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September 7, 2012


September 7, 2012

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

>> Industry Showcase: Hotel Reservation Deadline Approaching!

>> Have You Engaged Your Local Tribe?

>> 2013 Dues Set by MTA Board of Directors

>> 2012 Fall Safety Training Schedule Is Out

People and Companies

>> First Network Group, Inc., Welcomes Michael "Wulf” Wulfhorst to its Product Development Department

>> Integra Telecom Deploys IPTV Middleware from Innovative Systems in Minnesota

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Jaskowiak
Meeting Planner:
Julie Cygan
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Janey Duntley

September 13-14, 2012: OM/HR Peer Group Meeting

October 4-5, 2012: MTA 2012 Fall Industry Showcase

October 9-10, 2012: CSR Peer Group Meeting

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Industry Showcase: Hotel Reservation Deadline Approaching!

As great as this summer is, it is time to start thinking about fall. Back to school, the Vikings, cooler temperatures, leaves turning color, and most importantly… the MTA Industry Showcase!

We know times are changing and the MTA needs to make changes to keep our programs current, relevant, and informative. To that end, the MTA Event Planning Committee and staff have been working with the Video Peer Group, IT Peer Group, and Economic Development Committee to create the MTA’s first-ever Industry Showcase. This new event will open with a general session on diversifying your business. It will continue with separate tracks giving attendees the most current, up-to-date information on Video, IT, and our second Telework Summit. 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…

Register now!

Hotel Reservations

Make your lodging reservations today for the DoubleTree Hotel Minneapolis Park Place in Minneapolis. Our Room Block is available until Wednesday, September 12, 2012.

DoubleTree Hotel Minneapolis Park Place
1500 Park Place Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416


Hotel room rate: $119/night for the nights of October 3 and 4. Call (952) 542-8600 to make reservations. Make sure to ask for the Minnesota Telecom Alliance rate.

Become a Sponsor

Maximize your company's exposure to the MTA membership at the 2012 Industry Showcase. 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!



Have You Engaged Your Local Tribe?

The FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy, Wireline Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau have issued "guidance" detailing actions that "should" be taken by Tribal governments and carriers to comply with Section 54.313 (a)(9) of the Commission's rules, which requires eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) serving tribal lands to "engage" with tribal governments as a condition of receiving federal universal service support. While these rules have not yet been approved by the Federal Office of Management and Budget, ETCs should begin preparations to comply with the new "guidelines.” "MTA members should not wait to be contacted by their Tribal governments; we recommend that they take the initiative,” commented MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen.

ETC/Tribal government discourse should be between decision makers and not ETC sales and marketing personnel with Tribal administrative staff or advisors. ETCs should take immediate steps to do the following:

  • Prepare for and initiate engagement with Tribal governments whose lands they serve; and
  • Establish a lead and/or team to identify appropriate Tribal government leaders with whom they will initiate the engagement process.

Discussions must include at a minimum:

  • A needs assessment and deployment planning with a focus on Tribal community anchor institutions;
  • Feasibility and sustainability planning;
  • Marketing services in a culturally sensitive manner;
  • Rights of way processes, land use permitting, facilities siting, environmental and cultural preservation review processes; and
  • Compliance with Tribal business and licensing requirements.

It appears that the alleged "guidance" amounts to a new or revised rule imposed on carriers and tribal governments without the benefit of notice and comment rulemaking. Nonetheless, the Bureau Guidance states that ETCs must begin discussions with Tribal governments and conclude such discussion during 2012, for inclusion in the ETC's required FCC filing due by July 1, 2013.

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2013 Dues Set by MTA Board of Directors

At the August 27 MTA Board of Directors meeting, the Board voted to approve the 2013 membership dues structure that included no increase. This means that all 2013 membership dues will remain at 2012 levels. "The Board of Directors realize the volatility of the industry right now, and now is not the time to raise dues. This rate freeze is in effect for all three membership categories and all MTA members. The Board will be working over the course of the next year to transform Active member dues from regulated telephone based to Broadband based to better reflect the business our members are in today. We are able to keep MTA dues affordable because of membership participation at MTA events, like the Fall Industry Showcase and Annual Convention,” said MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen. "Every time a MTA member company sends an employee to one of our events, they are actually helping to keep their dues lower and getting great content for their employees.”

