At the regular meeting of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission yesterday, the Commission took up a request for reconsideration of its July 21, 2014 Call Completion Order. After receiving testimony from interested parties, including the MTA, the Commission voted 4 to 0 to clarify the reporting requirements as follows: “A reportable call completion complaint is a complaint by a carrier or customer, to an originating interexchange carrier, regarding the failure of a customer’s intrastate call to terminate to any end user associated with a rural carrier, as defined in the FCC’s Rural Call Completion Order, at a time when the customer is able to terminate calls to other end users. Each quarterly report shall be due 30 days following the completion of the quarter, with the first quarter covering January 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.”
This clarification means that previous information sent out by the MTA that the reporting requirement should begin October 1, 2014 is no longer accurate. Even though this reporting requirement still only pertains to originating carriers, MTA Active Member companies are still strongly encouraged to track terminating call failures in the same manner. The MTA will work with the PUC and other stakeholders on the details as we get closer to the start of the reporting process.
On September 29, 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that the Form 477 filing interface had closed temporarily, starting on September 26, 2014, due to significant and unanticipated technical issues. At the same time, the Bureau announced that it was extending the deadline for filing Form 477 data as of June 30, 2014 beyond the original October 1, 2014 deadline and would announce a new filing deadline when the site reopened.
The issue that required the closure of the site on September 26 was an isolated incident, and, out of an abundance of caution, the Bureau decided to halt submissions while it addressed this anomaly. However, with access to the site suspended, the Bureau believes this is an opportune time to deploy newly-developed technical improvements to the interface that should significantly enhance its overall performance. In particular, the Bureau expects improvements in the stability and processing times of large file uploads, which the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council (TAC) Working Group on Form 477 Testing recommended to the TAC on September 23, 2014. The Bureau will update filers on the status of the site in approximately two weeks. Once the site reopens, the Bureau will announce the new filing deadline, which will be no less than two weeks after that date. The Bureau apologizes for any inconvenience related to these delays.
The Bureau notes that filers can continue to prepare their data for upload while the site is down. To assist in the preparation of these data, the Bureau has made several new resources available for filers on the Commission’s Form 477 webpage, http://www.fcc.gov/form477. These resources include:
For additional information on this proceeding, contact Chelsea Fallon or Ken Lynch of the Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, (202) 418-0940, (202) 418-0484 (tty).
 See Presentation of the Technological Advisory Council 477 Testing Working Group, FCC Technological Advisory Council Meeting, September 23, 2014, at 53-65, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/bureaus/oet/tac/tacdocs/meeting92314/September23rd-TAC-Full-Presentation.pdf
from NECA’s Washington Watch
The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on October 7, 2014, providing rural broadband experiments applicants who seek Category One funding with information on the types of pricing and usage allowances required to qualify for this category. Category One allocates $75 million for the construction of networks capable of delivering 100 Mbps down/25 Mbps up, and requires the funding recipients to offer at least one service plan that provides 25 Mbps/5 Mbps to all locations within the selected census blocks. The Bureau said of those respondents to the urban rate survey who offer 25 Mbps/5 Mbps service, 87 percent offer a usage allowance of 250 GB per month; the second most common usage allowance is 300 GB (12 percent). Of those respondents offering speeds at or above 25 Mbps/5 Mbps, 51 percent have unlimited usage allowance, and the second most common offering (37 percent) is 250 GB per month. Prices ranged from $56.96 to $74.95.
from NECA’s Washington Watch
The FCC published a Notice in the Federal Register on October 15, 2014, announcing it has received Office of Management and Budget emergency approval, for a period of six months, of the information collection requirements related to FCC Forms 5610 and 5620, which are required to apply for funding for the Rural Broadband Experiments. The information collected will determine the applicants that will be selected and whether winning bidders are technically and financially capable of receiving funding for rural broadband experiment projects.
from NECA’s Washington Watch
Commissioner O’Rielly issued a statement after President Obama renominated him to a new term as an FCC Commissioner. Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Pai, Rosenworcel and Clyburn also issued statements.
from NECA’s Washington Watch
NECA spoke with Wireline Competition Bureau staff on October 7, 2014, to respond to Verizon’s September 29, 2014 ex parte, in which it asked the Bureau to reconcile the LERG and NECA lists of OCNs to ensure that calls are accurately captured in the rural/non-rural categories and that all covered providers categorize them consistently in their call reporting. NECA said Verizon is comparing NECA OCNs with LERG OCNs, which are not always the same, and explained the differences. Noting that Verizon described over “100 other OCNs in the LERG that are not ‘expired’ and that do not appear on NECA’s lists,” NECA explained without a list of these 100 other OCNs, it is unable to provide any analysis. NECA said it has no objection to carriers who wish to map the LERG to the definitive source of OCNs for rural call completion, which is NECA’s OCN list, so long as it is done in a consistent manner.
All MTA members are welcome to join a Peer Group
MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference. This is to be held November 11-12 at the Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes – Baxter, Minnesota. This event is for any and all individuals who deal with customers in the telecommunication industry. This is a great opportunity to attend (or send your staff) for very little cost.
We will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening with an icebreaker. We invite everyone to join us for this wonderful opportunity to network with peers in our industry in an informal, inviting setting. Two massage chairs will be available that evening for anyone who wants a little pampering. The morning of learning will include a message from our own MTA President, Brent Christensen, and Andy Isackson from CTC will speak on "Positioning Your Company Identity for 21st Century Success."
Before lunch, Maribeth Overland will speak on "Tapping Your Authentic Leadership Potential to Achieve Your Life Goals." She returns after lunch, speaking on "The Dynamics of Problem Solving – Why Don't They Get it."
In the afternoon we will break out into groups and do some team building exercises – and also continue the ever-so-popular Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions.
There is plenty of time to meet old and new friends and share your customer service experiences in the telecommunications business. Register now to attend this learning conference. The MTA registration fee is only $125. Rates are valid up until the event date. You and your staff won’t want to miss this conference! Find the full agenda and registration form on the MTA calendar. You will register with MTA and then make your own hotel reservation. We look forward to seeing you on November 11-12.
P.S. Please consider joining the planning committee. Our committee consists of four people with one leaving each year. You would help plan four conferences. We communicate with each other through email and conference calls. It is a great way to get involved. If interested, please let one of the committee members know. We would like to have someone onboard before the end of this conference.
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OSHA Deputy Director of Enforcement Programs Patrick Kapust announced the top ten most cited OSHA standards issued during fiscal year 2014. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA’s Fall Protection Standard was the agency’s most frequently cited violation.
OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so we can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before an accident happens. Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace relating to these standards.
The MTA Safety Program takes these frequently cited standards into consideration when selecting topics for training and while conducting safety audits for our member companies. The entire list is as follows:
- Fall Protection in Construction (1926.501)
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
- Scaffolding in Construction (1926.451)
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
- Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305)
- Ladders in Construction (1926.1053)
- Machine Guarding (1910.212)
- Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303)
Many of these topics have been addressed recently and others will be covered in the near future during our Safety Training sessions. If you are a member of the MTA Safety Program and there are any topics you would specifically like us to cover, please do not hesitate to let us know. If you are not a member yet, we can help you with that too.
Dan Berg M.S.
Senior Safety Consultant
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