News Bytes - June 24, 2016
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MTA News Bytes

June 24, 2016

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Register Today for MTA's Golf Event!

Peer Group Bulletin

>> MTA Peer Group 2016 Investment Opportunities

Informational items

>> FCC Commissioners, White House Issue Statements on Open Internet Court Decision

>> ONVOY Raises Money for MTA PAC

Safety Corner

>> Safety Bytes

People & Companies

>> Onvoy Buys ANPI

>> Cooperative Network Services Announces that Jean Edhlund Joined the CNS Team

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Jeanne DeMartino
Anna Wrisky
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

Peer Group Investment Opportunities Open for 2016. View Details

July 11, 2016: MTA's Golf Day Event

October 13-14, 2016: MTA Fall Conference

March 27-29, 2017: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show

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MTA Updates


MTA Golf Day

Don't Miss MTA’s Golf Event!

Monday, July 11, 2016 at the Crow River Golf Club in Hutchinson, MN.

This year’s event will again be held at the Crow River Golf Course in Hutchinson, MN.

Registration is $150 per player or $45 for the reception only. Don’t forget to bring extra cash for the chance board fundraiser!

>> Sign up your team or register as an individual online.

Interested in sponsoring Golf Day?

Sign up today! Visit the MTA Golf Day Sponsor Page for complete details and registration.

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

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.

Download the 2016 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details

Sponsor a Peer Group: Sign Up Online!

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FCC Commissioners, White House Issue Statements on Open Internet Court Decision

(from NECA’s Washington Watch)

Chairman Wheeler and the FCC Commissioners issued statements on June 14, 2016, on the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision that denied all of the petitions for review of the FCC’s March 12, 2015 Open Internet Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling and Order. Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel supported the court decision, and Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly did not support it. The White House also issued a statement, saying the ruling recognizes that an open Internet is essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet.

ONVOY Raises Money for MTA PAC

On June 7, Onvoy held its annual Customer Golf event. At the event, golfers donated $1,180 to the MTA’s Political Action Committee (PAC). The donations are used to contribute to state candidates each year. “We are extremely fortunate to have members like Onvoy who are committed to helping the PAC”, commented MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen. The PAC Board of Governors have set a goal of $35,000 for 2016. If you are interested in contributing to the PAC, please contact the MTA at: or 651-262-8099.

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Safety Corner

Safety Bytes

Let’s Pay Attention Out There

I think it’s safe to say, we all know that texting while driving is against the Law in Minnesota. In fact, Minnesota is one of 46 States that has a law which bans texting by any driver. Driver distraction presents a serious and potentially deadly danger. But distracted driving is more than just texting, it involves a wide variety of activities.

What Is Distracted Driving?

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving. While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is one of the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.

Other distracting activities include:

  • Using a cell phone, dialing and talking
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps, service orders and trouble tickets
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Working on a laptop
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player
  • Looking for a house number

There are other less obvious forms of distractions including drowsiness, daydreaming or dealing with strong emotions.

Distracted Driving and Your Safety Policy
Given the wide variety of distractions and the inherent risk they pose, it makes sense to include provisions related to distracted driving in your organization’s safety policy. The first step is to identify the actual types of distractions your employees may be exposed to during a normal driving experience. These may include the use of cell phones, laptops, PDAs, GPS units, reading service orders and trouble tickets (printed or electronic) and even clutter in vehicles. During outages, employees can be under excessive stress to repair facilities, which can be a distraction while driving. 

Once you’ve identified the hazards, create the plan for addressing the risks. We have incorporated an awareness of distracted driving into our training program. Some companies have firm policies that prohibit employees from using cell phones, PDAs or PCs while their vehicles are moving. Others allow hands-free devices — but remember, even talking while using hands-free devices is a distraction to driving. New employees are under stress to learn as much as they can as soon as possible and can be distracted while driving company vehicles; be sure to address this during your employee orientation.

Items to address that will make driving safer for you, your employees and family:

  • Always buckle up.
  • Drive at safe speeds; your reaction time is slower when you are distracted.
  • Don’t let a phone call distract you from driving safely.
  • Allow voice mail to handle your calls and return them at your convenience.
  • Pull off the road to a safe area or ask a passenger to make or take a call for you.
  • Use a hands-free device if available.
  • Suspend conversation during hazardous driving conditions.
  • Do not engage in stressful or emotional conversations while driving.
  • Never take notes or look up numbers while driving.

If you’d like assistance in developing a policy on driving, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the MTA Safety Team.

Take Care,
Dan Berg, M.S.
Senior Safety Consultant

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People Companies

Onvoy Buys ANPI

In what is an industry-wide trend, Minnesota-based Onvoy has purchased ANPI to build scale and improve capabilities. The combined company will create a significant "carrier’s carrier," bringing together two networks with extensive reach into the North American service provider market. Both companies have deep roots in the RLEC/ILEC community, providing wholesale carrier services and other applications. They both have been involved in other M&A activity of late.

The combined product portfolio of the newly merged company will include Long Distance, Tandem, SS7, Voice Application Peering (VAP) and Hosted End Office via Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), among others. “The combined Onvoy and ANPI traffic volume, to and from rural markets, justifies the network expansion required to deliver a communication infrastructure which will empower RLECs with innovative, high-quality, low-cost solutions,” states the press release announcing the transaction.

Current Onvoy CEO Fritz Hendricks will lead the new company and an Onvoy spokesperson tells Telecompetitor in an emailed statement that “…execs from ANPI will join [the] Onvoy exec team.” The transaction is expected to close in July. Terms were not disclosed.

“Onvoy began by serving RLECs and remains committed to this customer base,” said Hendricks in the press release. “We want to provide the communication infrastructure and solutions to enable their expansion.”

Onvoy reports its network “…carries nearly 30 billion minutes of voice and data traffic annually, powering more than 300 carriers, CLECs, ISPs, SIP-based ASPs, MSOs, and next-generation carriers.” ANPI says its nationwide network “…transports voice, data and video for hundreds of carriers, thousands of businesses and over 9 million end users.”

Onvoy has been quite busy on the M&A front. The company was recently acquired by private equity firm GTCR in May of this year. Onvoy also acquired two additional companies in 2015, including Layered Communications and Broadvox. ANPI parent company ANZ was formed from the merger of ANPI and Zone Telecom.

ANPI has spent the past few years building a hosted UCaaS platform and recently launched voice for the consumer market as well. “UCaaS remains alive and well and continues to be a focus for Onvoy, LLC,” commented the Onvoy spokesperson.

The entire product portfolio for both companies will apparently remain intact for the time being, said the spokesperson. The ANPI brand may not survive, although that is still to be determined, according to the spokesperson.

Cooperative Network Services Announces that Jean Edhlund Joined the CNS Team

Jean will serve as Video Product Partner for Telcos in the 5 state area.

Jean joined the CNS team on June 15, 2016. Small video providers will benefit from Jean's extensive knowledge of all-things video — from contract negotiation assistance with new technology research and launches — especially as the video business evolves.

Jean's new contact info:

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