open for 2016. View Details

April 5-6, 2016: Plant Manager & Superintendent Peer Group Meeting

April 6-7, 2016: AAPG Spring Event

April 19-20, 2016: CSR Spring Conference

April 27-29, 2016: Office Managers & Human Resources Spring Conference

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MTA Updates


MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

The 2016 MTA Convention is fast approaching.
Are you registered?

Don’t miss your early bird registration discount or the hotel room block deadline:
Friday, March 4, 2016.

Sign Me Up!

March 21-23, 2016
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN

Why attend the MTA Convention?

Here is what our attendees are saying…

“Trending topics, networking, seeing what is the next venture!”

“Convenience of everything being in one building and location of all activities that occur around it.”

“I like the layout. Not too many breakout sessions and there’s plenty of time to network and set up side meetings.”

“The chance to see friends and colleagues is always the best. Love to see everyone.”

Convention Highlights and Activities

  1. MTA Opening Reception: All attendees are invited to attend this annual reception. This event offers a wonderful opportunity to network with other MTA members, convention guests, exhibitors and sponsors.
  2. Industry Issues Update Luncheon with Guest Speaker John Tuma, MN Public Utilities Commissioner: $45 per person to attend (includes lunch)
  3. Associate Member Reception: This reception will feature food, fun, excitement and prizes! MTA will give away gift cards and an Apple Watch at a “must-be-present-to-win” drawing!
  4. Vendor Demos on the Exhibit Floor.

There is Still Time to Exhibit at the 2016 Annual Convention

It’s not too late to sign up to exhibit. Register today to reserve one of the few remaining booths still available!

Plan to join us on March 21-23, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The MTA Annual Convention continues to be the largest state telecommunications association convention in the nation. It represents the interests of more than 80 small, medium and large telecommunications providers that provide advanced telecommunications services like voice, data, wireless video, and high-speed Internet access to Minnesota’s metropolitan and rural communities.

If you have questions about the exhibitor or sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf at the MTA office at or (651) 265-7849.

Reservation cut-off at the Hyatt Regency has been extended to Friday, March 4, so book your room today!

20 lucky attendees who have made their reservations by the cut-off date will win a complimentary upgrade to an Executive Suite for the duration of their stay.

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis | 1300 Nicollet Mall

Reservations can be made by calling 800-233-1234. Please indicate if you are an attendee or an exhibitor.

Reservations can be made online as well:


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2016 CSR Spring Conference

April 19-20, 2016
Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
Alexandria, MN

View details and register online

MTA is excited for the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference, to be held April 19-20 at Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Alexandria, MN. This event is for any and all individuals who deal with customers in the telecommunication industry. The conference is a great opportunity to attend (or send your staff) for very little cost.

Watch for more information as the conference approaches.


MTA Member: $125
Non-member: $150


Arrowwood Resort
Phone: 320-762-1124
Block of rooms reserved under MTA Customer Service Conference.

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Chairman Wheeler Circulating RoR USF Reform Order for Approval

(from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Chairman Wheeler posted a blog on February 19, 2016, entitled Bipartisan Solutions for Universal Service, in which he indicated he circulated an Order to modernize USF support for rate-of-return carriers. He said the proposed Order sets forth a package of reforms, including: modernizing the program to provide support for stand-alone broadband service; improving incentives for broadband investment to connect unserved rural Americans; and strengthening the rate-of-return system to provide certainty and stability. He said the proposed Order would create a voluntary path to model-based support for RoR carriers that prefer the predictability of defined support amounts over a ten-year term. For carriers who choose to continue receiving support based on traditional RoR principles, the proposed Order would provide more certainty for carriers, increase fiscally responsible management of the Fund, and ensure that a reasonable portion of support is spent on new buildout to connect those that remain unserved.

