July 13, 2012

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Lifeline Timelines (and Other Fun Lifeline Issues)

>> Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Sponsor the 2012 MTA Industry Showcase

>> Pinnacle Publishing Golf Day

>> Thank You, MTA Golf Sponsors

>> Aggressive Driving

People and Companies

>> Kiesling 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


August 13, 2012: Pinnacle Publishing Golf Day

August 22, 2012: 2012 Telco Marketing Peer Group Summer Conference

September 13-14, 2012: OM/HR Peer Group Meeting

October 4-5, 2012: MTA 2012 Fall Industry Showcase


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ACTION ITEMS:

Lifeline Timelines (and Other Fun Lifeline Issues)

Recent action by the FCC and MNPUC on Lifeline has left many questions for MTA member companies. The MTA’s RTS Committee has been working hard on this issue and wishes to communicate information to assist members in ensuring that they remain in compliance.

Lifeline Application and Notification
At its June 7 meeting, the MNPUC approved a new application to be used by ETCs for Lifeline program applicants. This new application has not been posted online by the Commission yet, but can be found on the last two pages of the Order. This new application is to be used effective June 1, 2012. Until the application is online, it is possible that there may further changes to the form.

Also included in the MNPUC order is a requirement for ETCs to notify customers of changes in the Lifeline program. ETCs must notify all customers through bill inserts or other printed mailings by July 31, 2012. Below is a sample notification telcos may use to comply with this requirement. Companies should modify to include any company-specific information needed:

SAMPLE BILL INSERT LANGUAGE
Changes in Lifeline Credits
The Federal Communications Commission has changed the Federal Lifeline Credit amount to $9.25 effective August 1. As a result, you may see a change in the monthly lifeline credits starting on your August bill. This change will increase the amount you owe. If you have any questions, please contact [insert appropriate contact info here].

Additionally, ETCs must post information about Lifeline, including the support amount, the eligibility criteria, and the application form and instructions on their websites.

Lifeline Rate Tariff
Lifeline tariff updates must be filed with the MNPUC by July 2, 2012.

Lifeline Eligibility Verification
Changes have also been made in the timeline and process for verifying Lifeline eligibility. The FCC’s Lifeline Order requires ETCs to verify eligibility of customers participating in the Lifeline program as of 6/1/12. This verification must be completed by 12/31/12 and results submitted to the FCC and MNPUC no later than 1/31/13. MTA members have two options to comply with this requirement. MTA Members can choose to participate in the electronic verification process established with the MN Department of Human Services (DHS) or may decide to complete the verification manually.

Members choosing to complete the verification electronically must complete the following steps:

  1. Signed Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs) had to be received by the MTA no later than June 15, 2012.
  2. Those DSAs were collected by the MTA staff and submitted at one time to DHS on June 22, 2012.
  3. DHS will countersign and return one copy directly to the participating telco by July 13, 2012.
  4. By August 1, participating telcos should submit an electronic list of all Lifeline participants as of June 30, 2012 to DHS for verification.
  5. DHS will return an electronic list to the participating telco verifying eligibility of submitted participants no later than September 30, 2012.
  6. The participating Telco will need to send a letter to any Lifeline customers that were found not verified electronically via the DHS process. The letter should request proof of eligibility from the customer or risk being removed from the program.
  7. Certify the verification of Lifeline participants by 12/31/12 and submit results to the FCC, USAC and PUC by January 31, 2013.

Members who choose not to participate in the electronic verification process must complete the following steps:

  1. The participating Telco will need to send a letter (and follow up letter if necessary) to all Lifeline customers requiring the customer to provide proof of eligibility or risk being removed from the program.
  2. Certify the verification of Lifeline participants to the FCC and MNPUC by 12/31/12.


INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
:

Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Sponsor the 2012 MTA Industry Showcase

As a MTA Associate Member, you get the first chance to get your company’s message in front of the MTA membership at the 2012 Industry Showcase. MTA members will be coming to Minneapolis from all over the State to learn more about the important issues facing our industry. In addition to a new general session, the Showcase will have three tracks of programs all rolled into one conference. Whether your interest is in Video topics, IT, or Telework, there is something for you at the MTA Industry Showcase. Thank you in advance for your sponsorship consideration and all you do to support the MTA. Without your support, events like this would not be possible!

If you have any questions about the sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Broderick  (carissab@mnta.org) at the MTA Office (651) 265-7849.

>> CLICK HERE to SPONSOR

Pinnacle Publishing Golf Day 2012

Pinnacle Publishing will host its Annual Golf Day on Monday, August 13. It's a day filled with golfing, prizes, cocktails and dinner at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd, MN. Thanks to the generous match from the Cannon Valley Foundation, last year's Golf Day Event raised over $3,600 benefiting the Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA) Foundation Scholarship fund. Save the date; we hope to see you all again this year to make this day another huge success!

www.pinnaclegolfday.com


Thank You, MTA Golf Sponsors

Brat Sponsors
7Sigma
Ewald Consulting
GENBAND, Inc.
Graybar
MP Nexlevel, LLC

Beer Sponsors
Olsen Thielen CPAs
UBS Financial Inc.

