January 3, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> USAC Changes NLAD Timeline (Again)

>> Blandin Foundation Announces Community Broadband Program

>> MTA Scholarship Information Now Available

>> NTCA Seeks Candidate for Board of Directors

>> MTA Peer Group 2014 Investment Opportunities Are Now Available

>> Telco Marketing Group Winter Meeting

>> Winter Driving Tips

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:
Marsha Truskolaski

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

February 19-21, 2014: 2014 Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Meeting

February 26-27, 2014: 2014 Administrative Assistant Peer Group Winter Conference

March 24-26, 2014: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show

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MTA Updates


USAC Changes NLAD Timeline (Again)

On December 27, USAC announced it is changing the timeline for companies to input data into the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). The new date for Minnesota carriers is February 17, 2014. On this date, carriers must begin to submit their Lifeline Program subscriber list to NLAD. In order to submit their subscriber list, the 497 Officer must first establish NLAD user accounts.

Between February 17 and March 23, carriers may "scrub" their subscriber list by submitting the list to NLAD to receive error messages and make corresponding data corrections. Carriers can continue to resubmit their data as often as possible to correct errors during this timeframe. A complete subscriber list must be submitted each time, not just corrected data.


Blandin Foundation Announces Community Broadband Program

The Blandin Foundation wants MTA members to know about three programs they have relating to Broadband. MTA members can apply for these programs by partnering with a 501(c)3 organization or a local unit of government. Because of their own non-profit status, MTA members who are cooperatives can also apply by themselves. The programs are:

Digital Inclusion Community Partnership – This program provides up to $25,000 to increase broadband adoption among low-income people. Successful efforts have included a combination of a computing device, digital literacy training and reduced-cost Internet. PCs for People finds that more than 80% of participants keep their Internet service after the discount period expires. Community partners could include schools, workforce programs or other non-profit agencies. Through the MIRC project, several Minnesota communities have started their own PCs for People-like efforts to meet this important need in their community. For providers, this is an opportunity to reach a market that has significant barriers to adoption and turn them into customers.

LightSpeed Grant Program – This program provides up to $50,000 and requires a 1:1 cash match. The goal of this program is to help organizations implement new technology innovations such as tele-health and distance education. Applications that support projects that reach from institutions to homes are preferred. Technologies should have some level of innovation, high bandwidth, video technology and/or interactivity to be highly considered. For providers, this grant program can help organizations move forward on bandwidth-intensive application and can help providers sell services to those customers who would be beneficiaries of the new online services delivered by local organizations — home schoolers, home health care monitoring, etc.

Broadband Innovation Grant – This program provides grants up to $10,000 to help communities improve their technology and broadband-based economic vitality. This new program has recently helped three communities move forward with assistance provided on tele-work promotion, downtown Wi-Fi hotspots and a regional economic development marketing initiative. Other eligible activities would include digital inclusion strategies, small business technology training, community technology events, hackathons, youth in technology, etc.

These programs offer MTA members an opportunity to enhance your already strong position as community leaders and to build your business. With your organization as a key partner in these projects, we know that they would be effectively implemented. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. CLICK Here for more information.

MTA Scholarship Information Now Available

Very soon, information about the 2014 MTA Scholarships will be sent to MTA Active member companies. The MTA Foundation will award five scholarships of $2,000 to high school seniors in MTA Member serving areas. Here is a link for more information and an application. MTA Member companies are encouraged to review the material and pass it along to high schools in your serving areas. The MTA Foundation will evaluate the applications received and winners will be notified in April 2014.

NTCA Seeks Candidate for Board of Directors

As you are aware, per the unification agreement, all current board members of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association will resign from the board at the end of 2014. Elections for our newly configured 2015 NTCA Board of Directors will take place during the 2014 Fall Conference in San Francisco, Calif. At that time, we will hold elections for six cooperative directors and six commercial directors, one from each of our six new regions.

We are currently seeking letters of intent from those members who are interested in running for a position on the 2015 NTCA Board of Directors. Individuals eligible to run for a board seat are members of NTCA in good standing who are employees, directors, or members of a cooperative or commercial telco. To help you decide if you would like to run for a board position, download the NTCA Board Member Responsibilities, NTCA Conflict of Interest Policy and the 2015 NTCA Region Map.

Be sure to review these documents prior to submitting your letter of intent. We also ask that you send in a brief bio and a short statement as to why you wish to run for a director position and what you think you bring to the governance of NTCA. Be sure to mention any leadership experience or other relevant experience. This material also will be posted on NTCA's website.

During the 2014 NTCA Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO, taking place February 2-5 in San Antonio, Texas, each candidate will have the opportunity to address attendees from his/her new region at the breakfast caucuses on Tuesday morning, February 4. Materials must be submitted by January 17 in order for you to participate in the regional breakfast caucuses and have your candidacy information on the website and app in time for the annual meeting.

Send all submissions to NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield, 4121 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22203-1801. Should you have any questions, please call Shirley at 703-351-2000.

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

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!

Telco Marketing Group Winter Meeting


Would you like to be added to a Peer Group listserv?
Email Jacquie at jacquiej@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

Winter Driving Tips

The month of December was quite a test for driving safely. It seems like it snowed every other day and especially if you had someplace to go. It looks like it may be another long winter, but that’s what we get for living and working here. In addition to the basic safe driving habits we practice all year long (buckling up, driving alert, driving at a safe speed and keeping a safe distance between vehicles), there are special precautions that need to be followed during the winter months.

  • Make sure your car is ready for the season. Have it serviced by a qualified mechanic and be sure that the brakes, battery, exhaust and cooling systems, headlights, fluids, windshield wipers and washers are all in proper working order. Throughout the winter, keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze and remember to check your tire pressure, especially during cold snaps.
  • Keep close tabs on the weather. Avoid traveling, especially alone, if severe weather is forecast. Before taking a trip, inform someone at your destination of your expected arrival time and your route.
  • Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment: a scraper and brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for traction. Include emergency items such as road flares, a blanket, and a flashlight with batteries.
  • If your car has been outside during a snowfall, brush all the snow off before setting out. Snow left on the front hood will blow into the front vent and cause defrosting problems, and can also melt and re-freeze on the windshield. Snow on the roof will cover the rear window and snow on the rear deck will blow onto tail lights. Pay particular attention to cleaning off headlights and tail lights so that other motorists can see you.
  • Adjust your speed to the conditions and increase following distances. Remember that bridges and overpasses can be more slippery than other parts of the road. If you begin to skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas and gently turn the wheel in the direction you want the car to go. Target the empty lane that you're trying to get to. Don't look at whatever pulled out or stepped out in front of you. Aim at the empty lane. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady, firm pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes. If you can see you're going to be hit from the rear, let off the brake to diminish impact, and move your head back into the head rest.

If (even after following all precautions) you find yourself stranded, stay calm and stay put. Your chances of being rescued are greater if you remain in one place. Staying in your car will decrease your risk of frostbite, hypothermia or being struck by another vehicle. Run your engine for heat about once an hour (every half hour in extreme cold). Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear to prevent the back-up of carbon monoxide. Leave one window slightly open. Tie a piece of brightly colored cloth to your antenna to alert others and aid rescuers.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Dan Berg, M.S.
MTA Lead Safety Consultant

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People Companies

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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