Iowa Communicator - April 29, 2016

Iowa Communicator - April 29, 2016

 


This Week's Headlines:
Parts of RoR USF Reform Order Effective May 25
FCC Releases Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program

Education & Events News:
Register Today for the 2016 Leadership Conference
Impact 2016 Call for Speakers & Sponsors
September 15th EnVision Conference for Video Providers

Industry News:
CyberSummit Calls for Provider Action
iWireless to End Sponsorship of iWireless Center
E-Rate Deadline for Schools Extended

Statehouse News:
ITQ Process Run by ICN Receives Press
2016 Session Goes Further into Overtime
ICN Funding Passes Legislature in RIIF Budget
E911/LMR Funding Makes it Across the Goal Line
It’s Almost Campaign Season, Support the TelePAC!!!


FCC Filings:
A-CAM Competitive Objections Filed

 

 

 

Broadband News:
US House Legislation Linked to Broadband Expansion
Impact of Broadband Data Caps Explored
Comcast Ups Data Cap to 1Terabyte

Member News:
FCTC’s Harvey to Manage Palo
Cooperatives to Host Intern Networking Event

IUB Filings:
Consumer Advocate Seeks Another CenturyLink Investigation
Hoteligent Withdraws Request for Certificate
CenturyLink Objects to Wide Voice Certificate App& Access Tariff
IUB Seeks Relay and CapTel Relay Proposals

Compliance News:
Form 499-Q due May 2nd
FCC Form 395 due May 31st

 



 
This Week's Headlines
 
       
 

Parts of RoR USF Reform Order Effective May 25

   
 

The FCC’s Rate of Return USF Reform Order has been published in the Federal Register, announcing that the effective date for many of the new rules is May 25, 2016. 

A number of new rules require OMB approval, so their effective dates are not yet known. They include: 

·         51.917(f)(4) (revenue recovery for RoR carriers);

·         54.303(b) (eligible capital investment and operating expenses);

·         54.311(a) (voluntary election of CAF A-CAM support for rate-of-return carriers);

·         54.313(a)(10), (e)(1), (e)(2) and (f)(1) (annual reporting requirements regarding urban rate average for voice service and offering broadband on reasonable request);

·         54.316(a)(b) (broadband deployment reporting and certification requirements regarding offering of broadband service);

·         54.319(e) (disaggregation/elimination of high-cost support in areas with an unsubsidized competitor);

·         54.903(a) (filing requirements for RoR carriers to be eligible for broadband loop support (BLS));

·         69.4(k) (regarding non-price cap ILECS to file consumer broadband only charges);

·         69.132 (end user consumer broadband-only loop charge for non-price cap ILECs);

·         69.311 (consumer broadband-only loop investment accounting rules); and

·         69.416 (consumer broadband-only loop expenses).

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
       

FCC Releases Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program 

   
 

The FCC finally released the text of its Lifeline modernization Order that was approved on March 31st.  Under the 224-page Order, eligible consumers will be able to receive Lifeline support for standalone fixed and mobile broadband services, and Lifeline providers must meet certain minimum service standards for broadband and mobile voice services.

The Order also creates a streamlined federal Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designation process as an alternative to the traditional ETC designation process.  It makes a number of other changes and establishes an initial budget of $2.25 billion indexed for inflation.  Click here to read it. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
 Education & Events News    
 

Register Today for the 2016 Leadership Conference
June 8 at the Kirkwood Hotel, Cedar Rapids, IA

   
 

Join ICA members at this one-day conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   The conference agenda provides a unique blend of speakers and topics from our opening Keynote Speaker Dr. Bill Withers, industry experts from South Slope Communications & Kiesling Associates and attendees sharing best practices in our most-requested open forum discussions.  Click here for the full conference brochure. 

Dr. Wither’s; Keynote Address will be
Organizational Culture—Keeping it Simple.  He will reference Patrick Lencioni’s,  book
The Advantage at the conference.  Each attendee will receive a copy of the book with their registration. 

