September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> 2014 MTA Fall Conference

>> New Call Failure Reporting Requirements Go into Effect

>> State Fees to Change

>> Chairman Wheeler Discusses Broadband Competition

>> Senators Ask FCC to Re-evaluate Local Rate Floor Structure

>> 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference!

>> Save the Date!

>> Tips to Avoid Bullying

People and Companies

>> Thomas W. Campbell Elected Principal of Olsen Thielen & Co.

>> Global Capacity Acquires MegaPath’s Network Services Business Unit, to Create $300 Million Data Connectivity Company

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

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

October 9-10, 2014: MTA Fall Conference

November 11-12, 2014: 2014 Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

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

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MTA Updates


2014 MTA Fall Conference

It is time to think about fall. Kids are back at school, the Vikings season has begun, we have cooler temperatures, and most importantly... the MTA FALL CONFERENCE is coming!

This year’s event will open with an exciting lineup on Thursday. We have invited gubernatorial candidates Mark Dayton and Jeff Johnson to share their ideas with us. We have also invited Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Senate Minority Leader David Hann to participate in a panel discussion on the 2014 session, the 2015 session and their views on the upcoming elections. We have also invited representatives of the new Office of Broadband Development to talk about their activities. You will hear from the newest Public Utilities Commissioner, Dan Lipschultz.

Keeping up with a tradition we started a few years ago, the MTA Event Planning Committee and staff have been working with the Video and IT Peer Groups for more opportunities to learn. Friday morning continues with separate tracks giving attendees the most current, up-to-date information on Video and IT. Know you want to attend, but don’t know which sessions you want to attend? It doesn’t matter; you can mix and match sessions to meet your individual needs.

Check out the bios for Networking Reception speaker Joe Schmit and General Session speaker Rich Chapman.

Become a Sponsor
Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2014 Fall Conference. MTA members will be coming to Minneapolis from all over the state to learn more about the important issues facing our industry — and this is your opportunity to get your company’s message in front of them. 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!

Sign up now!

New Call Failure Reporting Requirements Go into Effect

This past July, the Public Utilities Commission issued an Order that will keep the docket open and monitor the FCC’s actions on this matter. In addition, new reporting requirements were put in place for one year to establish a record of the severity of the problem. As a result, the Commission will require all originating interexchange carriers doing business in Minnesota to report each call completion complaint they receive to the Commission and the Department on a quarterly basis, for one year. The Commission will require that the quarterly reports include the following information:

A. Root cause analysis on any call completion complaints for any intrastate call completion problem regardless of who reports the incident to the carrier;
B. If an intermediate provider in the call path was responsible for call failure, the name of that intermediate provider and whether the intermediate provider was removed as a routing alternative;
C. Any past performance or call failure problems that the interexchange carrier has had with the intermediate provider (if not already reported via this process);
D. An explanation of what steps the interexchange carrier has taken with the intermediate provider to ensure call completion problems do not occur in the future; and
E. Whether test lines were made available by the incumbent local exchange company in the exchange where the call failed, and if so, the testing process use by the interexchange carrier.

The MTA has been working with the MN Department of Commerce on how companies should implement this new requirement. It was decided that in order to create a uniform process, MTA members should begin tracking complaints that they receive where they are the ORIGINATING carrier as of October 1, 2014. The CT REPORT TEMPLATE has been approved by the Commerce department as an acceptable way to track complaints and file with the PUC under docket #P999/CI-12-1329. Each company’s report should be filed as soon as possible in the quarter immediately following the reporting quarter. NOTE: WHILE THIS FILING REQUIREMENT IS ONLY FOR ORiGINATING IXCs, TERMINATING CARRIERS RECEIVING COMPLAINTS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO TRACK COMPLAINTS IN A SIMILAR WAY. This will help reconcile reporting problems should they occur. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at: or 651-288-3723.

State Fees to Change

The TAP/TAM/911 fees on Minnesota customer bills are shown as a combined charge and will increase from 87 cents to 89 cents in November. While there was no increase to the TAP and 911 charges, the TAM surcharge increase to $0.08 will be effective on, or billing cycle after, November 1, 2014. PUC Implementation Notice


Chairman Wheeler Discusses Broadband Competition

from NECA’s Washington Watch

Chairman Wheeler gave a speech on September 4, 2014, at 1776 in Washington, D.C., on the future of broadband competition. He said while it’s good that a majority of American homes have access to 100 Mbps, it is not acceptable that more than 40 percent do not. He also noted at 4 Mbps and 10 Mbps, the majority of Americans have a choice of only two providers; at 25 Mbps, three-quarters of American homes have no competitive choice; and at 50 Mbps, 82 percent of consumers lack a choice. He said the simple lesson of history is that competition drives deployment and network innovation, and detailed a set of policy goals to encourage greater broadband competition. Fact Sheet

Senators Ask FCC to Reevaluate Local Rate Floor Structure

from NECA’s Washington Watch

U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and a bipartisan group of 14 other U.S. Senators sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler on September 10, 2014, asking the FCC to reevaluate the structure of the local service rate floor and consider changes to ensure that rural consumers are protected from unnecessarily excessive rate hikes. They said reasonable measures can be undertaken in coordination with the Commission’s important goal of ensuring that rural and urban consumers alike are not subsidizing artificially low rates for a small number of consumers in some states.

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

2014 Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference!

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 till 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.

Register Now

Save the Date!

TMG 2015 Winter Conference
February 5-6, 2015
St. Paul Embassy Suites, 175 East 10th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101

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Safety Corner

Tips to Avoid Bullying

School has been in session for a couple of weeks and while it can be a memorable time for most kids, it can be extremely stressful for others, especially if they are feeling bullied. Bullying can not only threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school – it can negatively impact their ability to learn.

