Iowa Communicator - June 29, 2018

 

June 29, 2018

In this Issue...

 

Headlines
IUB Partially Grants Alliance’s Request for Form 481 State Filing Waiver 
Alliance to Host Webcast on Service Terms and Conditions
Alliance Releases White Paper on Impact of Deregulation

Industry News
CR Gazette Highlight Rural Issues

Legislative News
Opportunity for Impact
TelePAC Brew Tasting Tour

Member News
Calix ConneXions Innovation and User Conference 2018
Minerva Valley Goes Solar
Duncan Speaks at SITA Annual Meeting

FCC News
220 Applicants Qualified for CAF II Auction

Education and Events
Mark Your Calendars for Sept. 11th & 12th – Convergence TV Conference

Headlines

 

IUB Partially Grants Alliance’s Request for Form 481 State Filing Waiver

(this is updated from our Monday, June 25th Special Report)

On May 31st, the Alliance filed a request for waiver from the rule that requires high cost ETCs to file their form 481s with the IUB.  The IUB “mostly granted” our request.  In an Order released Friday, the IUB waived the rule that requires High-Cost ETCs from filing Form 481 with the IUB, specifically referencing the FCC’s June 2017 Order and recent USAC announcements stating that high cost ETCs need not file with state commissions once the USAC portal is open, which it is now. 

 The IUB Order also stated, however, that because of FCC silence on whether Lifeline-Only ETCs must still file Form 481s with state commissions, the IUB will continue to require Lifeline-only ETCs to file a copy of their 481 with IUB by July 16th (the date of the extension the FCC granted to file the 481 with USAC). 

 IUB points out the following filings are still required:

  • By July 1st all ETCs must file their annual certification required by IUB rule 199-39.(7)3)(c);
  • By July 1st ETCs receiving mobility fund support must file their Form 690 with the IUB pursuant to rule 199-39.7(3)(b);
  • Competitive ETCs must file progress reports and extensions on NIPs; and
  • ETCs that file rate-floor data with the FCC shall file a copy with the IUB.
  • Click here to see the IUB’s filing rules under 199-39.7

 Surprisingly, the IUB was not persuaded by OCA concerns about a possible inability to access confidential information on the Form 481, stating on page 7 of the Order: “Finally, any concerns OCA has about being able to access the information high-cost ETCs file with the FCC and USAC are best addressed with those agencies or the carriers themselves.”

(Please contact Dave Duncan for more information).

Alliance to Host Webcast on Service Terms and Conditions

 Members of the Alliance “Service Terms and Conditions” workgroup are nearly finished with the model Terms and Conditions document.  It has been working on this project for several months, to modernize what was the “ITA Model Local Services Tariff,” then used by many members to be re-badged as a Service Catalog when the IUB detariffed local services. 

 We plan to distribute this Model T&C by July 15th.  It contains model terms and conditions for (1) General T&C; (2) Telephone services; (3) Broadband Services; and (4) Cable Television.  It also has an open template that members can use for service price lists.

 The work group will host a webcast on Tuesday, July 17th at 2:00 pm to explain how the document was created, to give an overview of the modules, and help members understand how to use, modify or update this document on their own.  If you are a CyberPass holder, you will be automatically enrolled.  Members who are not CyberPass holders should contact Brittany Bonnicksen to get signed up. 

(Please contact Dave Duncan for more information).

Alliance Releases White Paper on Impact of Deregulation

Governor Reynolds signed the historic local exchange deregulation bill, House File 2446 into law on May 17th and it becomes effective July 1st.  This legislation implements the Iowa Utility Board’s January 24, 2017 and August 9, 2017 Orders that substantially deregulated retail local telephone service in Iowa, and the legislation eliminates and clarifies a number of other laws relating to communications services.

The Alliance has prepared a white paper that explains the impact of the deregulation efforts on member companies on IUB filings, requirements and authority, as well as identifying what authority the IUB retains.  Click here to read it. 

(Please contact Dave Duncan for more information).

Industry News

 

CR Gazette Highlight Rural Issues

Rural voters are looking for big ideas in 2018.  That is the message from Bill Menner, Executive Director of the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) in a guest column printed last weekend in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  Menner points out that policymakers should focusing on voters outside of metro areas, and he advises that “From housing to high-speed broadband to workforce, rural Iowa is facing issues that limit its ability to grow. In fact, growth would be a dream in those places just trying to maintain what they have.” 

Menner says policymakers should help spur rural broadband deployment, and he pointed to the under-funded Iowa broadband grant program as one way to encourage expansion and leverage millions in private investment.  Alliance CEO Dave Duncan serves on the IRDC as does BKD’s Todd Thorson.

Click here to read the article.  

Legislative News

 

Opportunity for Impact

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council currently has four openings: two in the North-Central Region and two in the South-Central Region. To meet gender/party/geography balance, the applicants must be registered Republicans and live in the region for which they are applying.

