August 8, 2014

August 8, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Become a Sponsor of the 2014 MTA Fall Conference!

>> State Do Not Call Registry Update

>> Build a Better Deployment Plan in Minneapolis

>> FCC Releases List of Census Blocks For Rural Broadband Experiments

>> Commission Issues Order on Reporting of Customer Lines Under Identical Support Rule

>> Blandin Community Broadband Program 2015-16: Webinar August 14, 3-4pm

>> CenturyLink Gigabit Multi-City Stealth Launch

>> Rural Broadband Experiments Order Effective September 5

>> Thank You, Door Prize Donors

>> Administrative Assistant Peer Group Summer Conference

>> Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

>> MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Available!

>> Eyewash Stations

People and Companies

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

August 11, 2014: Pinnacle Golf Day

August 27-28, 2014: 2014 Administrative Assistant Peer Group Summer Conference

September 11-12, 2014: 2014 Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

October 9-10, 2014: MTA Fall Conference

Back to top

MTA Updates


Become a Sponsor of the 2014 MTA Fall Conference!

Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2014 Fall Conference. The conference will be held on Thursday, October 9 and Friday, October 10 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.


If you have any questions about the sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf (


State Do Not Call Registry Update

Recently, a couple of our members were copied on this letter to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Several years ago, Commerce had a state Do Not Call Registry that listed an 800 number for consumers to call to be added to the list. That was established around the same time as the National Do Not Call Registry. Since then, the State has taken down its Do Not Call Registry and discontinued the 800 number. That number has since been assigned to LifeLock. Telecom providers were required to have the state information on their websites and most, if not all, have not updated their websites after the State took its down.

Please check your website to ensure the Do Not Call information is current. The Department of Commerce has the following information on its website. The MTA recommends using the same information to replace any old/outdated information on your website:

Do Not Call: Consumer Information
The Do Not Call Law was implemented in response to consumers' concerns regarding unwanted telemarketing calls.

The National Do Not Call Registry, under the joint jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, was implemented to assist consumers. The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. To learn more about who may or may not call, review these Frequently Asked Questions. You can file a complaint if you receive unwanted calls from telemarketers to which the Do Not Call Registry applies.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can add you to the National Do Not Call Registry online, or you can call 1-888-382-1222 to register. It is free to register your home or mobile phone.

If you have any questions, please contact MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at: or 651-288-3723.

Build a Better Deployment Plan in Minneapolis

Lighting Up the North!

FTTH Council Regional Conference: Following the Gigabit Highway
Minneapolis Hyatt Regency, September 2-4
Register Now

FTTH networks are being deployed in cities and communities across the U.S., bringing a transformation in work efficiency and leisure activities. A new playing field is being created for upgraded communities – make sure yours isn’t left out! Register now and join us September 2-4 in Minneapolis to discover best practices for successfully deploying an FTTH network efficiently and affordably.

Enhance Your Knowledge
Explore deployment strategies with experienced network operators, and learn about the positive impact of bringing FTTH to your community from civic leaders who moved forward and are now seeing the benefits. Discussion topics will include:

  • Why Technology Matters – The Operational Superiority of Fiber
  • How All-Fiber is Transforming Rural Life: The Killer Apps
  • Increasing Take-Rates and Retention: Marketing for Success
  • Preparing to File for the FCC’s Rural Broadband Experiments
  • And much more!

View the full conference program for session details and speakers.

Build New Connections
Share your struggles and successes with other attendees, and learn from the experiences of others. Network with vendors that understand how to develop and maintain FTTH networks on a community level, as well as consultants who will highlight the value a successful FTTH deployment can bring to your community.

Register Now
FTTH networks are popping up all over the map, and programs to provide funding for future deployments are becoming readily available. Isn’t it time your community upgrades to the next level of connectivity? Register now for the FTTH Council Regional Conference: Minneapolis or visit our website to learn more.

FCC Releases List of Census Blocks For Rural Broadband Experiments

from NECA’s Washington Watch

The Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice on July 25, 2014, announcing the list of census blocks eligible for support for the rural broadband experiments, and their associated support amounts, as calculated by the Connect America Cost Model. The Bureau also announced that the map previously released depicting the geographic areas that may be eligible for Phase II support now provides more detailed information regarding location totals and support amounts at the census tract level, which it said may be useful for applicants interested in applying for rural broadband experiment funding. The list of census blocks is available at: The CAF Phase II map is available at: Proposals are due October 14, 2014.

