November 25, 2015

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> Happy Thanksgiving from MTA!

>> 2016 Annual Convention: Now Accepting Exhibitors and Sponsors

Tell Us Your Economic Development Story

Informational Items

Minnesota Awards $11 Million for Broadband Projects

Intra-MTA Lawsuit Dismissed by Federal Judge

Safety Corner

>> Tips for Workplace Holiday Safety

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent Christensen
Team Leader:

Jacquie Durant
Event Planners:
Julie Cygan
Carissa Wolf
Member Services:
Chris Swanson
Joe Flannigan
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

December 2–3, 2015: 2015 Plant Manager & Superintendant Peer Group Winter Meeting

March 21–23, 2016: MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

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MTA Updates


Happy Thanksgiving from MTA!

Thanksgiving is not something you feel once a year... it is an attitude you carry with you all year long. What are you thankful for this year? Make it a goal to think of one thing to be truly thankful for each and every day. MTA is thankful for each and every member and the fellowship we have by being part of a collegial organization. Happy Thanksgiving!

2016 Annual Convention: Now Accepting Exhibitors and Sponsors

MTA Annual Convention and Trade Show

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet and network with more than 1,100 professionals from throughout the Upper Midwest. Register to exhibit at the 2016 Annual Convention today! It is a "do-not-miss" opportunity to showcase your company, products and services.

Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus | Register Online to Sponsor or Exhibit

Plan to join us on March 21–23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The MTA Annual Convention has continued to be the largest state telecommunications association Convention in the nation. It represents the interests of more than 80 small, medium and large telecommunications providers that provide advanced telecommunications services like voice, data, wireless video, and high-speed Internet access to Minnesota’s metropolitan and rural communities.

Register for your booth space today!

The Convention is a great way to get your message out to this group and the support of our exhibitors and sponsors is what makes this convention possible. Consider becoming a keystone of our pinnacle event! Multiple levels of conference sponsorship opportunities are available. By popular demand, Vendor Demos are back and will be located in the middle of the exhibit hall this year.

If you have questions about the exhibitor or sponsorship information, please contact Carissa Wolf at the MTA Office at or (651) 265-7849.

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Tell Us Your Economic Development Story

The MTA’s Economic Development Committee wants to hear your story. Do you have a really good story about how your company has worked with a local community you serve that showcases work done to increase the economic viability of the community? MTA members routinely work with the communities you serve to increase their economic viability. Often times you lead the charge to attract and retain businesses in our small towns. We want to showcase these stories in our bi-weekly issues of NewsBytes. If you have a story to share, please send to MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at


Minnesota Awards $11 Million for Broadband Projects

Lt. Governor Smith, DEED announce funding for 15 projects in Greater Minnesota

Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that $11 million in grants have been awarded for projects to expand broadband access in 15 Greater Minnesota communities. Lt. Governor Smith made the announcement at the Blandin Foundation's "Border to Border Broadband: Better Together" Conference.

“We need border-to-border broadband Internet access to build an economy that works for all Minnesotans,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Broadband Internet access isn’t just nice, it’s necessary for Minnesota businesses to grow and our students to thrive. While these grants are a good start, significant need remains.”

This broadband funding was awarded under DEED’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, which Governor Mark Dayton signed into law in May 2014. This year, DEED received 44 applications for funding, totaling more than $29 million in requests. Recipients were selected based on an internal review and scoring process.

The latest round of broadband grants will improve access to high-speed broadband for 3,222 households, 786 businesses and nearly 90 community institutions throughout the state.

“By gaining access to broadband, these rural communities will increase economic development, improve living standards, and enhance education and public services," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “While we are pleased to assist in the development of these projects, there are many other communities waiting to receive access to high speed Internet and additional resources urgently needed."

Now in its second year, the program’s first round of funding awarded $19.4 million to 17 Greater Minnesota communities in February of this year.

View a complete list of the 15 recipients awarded funding.

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Intra-MTA Lawsuit Dismissed by Federal Judge

From ITCI’s Industry Watch

A federal judge in the US District Court in Texas dismissed the lawsuit claims filed by Sprint and Verizon relating to payments for intra-MTA wireless traffic. This traffic is routed on FGD trunks and the wireless providers argued that this traffic should be subject to reciprocal compensation rules and therefore they should not be responsible for access charges. Reciprocal Compensation on wireless traffic was moved to bill and keep in the transformation order of 2011. Shortly after the phase out of the reciprocal compensation payments, wireless carriers started short paying or flat out not paying certain access bills claiming this traffic should not be billed via a FGD bill. This recent court decision is a huge win for rural providers.

The court did however grant the plaintiffs a chance to re-plead if their state law claims allege that a specific state law or a filed state tariff actually prohibits the defendant LEC from charging IXCs access charges for the intra-MTA calls. The court gave the plaintiffs 28 days to file amended complaints.

Safety Corner

Tips for Workplace Holiday Safety

The holiday season is here, which means it is time for parties, family gatherings, and decorating. While decorating your office can be fun and help you and your bah-humbug co-workers enjoy the holiday season it's important to keep workplace holiday safety in mind, too. When deciding how to decorate your office for the holiday season, it's important to be mindful of potential safety hazards. The same safety considerations that apply to seasonal home decorations at home also apply in the workplace.

Fire Safety Considerations for Holiday Décor

Be mindful of potential fire hazards when selecting holiday decorations and determining where to place them. Make wise choices about the types of holiday lights you use. Do not use any type of decoration in your office that has an open flame.

It's also important to make sure that you use holiday lights properly. Never place staples or nails through strings of lights, power cords, or extension cords. Do not connect too many strands of lights together. If you decorate the outside of your office, verify that any lights you use are rated for exterior use.

Make sure that all illuminated items are turned off when the office is closed so there's no risk of a fire breaking out when the building is unattended. It's a good idea to put one person in charge of this task, so there's no confusion regarding whether or not the lights need to be checked at the end of each workday.

Before starting the process of decorating your office for the holidays, it's a good idea to verify that all of your fire safety equipment is in proper working order. Make sure that your smoke detectors are working, and verify that the fire extinguishers are fully charged and easily accessible. It's a good idea to get into the habit of doing this several times each year, and it makes sense to use the occasion of decorating for the holidays as a reminder to check out your fire safety equipment.

Jeff Ulmen
Safety Consultant

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