About STEM: STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Increasing STEM interest and achievement is beneficial to Iowa's education and workforce development.  STEM graduates learn the skills necessary to meet current and future workforce needs. 

The STEM Council is led by Governor Kim Reynolds and Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens.  The STEM Advisory Council is comprised of leaders in higher education, business, nonprofits, educators, students, families, and state and local government officials focused on improving STEM opportunities and awareness in Iowa.  There are a total of 47 members on the STEM Council, including 17 members that comprise the Executive Committee.

Serving on the STEM Advisory Council is a great opportunity to provide input, promote STEM economic development, and impact the future of Iowa’s youth.  Click here to apply to serve as a member of the STEM Advisory Council.

(Contact Caitlin Jarzen for additional information.)

TelePAC Brew Tasting Tour

Member News

 

Calix ConneXions Innovation and User Conference 2018  

Calix ConneXions is where industry thought leaders come to debate, collaborate, and learn how winning service providers are innovating to transform their business models. Join 2000+ telecommunications industry professionals, October 27-30 at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Last year, attendees walked away with strategies to: 

  • Offer subscribers a better experience with the smart home 
  • Lower operating costs with software defined access (SDA) solutions
  • Improve subscriber experience and lower support costs with Calix Cloud 

Calix ConneXions 
October 27-30 
Wynn Las Vegas 
www.calix.com/connexions  

Register early to lock in early bird rates!  

Minerva Valley Goes Solar

Minerva Valley Telephone has completed the installation of a solar array on it central office/business office.  Its goal was to reduce utility expenses while also benefitting from tax credits and favorable depreciation rules on solar installations.  General Manager Levi Bappe reports that the depreciable solar basis is 85% of total system costs, and it also qualifies for both Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation, along with a federal tax credit of 30% and a 15% state tax credit.

Bappe reports that the company’s latest electric bill showed it used about 4500kwh commercial power and put about 1500kwh “back on the grid.”  This equated to almost a $500 savings on our power bill from the same month in 2017, when the company used over 7500kwh.

He reports that with the tax credits and depreciation, the company is shooting for a full ROI at around 6 years.  

The installation uses a user-friendly Application on a smartphone that monitors the solar array and shows the amount of power being produced.  Minerva’s system is capable of producing almost 41kW, with actual production in the first several weeks of operation showing over 30kW occurring on some days.  The App also displays the energy-savings equivalent of trees planted (Minerva is already at 255) or CO2 emissions saved (over 10,000 lbs to date) in just a month and a half of operation.

 

Duncan Speaks at SITA Annual Meeting

 Alliance CEO Dave Duncan was invited to the Kansas State Independent Telephone Association’s annual meeting this week, held in Okoboji.  Duncan gave a summary of Iowa’s recent legislative successes relating to property tax reform and LEC deregulation, and gave an IUB update.  The audience joined in as the discussion included insights on the similarities and differences between the Iowa rural telecom landscape and that in Kansas.  

FCC News

 

220 Applicants Qualified for CAF II Auction

220 companies, including about a dozen Alliance members have qualified to participate in the Connect America Fund II (CAF II) auction scheduled to begin in late July.  The CAF auction will award as much as $2 billion to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to rural areas in up to 20 states where broadband meeting minimum service standards is not currently available.  Funding will go to carriers that offer to provide service at the lowest level of support based on a weighting system that will favor bidders offering to provide higher-speed, lower-latency service.

The FCC has published a public notice, along with a list of  qualified bidders and a list of non-qualified bidders.

(Please contact Dave Duncan for more information).

Education and Events

 

Mark Your Calendars for Sept. 11th & 12th – Convergence TV Conference 

Mark your calendars for September 11th & 12th for our Convergence TV Conference. We will host sponsored User Group meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 11th, and the main conference will be held on Wednesday, September 12th at the West Des Moines Marriott.

If you’re needing a hotel room, there is a block of rooms reserved at the West Des Moines Marriott. Please call (515) 267-1500 and mention the ICA Conference when booking your hotel room.

At this conference you will be educated on the following topics:

  • Legal and Regulatory Developments Impacting Video Providers
  • A technical session describing the impact of OTT (i.e., YouTube TV) on our networks through the use of caching servers, peering points, and managed wi-fi
  • Marketing aspects of managed Wi-Fi services – best practices of what to do and what not to do
  • Best practices on reducing costs of video operations when content costs keep increasing
  • Best practices on transitioning the network to becoming a broadband pipe for services provided by others (i.e., operators considering no longer providing video service)
  • Tips for companies seeking to introduce video for the first time
  • An example of an operator from another state to describe how products are used
  • Steps by linear providers to address OTT
  • Other current topics of interest to providers of video services

Think you know someone who’d be a fantastic speaker for one or multiple topics? AWESOME! We’d love to hear more about them. Click here if you have a speaker suggestion and our advisory committee will review. 

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