April 4, 2014

April 4, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Representatives Introduce Rural Call Completion Resolution

>> Online FCC Form 481 Is Now Available

>> 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

>> MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Now Available!

>> Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety Awards

People and Companies

>>Save the Date: Kiesling Accounting Seminar

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Janey Duntley
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

April 9-10, 2014: 2014 Plant Manager & Superintendant Peer Group Meeting

April 24-25, 2014: 2014 Office Manager/HR Peer Group Spring Conference

May 14-15, 2014: 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

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MTA Updates


Representatives Introduce Rural Call Completion Resolution

From NECA’s Washington Watch

Representatives Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Co-Chairmen of the Rural Telecommunications Working Group, announced on April 2, 2014, that they introduced a bipartisan resolution outlining steps the FCC can take to improve telephone service in rural areas. They said one of the main causes of poor rural call completion stems from retail long-distance providers’ increasing use of third parties to deliver calls to rural areas at reduced rates. The resolution states no entity should unreasonably discriminate against telephone users in these areas, and encouraged the Commission to aggressively pursue entities that violate FCC call completion rules. WTA expressed support for the resolution.

Online FCC Form 481 Is Now Available

USAC is pleased to announce that beginning April 1, 2014, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log in to E-File, USAC's online filing system, and access the FCC Form 481. All carriers receiving High Cost and/or Lifeline program support are required to file the FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, by July 1, 2014 as per FCC 12-52.

USAC has posted updated versions of the FCC Form 481 (Excel version), the FCC Form 481 Online System User Guide, OMB-approved filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates. These can all be found on the High Cost and Lifeline programs' Forms pages.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved filing requirements that were set on August 6, 2013, in FCC Public Notice DA-13-1707, which addressed sections 54.313 and 54.422 of the Commission's rules.

Based on FCC guidance, rate-of-return carriers will not be required to file the Milestone Certification or the Data on Community Anchor Institutions in the 2015 program year filing.

At this time, rate-of-return carriers can begin populating the FCC Form 481, but will not be able to certify their data until after a subsequent release due to a required system change. USAC will announce a date in the near future that rate-of-return carriers will be able to certify their FCC Form 481. 

Additional Assistance

For an overview of the FCC Form 481, watch the FCC Form 481 Webinar.

For instructions about filling out the FCC Form 481 in E-File, view the FCC Form 481 User Guide.

For questions about FCC Form 481, contact HCLI Questions.

For help with the E-File system, contact USAC Customer Support at (888) 641-8722, select "Option 3" (498 Support), then "Option 1" (logging into the E-File system), or contact us via email.

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

2014 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

May 14-15, 2014
Le St-Germain Suite Hotel
St. Cloud, Minnesota

MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference. This will be held May 14 and 15 at Le St-Germain Suite Hotel–St. Cloud, MN. 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 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening with an icebreaker meet and greet in the hotel bar & lounge. Chair massages will be available. On May 15, the morning of learning will include a message from MTA President Brent Christensen and a representative from Independent Emergency Services (IES).

Back by popular demand will be our “Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions”. We will work on some great team building skills. These are totally interactive & informative. Come ready to participate & share.

After lunch, Steve Gasser will present “Growing Bigger EARS!” – 10 steps to using social media to increase sales and customer loyalty.

There is plenty of time to meet old and new friends and share your customer service experiences in the telecommunications business. Register now to attend this learning conference. The MTA registration fee is only $99. Le St-Germains’ room rate is $89 until April 25. 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 May 14 & 15.

P.S. Please consider joining the planning committee. Our committee consists of 4 people with 1 leaving each time. You would help plan 4 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.

MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Now Available!

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 2014.

Sponsor a Peer Group: Download the PDF or Sign Up Online!

Would you like to be added to a Peer Group listserv?
Email Jacquie at jacquied@mnta.org to be added – please specify which listserv(s) you would like to join:

Administrative Assistant (AA)
Customer Service (CSR)
Office Managers (OM)
Human Resource (HR)
Plant Superintendents (PM)
Telco Marketing (TMG)

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Safety Corner

Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety Awards

The Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety Program was pleased to present its 2014 Safety Awards on March 25, 2014 at the MTA's 105nd Annual Convention at the Minneapolis Hyatt. A total of four Safety Awards were presented – three Company Awards and one Safety Leadership Award.

The three Company Safety Awards were presented to Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. of Clear Lake, SD, Integra Telecom of Prior Lake and Halstad Telephone Company of Halstad. Each winner demonstrates Dedication, Commitment, Consistency, Direction and Involvement in Safety, including to their Employees, the Industry and the Communities they serve. These companies demonstrated these values and enriched the culture of Safety within the company from top management down. The awards also recognize the important role management has in achieving excellent results in safety performance.

The Safety Leadership Award was presented to Duane Wentland of Benton Communications, Benton, MN in recognition of his leadership skills and commitment in supporting a safe environment for the Industry, his Company and the Community. Duane Wentland demonstrated these values and helped enriched the culture of Safety within Benton Communications.

The Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety Program has been providing consulting, training and representation services to the region’s Telecom companies for over 30 years and is very proud of each company's efforts, which once again reinforce our belief that safety can be effectively managed through teamwork and an understanding of the principles of safety.

If you have any questions about the Safety Program or if we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information. I can be contacted at 612-219-4503 or dberg@mnta.org.

Take Care,

Dan Berg, M.S.
MTA Lead Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Save the Date: Kiesling Accounting Seminar

The 2014 Kiesling Accounting Seminar will be held August 14-15 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Coralville, Iowa. The Marriott is located along the Iowa River in a district called the Iowa River Landing, which includes a number of shops and restaurants within walking distance.
Seminar attendees learn from and interact with a carefully selected team of CPAs and telecommunication experts. No matter if you are new to telecommunications accounting or an industry veteran, you will benefit from a mix of relevant general sessions as well as break-out sessions and have the opportunity to network with your peers during this seminar. Plan to join us in Coralville, Iowa!

For more information, visit www.kiesling.com or contact Debbie Smith at 608-664-9110, dsmith@kiesling.com.

Do you have an announcement for People & Companies? Send an email to MTA at info@mnta.org or fax to 651-290-2266.

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