November 15, 2013

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> National Lifeline Accountability Database

>> MN Congressmen Send Letters to FCC about USF Concerns

>> Beware of New Telephone Scam

>> Connect Minnesota 2013 Broadband Summit

>> Study Highlights that Satellite Limitations Affect Access to High-quality Communications and Ability to Handle Increasing Capacity Demands

>> Registration Is Open for the Administrative Assistant Peer Group Winter Conference!

>> New Fire in Minnesota Report Details Data and Trends

People and Companies

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Jaskowiak
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Janey Duntley

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

November 28-29, 2013: MTA office closed for Thanksgiving

December 4-5, 2013: 2013 Plant Manager Peer Group Winter Meeting

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

March 24-26, 2014: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show – Exhibitor registration opens next week!

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MTA Updates


National Lifeline Accountability Database

All MTA Active members should be aware that the FCC and USAC are currently in the process of implementing the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). This database will be used to ensure that multiple providers do not receive Lifeline support for a single customer. All companies will be required to load Lifeline customer data into the NLAD, including the program under which each customer qualified. If you are currently not collecting this information, it is advisable to begin doing so as soon as possible. States have been broken up into 6 groups for NLAD implementation. Minnesota is in the sixth group. This means that Minnesota companies will need to upload their Lifeline subscriber information into NLAD on February 3, 2014.

USAC will hold a webinar on Wednesday, November 20 on how to migrate data to NLAD. Telcos are strongly encouraged to participate in these webinars. Click here for more information on the webinar: Webcast of NLAD Workshop IV. More information on NLAD can be found on USAC’s NLAD page.

*REMINDER* the NLAD process described above is NOT the same as your Annual Certification of all Lifeline customers, which must be completed by December 31, 2013. This year, companies have three options for completion of the Annual Certification:

  1. MTA DHS electronic matching process
  2. USAC Certification process
  3. Company mailings to each Lifeline customer

Results of the certification must be filed with the FCC, USAC, the State Commission, and Tribal Leaders (if applicable) by January 31, 2014 using Form 555. The new Form 555 is not yet available. Regardless of the process your company selects for Annual Certification, you must participate in the NLAD process on February 3, 2014.

MN Congressmen Send Letters to FCC about USF Concerns

Recently, Minnesota Congressmen Rick Nolan and Tim Walz sent a joint letter to the FCC commending the Commission on its work on CAF phase 1 and 1.2 for Pricecap carriers. The Congressmen’s letter highlighted the need for long-term sustainable support for Rate of Return carriers. CLICK HERE to read the letter. MTA members in the first and eighth districts are encouraged to contact your Congressman and thank him for the sending the letter. They can be reached at:

Congressman Rick Nolan:
Congressman Tim Walz:


Beware of New Telephone Scam

The MTA has received word from a member company about one of its customers who received a scam call. The call came from a foreign-speaking person saying that they represented Medicare/Social Security; the caller asked different questions and also went as far as asking for banking information. The customer told the caller ”You aren’t really with Medicare, are you?”, and the calling party hung up. The customer reported that the number came up as private. It is important to remind customers to be aware of scams and not to give personal information over the phone.

Connect Minnesota 2013 Broadband Summit

Connect Minnesota will hold a 2013 Broadband Summit on December 4, 2013, in Roseville, MN from 10 AM to 3 PM. A formal announcement and agenda will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, but you can register now by visiting the link below.

The Summit’s keynote speaker will be Thomas Cohen, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, and Counsel to the Fiber to the Home Council Americas. The event will include panel discussions on topics such as:

  • The Blandin Foundation: Community-led approaches to increasing broadband adoption
  • Overview and update from the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
  • How federal and state policy will impact Minnesota’s broadband landscape

Connect Minnesota will also announce the winner of its Minnesota Broadband Hero Award.

For additional information or to register click here.

Are you a panelist or public sector official? If so, contact Bill Hoffman, Connect Minnesota state program manager, at, for a promotional code prior to registering.

Study Highlights that Satellite Limitations Affect Access to High-quality Communications and Ability to Handle Increasing Capacity Demands

from NTCA and Vantage Point Solutions

While satellite communications continue to play an important role in the delivery of video services, limitations such as latency and weather interference will hinder widespread reliance on satellite technology for next-generation communications services as demand for capacity increases, according to a technical report issued today by telecommunications engineering and consulting firm Vantage Point Solutions.

The study, which was filed recently with the FCC by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA), the premier national association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies, reviews the possible uses and limitations of satellite-based communications as national demands for broadband capacity continue to grow. Vantage Point studied recent advances in satellite capacity, finding that despite improvements, satellite services will still face significant, service-affecting technical challenges in terms of latency, jitter, capacity and speed, especially when compared with modern fixed wireline technologies.

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • Latency: Satellite communications typically suffer from high levels of latency because the most common satellites used for the delivery of fixed broadband services are located more than 22,000 miles above the Earth, causing latency that is more than 20 times the latency of typical landline communications.
  • Capacity limitations: Satellite broadband services have significant capacity constraints, as a limited amount of spectrum is shared by all satellite users.
  • Environmental impacts: Frequencies used by satellite communications are susceptible to outages caused by weather disruptions during heavy rain, ice, snow and sun interference.

"Satellite communications face real challenges when used to deliver voice and broadband data services,” said Larry Thompson, P.E., Vantage Point Solutions’ chief executive officer and the report’s chief author. "With this study, we highlight the fact that limitations, such as latency and weather interference, continue to serve as significant deterrents to satellites taking the place of more reliable terrestrial networks which are better suited to withstand increasing capacity demands and provide high quality real-time, two-way voice and data communications.”

The full report is available here.

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

Registration Is Open for the Administrative Assistant Peer Group Winter Conference!

February 26-27, 2014
Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) Headquarters, 1102 Madison Street, Brainerd

Lodging and Ice Breaker at The Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, 6967 Lake Forest Drive, Baxter

We are excited to announce the upcoming MTA Administrative Assistant Peer Group Winter Conference scheduled for February 26-27at CTC in Brainerd! 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 on Wednesday evening for an informal ice breaker at the Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes where you can meet, mingle, and connect with both old and new friends! Appetizers and drinks will be provided (supper on your own).

Thursday morning we will meet at the CTC Headquarters office to start the day off with registration and a continental breakfast. Our speakers will include MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen, CTC CEO/General Manager Kevin Larson, and Rebecca Flansburg, owner of LAMS Communications, presenting on Social Media. A group luncheon (included in registration) will be held prior to the afternoon open forum discussion on topics that are pertinent and important to our roles as Administrative Assistants. This forum will be moderated by Kristi Westbrock, CTC Director of Operations/HR. Of course, there will also be many door prizes!

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!

Find the full agenda, lodging information and registration form here. We look forward to seeing you February 26-27!

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)

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Safety Corner

New Fire in Minnesota Report Details Data and Trends

According to the new Fire in Minnesota 2012 report, Minnesota has the 10th-lowest rate of fire deaths per capita in the United States at .93 deaths per 100,000 people. The annual report from the Minnesota State Fire Marshal's office provides data on fire incidents, causes and casualties, and a breakout of arson statistics.

Fire deaths have decreased over the past 40 years even as the state’s population grows and more fires have been recorded every year since 2010, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division report.

State officials say fire service advancements and fire protection technology (like smoke alarms and sprinkler systems) have helped lower the number of fire deaths. Inspection and code enforcement programs targeting hotels, motels, schools and other facilities have also played a role.

Key Statistics from the 2012 report:

  • There were 16,581 fires — a 12 percent increase.
    • 6,429 structure fires
    • 2,609 vehicle fires
    • 7,543 other fires
  • Fifty people died in fires in 2012 compared to 56 in 2011.
    • 3 people died in fires where there were working smoke alarms.
    • 10 people died from careless smoking.
  • Fires caused $292.2 million in damage — a 92 percent increase.
    • Much of the increase is due to the Verso Paper Mill fire in Sartell, Minn. The mill sustained an estimated $60 million in structural damage and $18 million in lost contents.
    • The number of incendiary fires, including arson, increased 18 percent in 2012. Incendiary refers to any intentionally set fire, including out of control recreational fires.
  • Cooking continues to be the No. 1 cause of structure fires.
  • There was one fire reported every 32 minutes statewide.

Did You Know?

  • Traverse County has not had a fire fatality in 29 years.
  • There were zero line-of-duty firefighter deaths in 2012.

In Case You Forgot!
A working smoke alarm reduces a person's chance of dying in a fire by half. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, outside every sleeping area and in every bedroom, on ceilings or high on walls. Batteries should be tested monthly (including hardwired alarms with battery backup). Batteries should be replaced at least once a year, unless they're 10-year lithium batteries. Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old – or sooner if they don’t respond properly when tested.

Take care,
Dan Berg, M.S.

Lead Safety Consultant

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People Companies

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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