Commission Issues Order on Reporting of Customer Lines Under Identical Support Rule

from NECA’s Washington Watch

The Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order on July 28, 2014, resolving issues relating to the reporting of customer lines under the former identical support rule, specifically relating to the requirement that CETCs providing mobile service receive high-cost support in a particular service area based on customer billing addresses. The Bureau granted: the requests for review of USAC decisions filed by ACS, GCI, AT&T, Cordova and PR Wireless; ASTAC’s petition for waiver; and in part Cricket and Mobi’s request for guidance. The Bureau said CETCs generally should continue to use customer billing addresses when filing for support, but clarified that the use of billing addresses for prepaid customers and the use of invoice addresses for reporting of business customers with multiple service addresses but a single billing address are consistent with section 54.307(b).

Blandin Community Broadband Program 2015-16: Webinar August 14, 3-4pm

In March 2014, Blandin Foundation trustees voted to extend the organization’s decade of work in rural broadband another two years and allocate $1.5 million more for community broadband grants in 2015-16. In this webinar, Foundation staff and consultants will unveil the next generation of the Blandin Community Broadband Program.

Join Mary Magnuson, Blandin Community Broadband Program Administrator, and Bill Coleman, Project Consultant, and learn about each of the grant programs, including eligibility, selection criteria, matching requirements, and get advice about what makes for a successful project application.

Register here:

CenturyLink Gigabit Multi-City Stealth Launch

from Telecompetitor

While some network operators have been announcing future gigabit service launches and pondering where to build out the ultra-high-speed broadband service next, CenturyLink apparently has been stealthily deploying the service in numerous markets in its ILEC service territory. The company announced recently that it has begun offering symmetrical gigabit service to residential and business customers in seven new markets and to business customers in an additional six markets. The company previously announced gigabit service in three markets, bringing the total number of markets where it offers both residential and business gigabit broadband to ten.

“While some providers talk about bringing broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second to their customers in the future, CenturyLink is delivering these speeds today to thousands of residential and business customers,” said Shirish Lal, CenturyLink senior vice president, in the announcement.

According to the release, hundreds of thousands of additional residential and business customers will have access to gigabit services within the next 12 months.

Not surprisingly, one of the markets where CenturyLink has begun offering service to both residential and business customers is Portland, a market that Google has been considering for gigabit service. Other markets getting both types of service are among CenturyLink’s largest, including Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver.

CenturyLink Gigabit
A visit to CenturyLink’s website shows pricing starting at $79.95 monthly for three years of gigabit service in Denver when the service is sold as part of a bundle.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that CenturyLink is being so aggressive in deploying gigabit service. Unlike the nation’s two larger telcos – AT&T and Verizon – CenturyLink doesn’t have a wireless business and instead must rely on business services and broadband for growth. The launch of gigabit service should enable it to leapfrog cable competitors on data rates. Cablecos are expected to start deploying gigabit service next year when the latest generation of DOCSIS technology becomes available. But CenturyLink may still have a leg up in that its offering will support symmetrical gigabit service, while cable companies generally offer asymmetrical service with speeds that are lower on the upstream side.

The 10 markets where CenturyLink now offers residential and commercial gigabit service are:

  • Columbia, Mo.
  • Denver
  • Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Las Vegas
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Omaha
  • Orlando
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake City
  • Seattle

The six markets that are currently receiving business gigabit only are:

  • Albuquerque
  • Colorado Spring, Colo.
  • Phoenix
  • Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Spokane, Wash.
  • Tucson, Ariz.

Update: AT&T said it will also expand its GigaPower ultra-high-speed broadband offering to the City of Houston, Tex., and to Overland Park, Kan.

Rural Broadband Experiments Order Effective September 5

from NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC published the July 14, 2014 Order that established a $100 million budget and a methodology for selecting winning applications for the Connect America rural broadband experiments in the Federal Register on August 6, 2014. The Order is effective September 5, 2014, except for the application process and reporting requirements that contain new or modified information collection requirements, which require OMB approval.

Thank You, Door Prize Donors

Thank you to the following companies for donating door prizes at the 2014 MTA Golf Day:

Accedian Networks
Boarder states
Compass Consultants
Dakota Supply Group
Innoventive Systems
Jay Carlson Services
Olsen Thielen
Paul Bunyan
Power Product
SDN Communications
Vantage Point

Back to top

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

Administrative Assistant Peer Group Summer Conference

August 27-28, 2014
West Central Telephone Association Headquarters, Sebeka, MN

We are excited to announce the upcoming MTA Administrative Assistant Peer Group Summer Conference scheduled for August 28 at West Central Telephone Association in Sebeka! 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.

