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Peer Group Investment Opportunities Open for 2016. View Details
The FCC on March 30 released an order reforming the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) distribution mechanisms upon which smaller carriers rely to deploy and operate broadband-capable networks and deliver reliable and affordable telecommunications services in rural areas. The order marks the culmination of years of debate, starting with at least the national broadband plan, and active advocacy by members of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association in pursuit of targeted, thoughtful updates to the USF distribution mechanism to support modern broadband networks.
The item creates a two-path approach for support that includes a voluntary, model-based option, as well as the legacy mechanism.
The model option requires carriers accepting support to:
Deploy service providing 10 Mbps downloads/1 Mbps uploads to all funded locations, with faster 25/3 service required in areas of higher population density.
Accept that 40% buildout is required by year four, increasing by 10% each year until reaching 100% by year 10.
The legacy mechanism reforms the existing interstate common line support mechanism to provide support for standalone broadband, now known as Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support.
In a statement to the media, NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield called the order’s release a “watershed moment” for the rural telecom industry and noted that NTCA will be monitoring its implementation closely to see that it achieves the program’s statutory obligation to ensure consumers and businesses in the most rural parts of America have sustainable access to services that are reasonably comparable in price and quality to those available in urban areas.
“If it turns out that some aspects of the reforms do not succeed—if recovery of past investment is undermined, if the prospects of future investment become more challenging, or if consumers still cannot obtain reasonably comparable voice or broadband services at reasonably comparable prices—we will be right back at it working to have the FCC correct and address those aspects of reform for small rural carriers and the consumers they serve,” Bloomfield said.
In a press release issued March 30, the commission stated the item will increase fiscal responsibility of USF by reducing the allowable rate-of-return from the current 11.25% to 9.75%, reflecting current market conditions, with a phased transition, by creating an enforceable $2 billion budget.
The commission will hold a webcast regarding the order on April 4 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET. Registration is available online.
Additionally, a USF order briefing is scheduled for April 6 during the IP Vision Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. Registration for that session is also available online.
Free Blandin Webinar: Broadband-Focused Economic Development Marketing: April 14
Webinar “Broadband-Focused Economic Development Marketing”
Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Noon
To get the full benefits of new fiber network investments, communities must make targeted audiences aware that this new community and economic development asset is in place. All too often, here in Minnesota and elsewhere, community efforts to market their fiber networks for business and resident attraction are weak, fragmented and short-term. Mention of robust broadband availability cannot be found on community websites. Targeted marketing to attract new firms ignores the competitive advantage that the fiber network provides for data-hungry businesses in manufacturing, data storage, engineering and marketing.
Please join us as we welcome Aaron Brossoit of Golden Shovel Agency as he provides background and strategies on how communities can build targeted marketing initiatives that place robust fiber networks as the centerpiece for community marketing. Aaron Brossoit has over 10 years experience in community development markets. Brossoit has developed cutting-edge interactive work for communities all across the country. Brossoit is a board member for the Mid-America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) and on the communications committee for the National Rural Economic Development Association (NREDA). Brossoit’s work has won local, state and national design awards.
MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities Open!
MTA’s core purpose is to enhance the success and viability of its telecommunications industry members. You are an important part of helping us fulfill this mission. Here is your opportunity to maximize the impact of your event sponsorships for 2016.
Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety Award Recipients
The Minnesota Telecom Alliance Safety program presented four awards last week at the MTA Annual Convention; the winners are:
Randy Versdahl of Garden Valley Telephone Company was awarded the “Safety Director’s Award.” We understand that safety is a team effort and requires help from everyone in the company. However, we recognized Randy for his leadership, effort and commitment in supporting a safe environment for his company and the industry along with his contributions to the MTA Safety Committee and many years of service.
We also awarded three “Company Safety Awards” to companies that demonstrated dedication, commitment, consistency, direction and involvement, not only to their employees, but to the MTA Safety Program, the industry and their communities.
The Large Company Award was presented to: Paul Bunyan Communications and was received by Rob St. Claire
The Medium Company Award was presented to: Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association and was received by Josh Pikkaraine
The Small Company Award was presented to: Albany Mutual Telephone and was received by Randy Klasen
Congratulations to everyone for their effort and service. Thank you.
MTA Safety Program Update
Dan Berg, Jeff Ulmen and Chris Swanson at the MTA Safety Booth, 2016 MTA Annual Convention and Tradeshow
We want to provide a quick update on the Safety Program. Our newest Safety Consultant, Chris Swanson, has hit the road running and is finishing up her first cycle of training as Jeff and I are. We thank everyone for welcoming Chris and really appreciate the comments that have been provided on Chris’ training sessions. Chris and the rest of the Safety Team appreciate the feedback.
The summer visit schedules will be coming out in the next few weeks and we invite you to offer any input you’d like to provide on content, structure or services that would be beneficial for us to provide to your Company.
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