In the past bullies used physical intimidation – but with today’s technology and increased use of social media, cyberbullying is a new and growing way that kids are bullying each other. 

Forms of cyberbullying can range in severity from cruel or embarrassing rumors to threats, harassment, or even stalking. It can affect any age group; however, young kids and teenagers are the most common victims as cyberbullying has become an especially growing problem in schools.

The relative anonymity of the internet is appealing for bullies because it enhances the intimidation. In some cases, it has become very difficult to trace while it increases the visibility of the pictures or rumors by making them available to more people in a very short period of time.

Some bullies find it easier to be more vicious on the internet as well, because there is no personal contact.

As much as we try, neither parents nor the school can completely protect our kids from every bully.  However, there are things we can do at home to prevent our kids from getting bullied.

  • Keep lines of communication open with your children so that they feel comfortable telling you if they are being victimized online.  
  • Teach your kids to refrain from sharing photos or videos that might cause them problems if other people see them, especially people who are not their “friends”.
  • “Follow” your kids on social media or ask another adult to do it on your behalf so you can stay up-to-date on what they are doing or saying.
  • Keep all evidence of cyber bullying, including text messages and harassing emails. In addition to archiving an electronic version, consider printing a copy.

If your kids are being harassed or threatened, report the activity to the local authorities. Law enforcement agencies have different policies, but your local police department is a good starting point. Depending on the activity, it may also be appropriate to report it to school officials who may have separate policies for dealing with activity that involves students.

By getting involved, doing a few simple things, and being supportive, we can help make school a great memory and the best time of kids' lives.

Jeff Ulmen
Safety Consultant
MTA Safety Program

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People Companies

Thomas W. Campbell Elected Principal of Olsen Thielen & Co.

Olsen Thielen & Co., Ltd., Certified Public Accountants & Consultants has elected Thomas W. Campbell, MBA to Principal. Olsen Thielen & Co., Ltd. has offices located in St. Paul and Minneapolis and employs over 100 staff.

Tom is a graduate of St. Mary’s University of Minnesota where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and his Graduate degree in Telecommunications. He received his Master of Business from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He has been with Olsen Thielen for 4 years in the Telecommunications Management Advisory Services Consulting Group, where he brings 25 years of industry experience specializing in regulatory, financial, and strategic business planning.

Tom and his wife Kelly live in Big Lake, Minnesota, and have four daughters – Chelsea, Lindsay, Alexa, and Amanda.

Tom is an active member with the Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA), Iowa Communications Alliance, and the Rural Broadband Association (NTCA). He is also the Big Lake District Representative for the Monticello-Big Lake Hospital and serves as its Treasurer.

Global Capacity Acquires MegaPath’s Network Services Business Unit, to Create $300 Million Data Connectivity Company

Global Capacity, the leading connectivity as a service company, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Network Services business unit of MegaPath Corporation. The transaction will combine the complementary capabilities of Global Capacity’s One Marketplace platform and cloud application with MegaPath’s robust network infrastructure and intelligent delivery systems. The acquisition will create a $300 million company focused on making it simpler, more cost-effective and more efficient for customers to buy network connectivity in today’s increasingly complex $318 billion global data connectivity market.

As a result of the acquisition, Global Capacity will gain infrastructure and human resources that allow it to more effectively compete on a global scale. The acquisition will provide it with a significant expansion of business and wholesale customers as well as the United States’ largest aggregated central office-based network, serving 50 markets, reaching over 14 million businesses and adding more than 300 experienced employees.

“Our acquisition of MegaPaths’ Network Services business furthers our strategy to simplify network connectivity by creating one of the most innovative connectivity as a service companies in the industry,” said Jack Lodge, President of Global Capacity. “By expanding our product portfolio, and our network’s reach and depth, we can now deliver access to over 98% of the U.S. market, offering our customers more options to connect to even more choice locations while improving our price performance, and building on the double digit growth we enjoyed this past year.”

The network business being acquired is directly aligned with Global Capacity’s initiatives for growth. Key drivers include continued build-out of ubiquitous network reach; enhancements to Global Capacity’s cloud application that enable real-time design, price and ordering of connectivity; and improved real-time network management tools to meet telecommunication carriers', managed service providers', system integrators', and enterprise customers' increasingly application-centric bandwidth requirements.

With the sale of its Network Services business unit, MegaPath will continue to operate its managed voice, data, security and cloud services businesses, and this transaction enables MegaPath to focus on these high-growth segments. At closing, MegaPath will become Global Capacity’s largest wholesale customer.

"This transaction provides great benefit to our Network Services customers, while enabling MegaPath to focus on investing in the growth of our core value added services,” adds Craig Young CEO MegaPath. “Customers will benefit from the expanded portfolio of connectivity solutions provided by One Marketplace.”

Prior to the close of this transaction, the companies will continue to be led by their respective management teams. Upon closing, Jack Lodge, current President of Global Capacity, will lead the combined company. Throughout the closing process, there will be no impact to customer service or support, and a detailed planning process is underway to ensure a seamless transition at closing.

The deal is expected to close in December 2014, following customary regulatory approvals. Global Capacity remains a privately held company owned by Pivotal Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of these strategic assets from MegaPath,” said F. Francis Najafi, Founder and CEO of Pivotal Group. “The disruptive nature of the One Marketplace platform has become increasingly self-evident in the market, and the ability to accelerate the scale and competitiveness of our platform through the addition of these assets is very exciting.“

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

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