November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> 2015 Annual Convention Exhibit and Sponsor Registration Now Open!

>> Border to Border Broadband Development Grant

>> President Obama to FCC: Reclassify Broadband, Wireless to Title II Common Carrier Regulation; Wheeler "Asks for More Time"

>> FCC Announces 181 Applicants Submitted 600 Rural Broadband Experiment Bids

>> MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities Now Available!

>> The Dangers of Excessive Home Weatherizing and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

People and Companies

>> NU-Telecom Provides Network to Regional Schools

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

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

December 3-4, 2014: 2014 Plant Manager & Superintendant Peer Group Meeting

February 5-6, 2015: 2015 Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Conference

February 11-12, 2015: 2015 Administrative Assistant Peer Group Winter Conference

March 23-25, 2015: 2015 MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show

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MTA Updates


2015 Annual Convention Exhibit and Sponsor Registration Now Open!

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and network with more than 1,100 professionals from throughout the Upper Midwest. Plan to join us on March 23-25, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, MN.

>> Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus
>> Register to exhibitor and/or sponsor

The MTA Annual Convention continues to be the largest state telecommunications association Convention in the nation. It represents the interests of more than 80 small, medium and large telecommunications providers that provide advanced telecommunications services like voice, data, wireless video, and high-speed Internet access to Minnesota’s metropolitan and rural communities. In 2008, the MTA merged with the Minnesota Association of Rural Telecommunications (MART) making it even stronger and our Convention an even more significant event. It is a "do-not-miss" opportunity to showcase your company, products and services.

The Convention is a great way to get your message out to this group and the support of our exhibitors and sponsors is what makes this convention possible. Consider becoming a keystone of our pinnacle event! Multiple levels of conference sponsorship opportunities are available. This year’s convention will feature Vendor Demos on the exhibit floor and a “New Vendor” aisle. Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus for full details.

If you have questions about the exhibitor or sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf ( at the MTA Office, (651) 265-7849.

If you are an MTA member or have registered for a previous MTA event, please login. Your username is @@username@@. Click here for help if you have forgotten your password. If you've never attended an MTA event before, please take a minute to register as a user.

Click here to watch a short webinar about how to log in. Watch the event registration webinar here.

Have questions? Please contact and we will be happy to assist you!

Border to Border Broadband Development Grant

Challenge Process Deadline Extended
Forty applications for the Border to Border Broadband Development grant program were received and the challenge process was initiated on November 5th. Because of the detail that must be reviewed to determine whether and what to challenge, the OBD has received multiple requests for an extension of the challenge deadline. The OBD will extend the challenge deadline to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 21, 2014. Any challenges must be submitted to the Office of Broadband Development, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101. As a reminder, a list of the applications filed and instructions on how to file a challenge, if necessary, are available at under the “Application Process” tab. This list was updated November 13, 2014. The OBD, as noted on the table, does have pdf maps for many of the projects that were not included in the challenge document. If a potential challenger is interested in reviewing those maps to prepare a challenge, please contact us at or at 651-259-7610 to request those maps.


President Obama to FCC: Reclassify Broadband, Wireless to Title II Common Carrier Regulation; Wheeler "Asks for More Time"

from Stinson Leonard Street

President Obama released a statement on Monday, Nov. 10, that if adopted will have a significant effect on the way carriers — specifically small carriers — offer broadband interconnect access services. The president called for the FCC to "create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

The president reminded the FCC that the courts "have agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it."

Recognizing that "[a]n open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life" and stating that "companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy", the president urged the FCC and Chairman Tom Wheeler to protect "net neutrality" by reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a common carrier service subject to regulation under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. The president also asked the FCC to "make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband."

The president outlined four bright-line rules necessary to achieve this in Monday's statement:

  • No blocking: The Internet service provider cannot block customers from accessing legal content. This ensures that every player gets a fair shot at consumers' business.
  • No throttling: ISPs should not be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others (throttling).
  • Increased transparency: President Obama asked the FCC to make full use of the transparency authority the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization: No service should be stuck in a "slow lane" because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet's growth.

In his statement, President Obama implicitly acknowledged the somewhat unprecedented nature of his request when he noted that not only was the FCC an independent agency, but that, "ultimately this decision is theirs alone." In response, FCC Chairman Wheeler immediately released a statement recognizing the "substantive legal questions" involved and indicating that the president's submission would be incorporated into the record of the Open Internet Proceeding and solicited comments on the proposal. The Chairman's statement also noted that millions of comments had already been received in the proceeding including input from members of Congress from both parties. The Chairman went on to state that "we need more time to examine these to ensure that whatever approach is taken, it can withstand any legal challenges it may face."

