April 5, 2012

 

April 5, 2012

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> National Call Completion Test Project

>> ConnectMN Starts Every Citizen Online Project to Increase Broadband Adoption

>> We Need to Hear from You

>> Blandin Foundation Commits to Support Broadband Through 2014

>> Hazard Communication and the Need for MSDSs

People and Companies

>> Save the Date: Kiesling’s Annual Accounting Seminar


MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Jaskowiak
Meeting Planner:
Julie Cygan
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Website/Newsletter:
Janey Duntley


April 11-12, 2012: MTA Plant Manager/ Superintendent Peer Group Meeting

April 26-27, 2012: Customer Service Peer Group Meeting

June 11-13, 2012: 2012 MTA Fishing Outing

July 9, 2012: 2012 MTA Golf Day

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ACTION ITEMS:

National Call Completion Test Project

NTCA is collaborating with the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) and other rural associations to conduct a national call completion test project to determine the scope of members’ call completion issues. We encourage you to participate by volunteering to originate calls and/or set up test lines for call termination.
 
Key information: 

  • The window for test calls is April 9-13, 2012.
  • Participation requirements and registration information are here.
  • Results of this effort will be used by the associations to educate and advocate for action at
    the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Note: Please be advised that if your company commits to making calls, any resulting information about the successful completion or noncompletion of those calls, along with the name of the originating carrier, will be made available to the FCC.
 
You may visit NTCA’s Call Termination Issues Web page for general resources and information about call termination. 
 
Questions? Contact Jill Canfield, director of legal and industry at jcanfield@ntca.org or 703-351-2020.

 

ConnectMN Starts Every Citizen Online Project to Increase Broadband Adoption

For several years now, the MTA has been working with ConnectMN on mapping Broadband availability in Minnesota. ConnectMN is now branching out and wants to partner with MTA members. Following is a letter to MTA members from ConnectMN. The MTA appreciates your consideration with this project.

Dear  MTA Members,
 
As you are aware, Connect Minnesota is the designated entity for ARRA grant funds in Minnesota. Connect Minnesota’s work focuses on broadband mapping, capacity building related to access, adoption and use, and supporting the work of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband.
 
Adoption is a challenging barrier to getting Minnesota residents online. In fact, 28% of Minnesotans that have access to broadband do not to subscribe according to Connect Minnesota’s 2011 Residential Survey. At Connect Minnesota, adoption is one of our three key focus areas (along with access and use).
 
Every Citizen Online is a new Connect Minnesota program that will work to address low broadband adoption rates. It includes three major components:

  1. Training. Connect Minnesota will provide access to an online training portal. This training will teach participants basic Internet skills and help them identify resources for provider services and future training opportunities.
  2. Low-Cost Computers. Once a participant completes training through the online web portal, they become eligible to receive a low-cost computer through Connected Nation (see attached for pricing and details). Connected Nation has arranged for reduced-cost licenses, available especially for nonprofit program participants.
  3. Internet Provider Discounts. As part of this offering, we would like to provide participants who complete training with information about service and special offers available in their area. We are currently seeking providers willing to offer low-cost/discounted services to people who complete the training. Importantly, we will be providing trainees with details of every provider available in their area and details about any special offers available to them for broadband service.

Through this partnership you will gain access to new customers who have completed training and the support of Connected Nation for training resources, distribution of computers, and awareness-building through promotion of training and incentives. Connect Minnesota is looking to develop partnerships that will benefit both the New Adopter and the Service Provider, while supporting Connect Minnesota’s ongoing programming.
 
We understand the importance and relevance of all providers in this project and would gladly discuss ideas as they relate to this program. Ultimately, our goal is to create and support new adopters, which we believe is mutually beneficial to providers in the state. We will ensure that every provider available at an address is made known to these new adopters.
 
We invite all providers to participate, no matter the platform or the subscriber base. Please contact me at whoffman@connectmn.org for more information about participating in this project.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
William Hoffman, III
State Program Manager, Connect Minnesota


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
:

We Need to Hear from You

There will be several sessions focused on listening to technology employers including Minnesota telecommunication companies. These events are cooperatively sponsored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) and Advanced IT Minnesota. CLICK HERE to find information about the session closest to you.
 
These grassroots sessions will provide an opportunity for technology providers to raise their voices as to the type of skills needed to fill current and future job vacancies. In turn, those skill sets that are most commonly heard across the series of sessions will have a stronger chance of being incorporated into future curriculum (course offerings) within the MnSCU system. The idea of collaboration between the private and public sector as well as between the state’s numerous colleges, is one of MnSCU’s highest priorities. This is an excellent time for our member companies to attend, learn of the MnSCU initiatives and then raise their voices such that we document our concerns and needs. Documented need, arising from these opportunities, will help any effort that is made to proliferate the program at MnWest-Granite Falls, the IP Telephony Program at Inver Hills, etc. This is one step needed for a fully comprehensive, state-wide telco program needed both now and in the future. Any help you can lend to proliferate the information, encourage sign-up and attendance, etc., would be appreciated.


Blandin Foundation Commits to Support Broadband Through 2014

At the Blandin Foundation’s March 23 board meeting, trustees chose to continue the Foundation’s investment in high-speed broadband through 2014. Program and grant-making details of this stage of the Blandin Broadband Initiative are being worked out, and will be available in fall 2012.

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SAFETY CORNER:

Hazard Communication and the Need for MSDSs

The purpose OSHA Standard 1910.1200 is to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals employees use and to ensure that the information concerning those hazards are transmitted to employees. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets and employee training.

Wow, that’s quite a mouthful. The purpose and design of the program is sound: communicate to employees the hazards of the chemicals that they are exposed to.  As a result of this standard, we have built binders of material safety data sheets (MSDS) that now are a familiar site in the workplace. New technology has allowed us to digitalize the MSDSs and make them available online, but the principle in our minds remains the same. If we have a chemical, we need a MSDS in our binder.

As a basic rule it was good, we would do audits of the chemicals we had, or the chemicals we missed during the last audit or the chemicals we no longer have and adjust our MSDSs accordingly. Then we would second-guess ourselves on the need for MSDSs for the medications and ointments in the first aid kit and that old bottle of white-out in the desk. We didn’t want to miss anything or not be able to provide the information if an employee requested it.

But do we really need to obtain MSDSs for every product we have? The answer is NO.

OSHA does not require that MSDS be obtained for purchases of household consumer products when the products are used in the workplace in the same manner that a consumer would use them, i.e.; where the duration and frequency of use (and therefore exposure) is not greater than what the typical consumer would experience. This exemption in OSHA's regulation is based, however, not upon the chemical manufacturer's intended use of his product, but upon how it actually is used in the workplace. Employees who are required to work with hazardous chemicals in a manner that results in a duration and frequency of exposure greater than what a normal consumer would experience have a right to know about the properties of those hazardous chemicals.

So the next time someone runs into your office asking if you have a material safety data sheet for the window cleaner in the janitor’s cart or the soft soap in the rest, you don’t need to panic.

Take care,
Dan Be
rg, M.S.
Lead Safety Consultant

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Save the Date: Kiesling’s Annual Accounting Seminar

The 2012 Kiesling Accounting Seminar will be held August 9-10, 2012, at the Grand Harbor Resort and Convention Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

Attendees can expect to 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.

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

 


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© Copyright 2012
Minnesota Telecom Alliance
1000 Westgate Drive, Suite 252 | St. Paul, MN 55114-8679
www.mnta.org | Tel: 651-291-7311 | Fax: 651-290-2266 | Email: info@mnta.org