MTA News Bytes

December 22, 2017

In This Issue

Meetings and Events

MTA Updates

Action Items

>> MTA 2018 Annual Convention and Tradeshow
Online Registration Now Open!

>> Annual Convention and Tradeshow Exhibit and Sponsor Registration Now Open!

Informational items

>> MTA Weighs in on Net Neutrality 

>> Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota Urge Additional A-CAM Funding

>> Minnesota RLECs Urge Action on Cost-Based USF Support Budget Shortfall

>> FCC, FTC to Coordinate Online Consumer Protection

>> FCC Adopts Items on Open Internet, Rural Health Care at December Open Meeting

Peer Group Bulletin

>> New! 2018 MTA Peer Group Investment Opportunities!

>> Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Peer Group Events

Safety Corner

>> Reducing Holiday Stress

MTA Staff

MTA President/CEO:
Brent J. Christensen
Event Planners:
Ashley Crunstedt
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!



Merry Christmas from the Board and Staff of MTA

Meetings and Events

February 21-23, 2018: Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Conference

March 26-28, 2018: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

April 18-19, 2018: Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference
Whitefish Lodge in Crosslake, MN

March 18-20, 2019: MTA Annual Convention & Trade Show
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

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MTA Updates


MTA 2018 Annual Convention and Tradeshow
Online Registration Now Open!

MTA 2018 Annual Convention

The 2018 MTA Convention is fast approaching and it's time to get registered!

Register Today

March 26–28, 2018
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN

Attend the Convention and Trade Show

You have choices on what telecom events you attend and the 2018 MTA Convention and Trade Show needs to be at the top of that list! Our breakout sessions and trade show give you access to the latest information in our industry and vendors with the resources you need to do your job, regardless of your role in the telecom industry. You spoke and we listened; this is where you and your staff want to be.

>> Find out more here!

>> Register Now!


Issues Update Luncheon

Be sure to sign up for the Issues Update Luncheon on Tuesday. There's a new sheriff in town at USDA Rural Development. Come hear from State USDA Director Brad Finstad as he shares his vision of the future for his agency.

Finstad’s career has taken him on a whirlwind of rural government, policy, and legislative service spanning more than 20 years. From a brief role as area director with the Minnesota Farm Bureau, to agriculture staff for Congressman Mark Kennedy, to a three-term elected representative for District 21B in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and most recently serving as executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, Finstad has indisputably served the interests of rural communities from the start.

Mike Veeckl

Keynote Presentation: Fun Is Good!
Be inspired, laugh and have FUN with author and Saint Paul Saints Co-owner Mike Veeck. Mike will close out the event with humorous and inspirational lessons and stories on how to build a fun, engaged and creative environment motivating individuals and leaders to re-discover their passion and bring it into their work and personal life.  

Vendor Demos

Don’t miss the Vendor Demos on the Exhibit Floor. Again this year, the convention will feature 30-minute demos from our vendors, center stage on the exhibit floor. Plan to make time to visit these demos to learn what is new in telecommunication products and services. Demos will run from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

>> Sign Me Up as a Sponsor or Exhibitor!

Be sure to register by going to and completing the online form. Don’t miss getting your early bird registration discount by signing up before March 2, 2018.

Don't miss the actionRegister Now!


Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-421-1442 or online at Please indicate that you are an exhibitor. 

The hotel cut-off date is March 2, 2018 or until the block is filled. Please be sure to book your rooms early!

Hotel Room Rates: $162 plus tax for single and double occupancy; $172 plus tax for triple occupancy; $182 plus tax for quadruple occupancy

Convention Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities

>> Register as an Exhibitor or Sponsor

>> Download the 2018 Exhibitor and Sponsor Prospectus

Join us for our 108th Annual Convention! Be present when telecommunications providers from all across the Upper Midwest and Canada gather for what is recognized by many as the biggest and best state telecom trade show.

This is your opportunity to network with industry leaders and decision-makers, and show them how your business can help them succeed. The MTA Convention provides opportunities for you to showcase your products, highlight your services and develop profitable relationships with new and existing clients. The theme for this year’s convention is “Innovation, Opportunity, Challenge — It’s What We Do.” MTA's Annual Convention and Trade Show is one of the best opportunities around to enhance your marketing and broaden your company’s exposure — and it’s very cost effective.