To kick off the conference, join us Wednesday evening, August 27, for an informal ice breaker at Blueberry Pines Golf Club, located at 39161 US Hwy 71, Menahga, where you can meet, mingle, and connect with both old and new friends! Appetizers and drinks will be provided (dinner on your own).

Thursday morning, we will meet at West Central Telephone Association headquarters to start the day off with registration and a continental breakfast. Agenda topics include a GM Perspective, MTA update, KwikTag and Effective Communication Skills & Office Attitudes presentations. A group luncheon (included in registration) will be held at “The Hub,” followed by the afternoon open forum discussion on topics that are pertinent and important to our roles as Administrative Assistants. And, of course, there will be many door prize drawings throughout the event!

As you can see, this conference has a full agenda of interesting topics that will not only leave you with great ideas from sessions but will also allow you to network with our peers in the telecom industry. We are really looking forward to a good turnout and hope you will consider joining us!

Learn More and Register Here

Office Managers/HR Peer Group Fall Conference

September 11-12, 2014
Thumper Pond Resort, Ottertail, MN

Join us at beautiful and relaxing Thumper Pond in Ottertail, MN on September 11-12, 2014. As always, this informative two-day event will get you updates on not only industry related items, but about finding your strengths and how to use them better in a team, about how the directory business has changed and where it’s going, about hot topics in Human Resources such as recruiting and retaining employees, and also to learn from David Arvig about his company in our GM perspective. Oh yeah, and we might find some time for socializing with old and new friends!

We’ll kick off the event in the bar/restaurant at Thumper Pond on Wednesday night. The tentative agenda for the daytime is available here. We’re still finalizing plans for Thursday night fun; we’ll get out more details on that as soon as we can.

Hotel rooms must be reserved by August 11, 2014 to guarantee the special event rates. Room rates are $79.95 for either a king or two queens. Please ask for the MTA Office Manager/HR Peer Group block when calling. Thumper Pond, 300 Thumper Lodge Road, Ottertail, MN. Call 218-367-2000 or learn more at

Learn More and Register by August 29!

We look forward to seeing you in the fall!

MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are 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 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)

Back to top

Safety Corner

Eyewash Stations

During our inspections this summer, one of the most overlooked items we have found has been the eyewash stations in the battery rooms. Because the first 10-15 seconds immediately after an exposure are the most critical, selecting a location and maintaining your eyewash stations is of utmost importance.  The ANSI 358.1-2009 standard covers the minimum performance required for all eyewash and drench shower equipment and states that “all flushing equipment must be located in easy-to-reach areas, with the eyewash station or shower accessible within 10 seconds” (known as the 10 second rule). The distance a normal person can travel in this time frame is estimated to be 55 feet. However, battery-handling areas should have fixtures within 25 feet.  Additional eyewash station requirements include:

  • effective for spills, splashes, dust, or debris likely to affect only the eyes
  • provides a controlled flow of water to both eyes simultaneously
  • delivers an uninterrupted, 15-minute supply of tepid water

It's also important for safety fixtures to be clearly identifiable and easy to reach. To ensure this:

  • Keep the area around the fixture well lit
  • Identify each fixture with a highly visible sign (yellow is often the easiest to see)
  • Install eyewash spray heads a minimum of 6 inches from walls or obstructions to allow the user clear access for eye flushing.
  • Make sure the area station is unobstructed!

The most common type of eyewash station we have seen is the self-contained, portable type with sealed-fluid cartridges which are good for 24 months. Even though the fluid is good for 24 months, the ANSI standard also states “all emergency eyewash equipment should be installed, inspected, and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions. Regarding inspections, self-contained units should be visually checked weekly to determine whether the fluid needs to be changed or more should be added. Plumbed units should be tested weekly. Also, all eyewash equipment should be inspected to manufacturer specifications annually.” Therefore, you should assign an employee to visually inspect your eyewash station weekly to make sure it is full, the seal has not been broken and the fluid has not expired and then document the inspection.

We hope there is never a need to use emergency equipment, but in the case that it's needed, you want to be sure it's in good working order and won't do more harm than good when used. 

See you this fall,

Jeff Ulmen
Safety Consultant

Back to top

People Companies

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

Back to top

Is there someone in your organization who you would like to add to the distribution list? Send their name, company and email address to and we'll add them to the list.

News Bytes is intended for MTA members. Redistribution is limited to internal audiences only. If you wish to be removed from the MTA email list, you may unsubscribe here: @@unsubscribe_url@@.

© Copyright 2014
Minnesota Telecom Alliance
1000 Westgate Drive, Suite 252 | St. Paul, MN 55114-8679 | Tel: 651-291-7311 | Fax: 651-290-2266 | Email: