November 1, 2013

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> MTA 2014 Convention Call for Presentations!

>> MTA Listserv Update

>> State of Minnesota Changes eService Law

>> Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Broadband Adoption

>> Intellectual Property Letters from Telcordia

>> Connect Minnesota 2013 Broadband Summit

>> FCC Adopts Order, Further Notice to Address Rural Call Completion Issues

>> Jump-Starting a Weak or Dead Automobile Battery Correctly

People and Companies

>> In Memoriam: Edward "Bud” Swecker

>> USTelecom names CenturyLink Executive as Chairman

>> Communication Co-ops Gain New Resources Amid Changing Landscape

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

December 4-5, 2013: 2013 Plant User Group Meeting

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

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MTA Updates


MTA 2014 Convention Call for Presentations!

We are now planning for the Annual Convention and Trade Show, March 24-26, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. Our convention offers you an opportunity to talk with the (estimated 1,500) MTA attendees face-to-face.

Deadline for submission: November 15, 2013

Request for Proposals
There are additional opportunities for you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to all attendees. We are requesting submissions of speakers and presenters for our breakout sessions and luncheons.

Breakout Session Requirements
The 2014 MTA Convention will have 20-23 breakout sessions of 50 minutes each and an Issues Update Luncheon. Sessions will be presented on Monday, March 24 and Tuesday, March 25, 2014. No sales pitches please.

Fill out the CFP online HERE.


MTA Listserv Update

The MTA will be making updates to our listserv platform on Monday. Listserv users may experience service interruptions early next week. Staff will be in touch with users regarding new listserv names once they are in working order. Thank you for your patience.

State of Minnesota Changes eService Law

Effective August 1, 2013, state agencies and regulated utilities must accept electronic service as official service. The following language was added to Minnesota Statutes:

Regulated utilities and state agencies must provide an electronic address to the commission for electronic service purposes and agree to accept electronic service as official service.

All paper service designations for state agencies and regulated utilities with email addresses on file with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will automatically be changed to electronic service to comply with Minnesota Statutes §216.17, subdivisions 2 and 4 and Minnesota Statutes §216B.18. Contact Jamie Eschbach with questions or changes: or 651-201-2204.

Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Broadband Adoption

from NECA’s Washington Watch

Testimony from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet hearing on "Broadband Adoption: The Next Mile,” held on October 29, 2013, were released. The Subcommittee examined how to increase broadband adoption in the United States, and explored challenges to broadband adoption among various demographic groups and regions and strategies to overcome those barriers.

Intellectual Property Letters from Telcordia

A few MTA members have received letters from Telcordia, Inc. d/b/a iconectiv about unlicensed use of Common Language Information Services and supporting code sets. In the letter, Telcordia states that its desire is to initiate discussions with the company to help the company obtain the correct Common Language Information Service licensed subscriptions and ensure that any continued unlicensed use of proprietary information ceases. If your company receives a letter from Telcordia, you are strongly encouraged to contact them immediately. MTA members who have received letters reported that they have been able to resolve the issues by making tariff revisions to omit any material which may have been subject to an intellectual property claim.

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.

FCC Adopts Order, Further Notice to Address Rural Call Completion Issues

from NECA’s Washington Watch

At its October 28, 2013 Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and FNPRM to address rural call completion issues. The Order requires providers with more than 100,000 lines that make the initial choice as to how to route a call to collect and retain call completion data for six months and file quarterly reports. The Commission said the Order will give the FCC the information it needs to investigate and eliminate rural call completion problems. The FCC indicated there will be a safe harbor provision with incentives for providers to improve their call completion practices and performance. The Order also bars providers from transmitting an audible ring to a caller’s handset when the phone on the other end of the call is not actually ringing. The FNPRM seeks comment on additional reforms pertaining to auto-dialer traffic, intermediate providers, and other safe harbor options and reporting requirements. The Order/FNPRM is not yet released. Statements were released by acting Chairwoman Clyburn, Commissioner Rosenworcel, and Commissioner Pai.

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

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

Jump-Starting a Weak or Dead Automobile Battery Correctly

The National Safety Council has published a simple but safe guide on safely jumpstarting a weak or dead vehicle battery. The following is the result.

When a motor vehicle battery fails, a jump start often is the best short term way to get the motor going. Because it is important that jump-starting be done properly, the National Safety Council recommends the following procedure:

  • Position another vehicle with a healthy battery and your car so they do not touch each other. Be sure both batteries are of the same voltage.
  • Read the owners' manuals for both vehicles for any special directions.
  • Turn off the ignitions of both vehicles and set the parking brakes. Place automatic transmissions in "Park” and standard transmissions in neutral.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves while using cables.
  • Unless given different directions in the owner's manual, use the booster cables in this order:
    • Clamp/connect one end of the positive (+) booster cable to the positive (+) post of the dead battery.
    • Connect the other end of the same cable to the Positive marked post (+) of the booster battery.
    • Connect the second, negative (-) booster cable to the other post of the booster battery.
    • Make the final negative (-) booster cable connection on the engine block of the stalled vehicle away from the battery.
  • Start the booster vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. Then, start the disabled vehicle.
  • Remove the cables in the reverse order of connection, being very careful not to let the booster cable clamps touch each other or come in contact with car parts. Also, avoid the fans of the engine. Electric fans may run without the engine being on.

As with all vehicles, check with your owner’s manual for additional guidelines and precautions.

Take care,
Dan Berg, M.S.

Lead Safety Consultant

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People Companies

In Memoriam: Edward "Bud” Swecker

Edward "Bud” Swecker passed away peacefully at home in his sleep on Sunday, October 27 at the age of 77. He was born on December 27, 1935, to Edward and Albina (Hazuka) Swecker at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. He was a 1953 graduate of Motley High School, and married Gay Granby on August 11, 1956. They farmed north of Motley their entire married life on the farm where Bud was raised. They have seven children: Coleen (Leroy) Bowers of Kenai, AK; Cynthia (Mike) Gold of Staples, MN; Caroline (Bob) Nibbe of Brainerd, MN; Matt (Diane) Swecker of Fargo, ND; Mike (Lori) Swecker of Anchorage, AK; Chris (Gary) Trout of Motley, MN; and Merle (Stacie) Swecker of DuPont, WA. Bud is also survived by 19 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. He has one surviving sister, Lillian Rollins of Staples, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, LaDonna Taylor and Evelyn Miller. Bud was an active member of St. Michael’s Church in Motley, where he was a council member, lector and song leader for many years. He served the community in many aspects — serving 35 years on the Consolidated Telephone Board, with the Sprinkle and Sprout Garden Club, as a past 4-H Leader, May Town Board, as well as many other groups and organizations. He loved singing with the Staples Area Men’s Chorus for 43 years but especially loved spending time with family, friends, playing cards, dancing and music. Mass of Christian Burial was held 11:00 AM, Friday, November 1, 2013 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Motley, MN.

USTelecom Names CenturyLink Executive as Chairman

USTelecom's board of directors has elected CenturyLink Executive Vice President Steve Davis to serve as chairman for a two-year term, replacing Windstream President and CEO Jeff Gardner. Davis previously served as vice chairman of the board; he has more than 30 years of experience developing and advocating regulatory and legislative policies for the communications industry. The USTelecom board also named Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative Vice President Robert Hunt as vice chair and Smithville Telephone Company President Darby McCarty as secretary.

Communication Co-ops Gain New Resources Amid Changing Landscape

As rural communication cooperatives face an unclear regulatory landscape, changing customer demands, a myriad of new technologies, plus ever-increasing pressures from large competitors, small cooperatives look to partnership for new resources.

Building on the success of Engineering and Fiber-optic network management services, Cooperative Network Services (CNS) is now working to expand additional back-office service offerings for members.

CNS, a consortium of 20 Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota communication cooperatives, is working to develop solutions to help members grow revenues using shared resources.

Most recently, CNS has launched a Marketing Solutions platform that includes a centralized Marketing Manager to assist members with marketing strategy development and execution. Chris Castegnari, the new CNS Marketing Manager, will serve as a shared Marketing Manager for member companies.

With substantial telecom experience, Chris will provide marketing services enabling small companies to have marketing resources once available only to larger companies. With a focus on strategy, Chris will ensure that product offerings, pricing, and messaging align with companies’ target markets.

Chris’ services will be available to member companies on a per-project basis, or as a consistent resource for members to rely on for their Marketing needs.

"We are very excited to bring Chris on board,” said CNS CEO Jason Dale. "Her ILEC, CLEC, and Telecom consulting experience is a great asset for our member companies. Her services meet a real need of some of our members. Providing professional guidance is what CNS does, and the addition of Marketing services fits that model perfectly.”

In addition to the new centralized Marketing Manager, a Marketing Preferred Vendors List has been created providing members discounts for commonly used marketing services like printing and fulfillment services, software purchases, promotional items and more. Some of these services may be part of members’ current toolbox, but some may include new web-based solutions.

"One of our biggest goals is to find ways to leverage our member volume to provide access to services that are normally only available to medium or large businesses – services that our competitors are using today,” said CNS Product Manager Paul Solsrud. "Without a doubt our members offer more value than large competitors, and by embracing new technologies we can ensure that the coop message resonates with subscribers.”

The goal is to add additional back-office services to allow members to focus their efforts on providing a superior customer experience and handling day-to-day tasks, while relying upon CNS to handle some back-office needs.

"These services will provide one way for members to realize some of the benefits and efficiencies of consolidation that much of the rest of our industry has experienced in recent years, while still providing that local touch and responsiveness that cooperatives are known for. This is very much in keeping with the cooperative mission,” said Dale. "It’s the collaboration between CNS and the members, along with full transparency that makes services like this possible.”

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

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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