Beverage Sponsors
Accedian Networks
Calix
Pinnacle Publishing
Power Product Services

Continental Breakfast Sponsor
Bernstein Global Wealth Company

Field Event Sponsors
Border States Supply Chain Solutions
Innovative Systems

Hole-In-One Sponsor
Finley Engineering

Snack Sponsors
Eagle Marketing
Farmers Union Insurance Co.
SourceOne Solutions

Door Prize Sponsors
Calix
CHR Solutions
Cisco
Clearfield, Inc.
Communication Network Engineering Inc.
Compass Consultants
CTC Telecom
Dakota Supply Group
Eagle Marketing
Emerson
Farmers Insurance Co.
Fox Networks
Hickory Tech
Innovation Systems
JCS Inc.
Kiesling Associates
Olsen Thielen CPAs
ONVOY
Paul Bunyan
Pinnacle Publishing LLC
Power + Tel
ProLabs
Ramstad Technology
SDN Communications
Tel Rep Midwest
Telcom Insurance Group
Wikstrom Telephone Co.

Hole Sponsors
Action Battery Wholesalers Inc.
Aevenia, Inc.
Badger Communications
Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Border States Supply Chain Solutions
Calix
CHR Solutions
Clearfield, Inc.
CoBank
Compass Consultants Inc.
Cooperative Network Services, LLC
Dakota Supply Group
Eagle Marketing
Farmers Union Insurance Co.
Fox Networks
HickoryTech
Innovative Systems
Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.
Kenton Group
Leonard, Street & Deinard
Mid America Computer Corporation
Mid-State Consultants, Inc.
National Information Solutions Cooperative
NECA
Olsen Thielen CPAs
Onvoy
Power & Tel
ProLabs
Ramstad Technologies, LLC
SourceOne Solutions
TDS Telecom
TelCom Construction Inc.
Telcom Insurance Group
TelRep Midwest
U.B.S. Financial Inc.
Vantage Point Solutions

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SAFETY CORNER:

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving or "road rage” is a growing problem from which no one is immune. You may have witnessed it, been a victim of it or you may have even caused it. Opinion surveys show motorists rate aggressive driving as a top threat to highway safety, yet many do not identify their own behavior as aggressive. Incidents that lead to aggressive driving behavior often are trivial in nature, and not something you might think would cause the explosions that characterize road rage. Violent traffic disputes rarely are the result of a single incident; rather, they are the cumulative result of a long series of troubles in the driver’s life.

According to the National Safety Council, crash data show a continuous increase in the number of deaths and injuries attributed to speed. And the more congested streets and highways are, the greater the chance your employees will encounter aggressive and unsafe drivers on and off the job.

Unsafe driving behaviors can include speeding, frequent and unnecessary lane changes, tailgating, rolling through a stop sign, and running red or yellow lights. These behaviors create unsafe situations and can lead to road rage.

So what is road rage? It’s when one driver reacts angrily to another driver in an aggressive manner. In expressing that anger, the driver might make an obscene gesture, yell, honk, abruptly brake, tailgate, cut off or force a car off the road, use a weapon or get physical.

While there are no sure ways to avoid becoming the victim of road rage, experts offer these suggestions:

  • Be a courteous and defensive driver. Maintain a safe speed. Signal your moves and try not to offend other drivers by cutting them off, tailgating or driving slowly in the left lanes.
  • Plan ahead and allow enough time for delays.
  • Concentrate on your driving, not on passengers, mobile devices or other distractions.
  • Don’t overreact to other driver’s errors; remember, we all make mistakes.
  • Don’t engage an angry driver. Avoid eye contact and ignore rude gestures and the temptation to return them. Get out of their way, but don’t pull off the road and try to settle things.
  • If you think a driver is harassing you or trying to start a fight, call 911.
  • If you’re being pursued, drive to a safe, well-lighted, populated area. Keep your doors locked and wait for help to arrive. Don’t drive home.

 We can’t control other drivers but we can control ourselves. Monitor yourself and keep emotions in check and don’t take out frustrations on other drivers. Most road rage involves displaced anger; if you think you have a problem, get help. If you’re tense and stressed, give yourself extra time and control your behavior - and remember, driving is not a contest.

Our best offense to aggressive driving is solid defensive driving skills. Talk with employees and family members about the risks associated with aggressive driving, and encourage them to adopt safe habits whenever they are behind the wheel.

Take care,
Dan Berg, M.S.
Lead Safety Consultant

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Kiesling Accounting Seminar

August 9-10, 2012
Grand Harbor Resort & Convention Center
Dubuque, IA

Kiesling is pleased to announce the Session Topics for this year’s Accounting Seminar, which will be
held August 9-10 at the Grand Harbor Resort and Convention Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

General Sessions

  • The New Regulatory Playing Field
  • Telecom Roundtable
  • Motivational Presentation

Breakout Sessions

  • Accounting & Auditing Update
  • Accounting Potpourri
  • Employee Benefit Options
  • Forecasting, the Future of Broadband Companies
  • Internal Control Process
  • Measured Services in Your Future
  • Microsoft Office Tips & Tricks
  • Part 32
  • Regulated/Non-Regulated Accounting
  • Settlement Process
  • Stimulus Reporting & Accounting Update
  • Tax Update
  • Wage & Hour Jeopardy
  • Wireless Accounting

Who Should Attend?
Telco accountants, accounting assistants, general managers, assistant general managers, and office managers working for independent commercial or cooperative carriers and those working in related fields with interest in the topics presented.

For additional information, visit Kiesling’s website or contact Debbie Smith at dsmith@kiesling.com, 608-664-9110.


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

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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