Chairman Wheeler, FCC Commissioners Testify at FCC Oversight Hearing

(from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Chairman Wheeler and the FCC Commissioners testified at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on March 2, 2016, entitled, Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission. Chairman Wheeler said he recently circulated a bipartisan Order setting forth a package of reforms to address rate-of-return issues, such as the need to modernize the program to provide support for standalone broadband service, improve incentives for broadband investment to connect unserved rural Americans, and strengthen the rate-of-return system to provide certainty and stability for years to come. Commissioner Clyburn also discussed the proposed Order, saying it stops penalizing carriers whose customers migrate to broadband-only lines, and said there are no flash cuts but a gradual transition so providers have time to adjust to the changes. Commissioner O’Rielly suggested payments made to the USF in a given quarter as a result of enforcement actions should be used to offset overall program spending in the next quarter, thereby reducing the amount that consumers need to pay on their phone bills that next quarter. He also said there have been no updates on FCC reform, asserting the “same failures of transparency and fairness continue to impact the quality of both public input and Commission decisions.” Commissioner Pai discussed public safety issues, such as direct dial 911 and contraband cellphones, the 5 GHz Band, and spectrum above 24 GHz. Commissioner Rosenworcel also discussed spectrum issues.

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

MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities Open!

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 2016.

Download the 2016 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

Upcoming Peer Group Events

April 5-6, 2016: Plant Manager & Superintendent Peer Group Meeting

April 6-7, 2016: AAPG Spring Event

April 27-29, 2016: Office Managers & Human Resources Spring Conference

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Safety Corner

Safety Bytes

The Zika Virus: What Are the Concerns, and What Steps Can Be Taken to Protect Myself and My Family?

Lately there has been a lot of discussion in the news regarding the Zika Virus — so let’s look at the facts.

  1. The only confirmed cases in the United States of the Zika Virus at this time have involved individuals who have traveled where the Zika Virus is currently a concern (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin and Virgin Islands).
  2. The Zika Virus is spread by mosquitoes and currently there is no vaccination to prevent the Zika Virus.
  3. There have been confirmed cases of the Zika Virus being transmitted sexually from men to their sex partners.
  4. Due to a suspected link between the Zika Virus and microcephaly (a birth defect in which the size of a baby’s head is smaller than expected for age and sex) in newborns of mothers affected with the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant. The CDC is advising these women to postpone travel to the areas where the Zika Virus transmission is ongoing. Women choosing to travel to these areas should talk to their doctors first and be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites.
  5. At this time there is no indication that the Zika Virus has been found in mosquitoes in the United States.

If you recently traveled to one of the areas that are of concern, here is what to look for:

  1. The most common symptoms of Zika Virus are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika Virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  2. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  3. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika Virus.
  4. See your health care provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where the Zika Virus is found.
  5. If you have recently traveled, tell your health care provider when and where you traveled.
  6. Your health care provider may order specialized blood tests to look for Zika Virus.

Planning on traveling? Here some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from diseases carried by mosquitos:

  1. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  2. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  3. Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  4. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
  5. Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  6. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.

Additional resources:

Remember: The best prevention from diseases carried by mosquitos is to prevent the bite!

Take Care,
Chris Swanson
Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Monitronics Announces Partnership with Consolidated Communications

Deal will allow Monitronics to take over existing customers, potentially grow new customer base

Monitronics Security and Consolidated Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSL) have announced a partnership that will help grow Monitronics’ customer base while allowing Consolidated Communications (CCI) to officially launch security and automation services to its entire base of residential and business clients.

Monitronics has worked with Consolidated Communications to provide customers with best-in-class security and automation services. Monitronics will assume responsibility for sales, installation and technical support, as well as billing and customer service for Consolidated Communications existing security customers. Consolidated Communications will promote Monitronics services through marketing and advertising channels to customers in its service area.

The partnership plays to strengths of both companies. Monitronics is a national leader in security and monitoring, with more than 1 million customers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Consolidated Communications is a leading business and broadband communications provider, providing services to business and residential customers across a robust fiber-rich network.

Monitronics President and CEO Jeffery Gardner said it is just one of a series of partnerships that will help grow the security company’s customer base.

“We’re actively working with major companies nationwide to create alliances that add value,” Gardner said. “As one of the most respected, best performing communications providers in the country, it’s an honor to partner with Consolidated. We provide unique value to their existing and future security and home automation customers, while they free up resources to build and serve their core customers. We’re looking forward to working together in a relationship that benefits both parties.”

”This partnership is a win-win for both Monitronics and CCI,” said Michael Smith, chief marketing officer for Consolidated Communications. “This allows us to immediately offer home security and automation services to customers in all of our markets. We’re very excited to bring Monitronics’ award-winning monitoring and customer service to our residential and business customers.”

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