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2012 Fall Safety Training Schedule Is Out

The 2012 Fall Safety Training Schedule has been sent out, and we ask that you please check your calendar to be sure that the scheduled dates work for your company. If you have a serious conflict with a date, contact me as soon as you can so we can make an adjustment. I can be reached at 612-219-4503 or email at

The topics for this fall include: The OSHA Inspection Process, Ladders and Rooftop Access Safety, First Aid, Type 2 Diabetes, Jobsite/Customer Premise/Home Hazards, Backing and Parking, Bucket Trucks and Aerial Lifts, Flammables Storage and Compressed Gas Cylinders, Handling Difficult Customers, Managing Stress and High Blood Pressure, Bullying Awareness, and Trailers and Load Securement.

As a side note, September is "National Preparedness Month.” The following link helps businesses prepare for the impact of natural, human-caused or technology-related hazards:

As always, thank you for your continued support of the MTA Safety Program! Not a member of the safety program? Feel free to give me a call; I can help you out with that, too.

Take care,
Dan Berg, M
Lead Safety Consultant

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First Network Group, Inc., Welcomes Michael "Wulf” Wulfhorst to its Product Development Department

First Network Group, Inc., a specialist in building and maintaining Internet Service Provider Networks for more than 18 years, is pleased to announce the recent growth of its Product Development department to better align itself with new client opportunities. Michael "Wulf” Wulfhorst joined the Product Development department July 1 as a product specialist where he is assisting with the operation, testing and diagnostics of the company's popular DHCPatriot platform as well as other Product Development solutions.

"It is our great pleasure to add Wulf to our Product Development department. This addition increases the depth and breadth of Product Development, expanding the resources available to customers of the increasingly popular DHCPatriot DHCP management platform,” remarked Steve Walter, President and CEO, First Network Group, Inc. "The demand for the DHCPatriot in Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) deployment, combined with the Patriot’s popularity with ISPs, required us to expand to meet growing customer needs.”

Michael "Wulf” Wulfhorst started at First Network Group in 2002 as an entry-level support technician in order to use his computer knowledge and skills professionally. This was Wulf’s first chance to apply his know-how in the tech industry since studying Network Administration at Rhodes State College.

Wulf’s love affair with technology began at the age of 12. His first computer, a Commodore 64, quickly became his passion and he was engrossed with the possibilities of programs and games the platform afforded him. As his new hobby grew, so did his collection of computers; in 1995 he accessed the Internet for the first time and has not looked back since. He has been fascinated with the history of very complex systems like ENIAC turning into mere household items and then for a nearly ubiquitous household item to merge with the Internet and be used as a means to unite the globe.

Since joining First Network Group, Wulf has received numerous awards and quickly attained the rank of Senior Technician. As a member of this elite group of technicians, he has been responsible for maintaining operational support for all Tier 1 technicians, as well as creating and maintaining support documentation and reporting.

Outside of work, Michael is engaged in many community and charity organizations. He is a trained spotter with the National Weather Service’s Skywarn program and holds an elected seat on the School Board in Delphos, Ohio.

Integra Telecom Deploys IPTV Middleware from Innovative Systems in Minnesota

Innovative Systems LLC, has been chosen as the IPTV Middleware vendor for Integra Telecom, the telecommunications provider serving customers in Prior Lake, Savage, Webster, Elko and New Market communities.

"Integra is committed to providing first-class solutions to our customers, and we continue to look for products such as Innovative Systems’ IPTV Middleware that meet growing customer demands,” said Mary Korthour, vice president and general manager of Integra Telecom, Prior Lake, "Integra needed a Middleware product with features such as whole-home DVR, on-screen Caller ID and remote DVR programming access that would keep Integra competitive now and in the future.”

After reviewing vendors in the space, Integra selected Innovative Systems Middleware product for its commitment to the Telco market and providers like Integra. Korthour added, "It was very important for Integra to partner with a company who has a successful track record of serving businesses our size.”

Integra relied on peer benchmarking as another strategy in making its Middleware vendor decision. Korthour commented that the feedback from other service providers using the APMAX Middleware was consistently positive and the one common denominator was the ease of installation and deployment of the service.

Korthour says that after a flawless system installation, customers being migrated over are reporting that the service is reliable and easy to navigate.

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

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