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

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MTA Weighs in on Net Neutrality 

On December 14, the FCC changed Internet regulation from Title II of the Communications Act to Title I. This action moves the regulation of the Internet from a regulated utility to an information service. This reverses action taken by the FCC in 2015 when Internet was first moved to Title II. Opponents see this action as a way for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to create ways to charge customers for faster, more reliable, access to the Internet and those who don’t pay extra will be throttled down. This week the MTA issued both a Net Neutrality Policy Statement and Position Statement. “We believe that the media and others have gotten this issue completely wrong,” commented MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen. “All you have to do is look at your own social media to see that it is the Netflix, Facebook, and Googles of the world that sell ads that target your shopping. Your ISP doesn’t show you an ad for something you looked at on Amazon on your Facebook page, Facebook does. They control what you see and how you see it, not the ISP.”

Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota Urge Additional A-CAM Funding

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The Michigan PSC Commissioners sent a letter to Chairman Pai on December 20, 2017, to urge the FCC to approve full funding by the end of this year for the rural companies that elected to receive A-CAM USF support. The Arizona Corporation Commission and the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development sent similar letters on December 18 and 19, 2017.

Minnesota RLECs Urge Action on Cost-Based USF Support Budget Shortfall

From NECA’s Washington Watch

Nine Minnesota cost-based RLECs filed a letter on December 14, 2017, to urge the Commission to take immediate steps to remedy shortfalls in the high-cost USF fund they said are resulting in reduced network investments, lower broadband speeds and higher consumer prices in rural America. They said the cuts in cost-based USF support have risen rapidly from 4.5 percent to more than 9 percent, and now to greater than 12 percent, which frustrates reasonable attempts to plan for future investment. They suggested the FCC continue to collect at least $4.5 billion consistent with the current overall high-cost USF budget, and use any amounts that may be in excess of that total to assist in funding the shortfall in the cost-based USF mechanism. They also suggested the FCC provide supplemental USF support to fill any remaining shortfall and seek comment on ways to address the budget shortfalls going forward for both cost-based USF mechanisms and the model-based support mechanism.

FCC, FTC to Coordinate Online Consumer Protection

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC and the FTC released a Memorandum of Understanding on December 14, 2017, which addresses their plans to coordinate online consumer protection efforts following adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The MOU said the FCC will review informal complaints concerning the compliance of ISPs with the disclosure obligations set forth in the new transparency rule, and the FTC will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate against ISPs concerning the accuracy of those disclosures, as well as other deceptive or unfair acts or practices involving their broadband services. The MOU indicated both agencies will broadly share legal and technical expertise, including the secure sharing of informal complaints regarding the subject matter of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. 

FCC Adopts Items on Open Internet, Rural Health Care at December Open Meeting

From NECA’s Washington Watch

The FCC adopted the following items at its December 14, 2017 Open Meeting: a Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order that will return broadband internet access service to its prior classification as an information service and reinstate the private mobile service classification of mobile broadband internet access service; an NPRM and Order to strengthen the Rural Health Care program; a Public Notice addressing co-location on twilight towers; a Report and Order to harmonize the Commission’s rules by eliminating the commercial mobile radio service presumption; and an NPRM to amend the national television multiple ownership rule. These items have not yet been released. The FCC adopted and released a Report and Order that amends the Emergency Alert System rules and an NPRM on the electronic delivery of cable communications.

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

New! 2018 MTA Peer Group Investment Opportunities Now Available!

Get tons of visibility and have engaging conversations with members, build relationships with small, but highly focused groups, and support our core cause.

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 2018!

Sign up online or download the 2018 Peer Group Investment Opportunities for full details.

>> Sign up today!

Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Peer Group Events

2018 Telco Marketing Peer Group Winter Conference

February 21–23, 2018 | Watch for more details!

2018 Customer Service Peer Group Spring Conference

April 18–19, 2018 | Whitefish Lodge located in Crosslake, MN | Watch for more details!

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Safety Corner

Reducing Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family. But they can also be stressful. You may feel pressure to buy and give gifts. Maybe you are worried about money. The holidays can also be hectic. There never seems to be enough time to get things done.

Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you during the holidays. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress.

Preparing for the holidays

  • Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don't spend more than you've planned. Don't buy gifts that you'll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.
  • Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.
  • Share the tasks. You don't have to do everything yourself. Share your "to do" list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  • Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it's okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.

What to do with the Holiday Blues?

You may not be able to avoid stressful situations during the holidays. But you can plan to respond to them in a healthy way.

  • Take breaks from group activities. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can.
  • Keep a regular meal, exercise, and sleep schedule. Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.
  • Get support if you need it. Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed to ask for help, or you may think that you'll get over "the blues" on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.

Put your positive pants on!

Aaron Wilfahrt
Safety Consultant

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