The president's statement was immediately criticized by parties who oppose Title II regulation. At this point, it is unclear what effect the president's statement will have on the FCC's deliberations, given the chairman's indication that more time would be necessary in order to "get the job done correctly."

FCC Announces 181 Applicants Submitted 600 Rural Broadband Experiment Bids

from NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC issued a News Release on November 12, 2014, announcing there were almost 600 project bids from 181 applicants submitted for the rural broadband experiments. It indicated they amount to nearly $885 million worth of projects proposing to serve over 76,000 census blocks in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The FCC said in the coming weeks staff will identify the provisionally winning bidders, who then will be required to submit information demonstrating their financial and technical ability to participate in the $100 million fund for experiments.

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

MTA Peer Group 2015 Investment Opportunities 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 2015.

Download the 2015 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

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Safety Corner

The Dangers of Excessive Home Weatherizing and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Be alert to the dangers of excessive home weatherizing and carbon monoxide poisoning.

We homeowners have been informed of the benefits of weatherizing our home, including reducing energy consumption and saving money. Despite these advantages, there is a major drawback of making your home too airtight — carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a potentially fatal gas that can go undetected in your home. In order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, be aware of the signs that announce its dangerous presence.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is difficult to detect without the assistance of a special detector alarm. When inhaled, carbon monoxide immediately begins to deplete the amount of red blood cells in your body. Depending on the length of time you have been exposed to the gas, you may begin to experience a number of symptoms of varying concentrations. A low level concentration symptom may include headache or shortness of breath, while a high level concentration is signified by unconsciousness or brain damage. In between these two extremes there may be nausea, vomiting or drowsiness. Unfortunately, the low level concentration will produce symptoms that could easily be confused with a flu-like illness, making it entirely possible to misdiagnose your condition. Each year, there are many fatal cases of carbon monoxide poisoning due to individuals who fail to identify the true cause of their illness and continue to be exposed to the deadly gas.

In addition to the symptoms of illness, a number of other signs can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your house. Although carbon monoxide can be difficult to detect, a stuffy, stale smell in your house may be a warning of its presence and not necessarily an indication that you should clean out the closets. If you have already taken measures to reduce moisture in your house and you still see dripping water condensation on your windows, carbon monoxide may be present in your home. Moreover, closely inspect your stove to see whether a yellow burner flame has replaced the blue flame normally seen upon ignition. Or, if the pilot light in your furnace continues to go out, turn off the suspect equipment, evacuate everyone from the house and call a licensed heating contractor. A close inspection of your house may reveal that the source of carbon monoxide comes directly from your stove, fireplace, furnace or even your car. Although you would not know it, it is possible that your appliances have not been installed properly.

When your home is too airtight, dangerous carbon monoxide gases begin to seep into the air without you being aware of it. Like you, your house needs to be able to breathe. Excessive weatherizing has the potential to block the necessary flow of air needed for the safe operation of all appliances and heating equipment. Clear the air in your house with proper ventilation, know the dangers of excessive weatherization and don’t give carbon monoxide the chance to harm you and your family.

Most of all, if you suspect something isn’t quite right, get it checked out by a professional. This will give you and your family peace of mind.

Les McCoy 
Safety Consultant

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People Companies

NU-Telecom Provides Network to Regional Schools

NU-Telecom has recently been awarded a 10-year contract with Little Crow Telemedia Network (LCTN) and Minnesota River Valley Education District (MRVED) to provide data and video connectivity to 19 school districts within a distance-learning network spanning central Minnesota.

The cooperative between LCTN and MRVED allows for shared resources between districts including a high speed broadband WAN which provide Cloud Data services and distance learning options providing upper level high school classes as well as innovative instruction techniques and educational experiences for students and educators. The video services are also used for community education, video field trips, and other staff development activities.

“We are pleased about our new relationship with NU-Telecom for our network services,” said Pete Royer, LCTN Director. “NU-Telecom has a long history of providing reliable data services and has a solid support system making them an excellent choice for our member districts. The services are part of an effort to provide the highest level of technology while remaining a cost effective solution.”

Karen Jacobson Director of MRVED concurs, "Students are the ones who ultimately benefit the most from having access to this high-speed network. With our districts providing more one-to-one technology initiatives for students along with opportunities for students to bring their own devices, our students will continue to have access to amazing educational possibilities."

“NU-Telecom is excited to be a technology partner with LCTN, MRVED and the member districts,” said Bill Otis, President and CEO of NU-Telecom. “NU-Telecom has partnered with Hanson Communications, Farmers Mutual Telephone Company, and Federated Telephone Cooperative to reach the full potential of the network.  Our investment of fiber resources in central Minnesota is an investment in the educational future of the students within the network.”

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

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