September 20, 2013

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Register Now for the 2013 MTA Fall Conference!

>> 2013 Lifeline Certifications

>> MTA Conducts Member Survey on Capital Expenditures

>> Customer Service Peer Group

>> Reminder – Commercial Drivers Self-Certification Requirement

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

September 26-27, 2013: 2013 Customer Service Peer Group Fall Conference

October 10-11, 2013: 2013 MTA Fall Conference

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

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MTA Updates


Register Now for the 2013 MTA Fall Conference!

It is time to start thinking about fall. Getting ready for back to school, the Vikings, cooler temperatures, leaves turning color, and most important… the MTA Fall Conference!

Continuing a tradition we started last year, the MTA Event Planning Committee and staff have been working with the Video Peer Group, IT Peer Group, and Economic Development Committee to provide more opportunities to learn. This year’s event will open with Thursday’s sessions on the ever-changing regulatory issues facing our industry. It will continue with separate tracks giving attendees the most current, up-to-date, information on Video, IT, and our 3rd Telework Summit. See full schedule. 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. Don’t wait…

Become a Sponsor
Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2013 Fall Conference. MTA members will come 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!

SEE YOU AT THE 2013 MTA Fall Conference!




Interstate Telcom Consulting, Inc.

2013 Lifeline Certifications

Reminder to all members, your Annual Certification of all Lifeline customers must be completed by December 31, 2013. This year, companies have three options for completion of the 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.

Finally, all members should be aware that the FCC and USAC are currently in the process of implementing the National Accountability Database (NLAD) beginning in December 2013 and targeted for completion by end of first quarter 2014. 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.


MTA Conducts Member Survey on Capital Expenditures

Recently the MTA Active Members were surveyed on capital investments made in 2010, 2011, and 2012. A littlemore than half of the MTA membership responded to the survey. The purpose of the survey was to determine what (if any) impact the FCC’s Transformation Order is having on investments made in Minnesota. These dollars represent investments made in telecommunications. The results of the survey are as follows:

$ 212,933,930
$ 231,278,426
$ 164,818,462

This shows an increase of 8.6% in capital expenditures between 2010 and 2011 (before the Order) and a decrease of 28.7% between 2011 and 2012 (after the Order). In other words: $18.3 million more dollars were spent in 2011 over 2010 and $66.5 million less was spent in 2012 versus 2011. That is a shift of $84.8 million dollars. It should be noted that CenturyLink did not participate in this survey, so none of the Twin Cities metro area or large serving areas are included in this survey. All of this investment (or non-investment) was for rural Minnesota customers.

"Clearly, the FCC’s Transformation Order has had a negative impact on companies deploying Broadband,” commented MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen. Christensen added, "At the end of the day, the FCC has created uncertainty in rural areas and consumers are being affected. This should be a huge lesson for Minnesota lawmakers. They cannot have it both ways. They cannot set state goals for ubiquitous broadband, or border-to-border broadband as the Governor put it, AND take away the tools that let us get our jobs done, like the sales tax on telecom equipment. It will be interesting to see next year’s numbers after the repeal of the sales tax exemption on COE has taken hold. That decrease in investment can only get bigger.”

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

Customer Service Peer Group

MTA is excited to announce the upcoming Customer Service Peer Group Conference, to be held September 26-27 at Holiday Inn Mpls NW – Elk River, MN. 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 Thursday evening with an icebreaker meet-and-greet in the hotel bar & lounge. Chair massages will be available. The Friday morning of learning will include a message from our own MTA President, Brent Christensen; and Kristi Westbrook will share "7 Traits of Highly Successful People.”

Back by popular demand will be our "Peer to Peer Breakout Sessions.” Topics will include: Social Media - does your company use it, what and how; Customer Surveys - how do you develop and use; Cross Training - how and what works; Interpersonal Communications at your company; Lifeline Credits; Delinquencies and Bankruptcies; and what would you like to discuss next time. These are totally interactive and informative. Come with your ideas, suggestions, and what works for you!

After lunch, Organized Audrey will present "Entangled in Email and Passport to Productivity." Her passion and energy will motivate us all to develop effective email strategies to improve productivity and efficiency and learn how to become better organized and make life-lasting improvements. It’s time to take control of email, improve your productivity, and plan and prepare for a pleasant and successful work environment!!

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 $99. 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 September 26-27.

Register today

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:

Customer Service (CSR)
Office Managers (OM)
Human Resource (HR)
Plant Superintendents (PM)
Telco Marketing (TMG)

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Safety Corner

Reminder – Commercial Driver's Self-Certification Requirement

A change in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that went into effect on January 30, 2012, requires commercial driver’s license holders to complete a self-certification form, attesting to the type of commerce they are engaged in and whether or not they are subject to federal or state medical requirements.

Most commercial driver’s license holders have completed the self-certification form already; however, if your CDL was issued prior to July 1, 2011 and does not expire before January 30, 2014, you must complete the self-certification of the type of driving and also submit the Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

What happens if I do not comply?
The federal regulations require the State DOT to downgrade your CDL to a noncommercial license if you do not complete the self-certification of type of driving and submit the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, if required, before Jan. 30, 2014.

Who is affected by this?

  • Anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), class A, B, or C
  • Anyone renewing a CDL
  • Anyone applying for a higher class CDL or adding an endorsement to a CDL
  • Any CDL holder whose medical examiner’s certificate and/or waiver will soon expire or has expired

Who is not affected?
These regulations do not apply to drivers who do not hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and do not intend to apply for a CDL.

Keep your Information Current
It is important that you keep your information current to prevent the loss of your commercial driving privilege and to avoid possible action by law enforcement officers.

Submit a new self-certification form:

  • Any time the type of commerce you are engaged in changes (interstate/intrastate).
  • Any time your medical status changes (exempt/non-exempt).
  • Whenever your medical examiner’s certificate expires, if you are required to have one. You will be required to present a current certificate.
  • Whenever a medical waiver expires, if you are required to have one. You will be required to present a current waiver.

All CDL holders who were issued a CDL prior to July 1, 2011 must complete the self-certification and provide a valid unexpired Medical Examiner’s Certificate prior to Jan. 30, 2014, unless they already have a valid medical examiner’s certificate on file as of that date. If you renew or change your CDL before Jan. 30, 2014, you will be required to comply at the time of the renewal or change.

The following links will provide additional information relating to your particular State:
Minnesota DOT Fact Sheet:
Iowa DOT Fact Sheet:
South Dakota DOT FAQs:
Wisconsin DOT Help Page:

The above information should provide you with what you need to stay in compliance with the current regulations. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

Take care,
Dan Berg, M.S.
Lead Safet
y Consultant

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People Companies

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Minnesota Telecom Alliance
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