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.
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!
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-288-3723.
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
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
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.
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 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.
TMG 2015 Winter Conference
February 5-6, 2015
St. Paul Embassy Suites, 175 East 10th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
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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.
MTA Safety Program
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