Advance copies are available if you would like to read the book prior to the conference.  Register today and we’ll ship your copy today!

(Contact Jolene Davis with questions)

   
 

Impact 2016 Call for Speakers & Sponsors

   
 

The Iowa Communications Alliance Technicians, Marketing & Front Office Training Committee is planning the agenda for the 2016 Combined ConferenceNovember 9 & 10 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The conference will include general sessions and tracks for each personnel type:  Marketing professionals, front office/customer service reps and technicians.  There may also be a few ITC managers in attendance. 

We are asking for your input as a member of this association to help provide high quality information to its members.   The committee will begin selecting topics/speakers program at their next meeting. Click here to download the Impact 2016 Call for Speakers.  

(Contact Jolene Davis with questions)

   
  Save the Date: September 15th EnVision Conference for Video Providers    
 

The EnVision Conference is September 15th in West Des Moines and will feature great speakers and topics that will provide ideas for enhancing your telco’s video products and services.

We are currently accepting speaker submissions and sponsorships.  Click here for the 2016 EnVision Call for Speakers & Sponsors.    

   
Industry News      
 

CyberSummit Calls for Provider Action

   
  Nearly every day the media picks up stories about a victim of cyber hacking, putting a target on the communications and networking industry.  In response, experts from technology firms, engineering companies, state government, and communications industry gathered this week for the Alliance’s first Cyber Summit.  The theme for the day was that all providers must act now to develop and implement policies to better protect their data, their networks and the information of customers. 

 

Topics included “Navigating information security,” the state’s efforts to protect critical infrastructure,” “the impact of NIST on our members,” protecting your data and your customers’ data,” as well as best practices in testing, audits, managing risk and developing response plans. 

 

  

 

Here are some of helpful quotes from presenters:

·         Cyber security is no longer an “I-T” issue – it impacts all of your employees

·         Hacking is inevitable – it will happen to you.  Every system and every person can be hacked

·         Insurance is the transfer of risk; risk cannot be eliminated

·         60% of small businesses suffering a cyber-attack went out of business within six months

·         Your reputational injury can be as significant as your financial loss

·         Information security isn’t about checking boxes on a checklist; it is about assessing risk, and then mitigating and minimizing risk

·         When “everybody” is in charge of security, nobody really is

·         Write down all of your security policies.  If it is not written, it doesn’t exist

·         Accept that technology will not solve all your security issues

·         People are oftentimes your weakest link 

·         Many breaches have “social engineering components” meaning that cybersecurity is mostly about training people to make good decisions

·         Security awareness training does work so do it

·         Never allow your employees to click any link in any email.  Ever.

·         Start slowly if needed.  Start by taking a look at what you have in place now.   And build from there.

During yesterday’s presentations, the speakers mentioned two items that might be of interest to all members:  (1) the federal “NIST Framework” which is available by clicking here; and (2)  a publication from the Federal Trade Commission entitled “Start with Security – a Guide for Business” which is available by clicking here

During and after the meeting, attendees asked the Alliance to offer follow-up educational sessions and events, and so we will begin planning those. 

Can’t wait that long?  We encourage you to attend a two-day event next week in Sioux Falls, SD hosted by SDN and the South Dakota Telecom Association on May 3-4.  The seminar is a great opportunity for businesses in the Upper Midwest and beyond to learn about a new federal NIST framework for improving the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure.  Click here for more details. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

iWireless to End Sponsorship of iWireless Center

   
 

iWireless announced it will not extend its 10-year sponsorship of the iWireless Center arena in Moline. The sponsorship, which involved $425,000 in annual support to the 12,000-seat venue, will end in July 2017.  iWireless acquired naming rights in 2005 and changed the venue name from The Mark of the Quad-Cities

   
 

E-Rate Deadline for Schools Extended

   
 

The deadline for schools to apply for E-Rate funds has been moved from April 29th to May 26th, giving school districts an additional four weeks to apply for the broadband, Wi-Fi and infrastructure funds.. USAC has released a blog post explaining that changes in its IT system have made it difficult to for applications to be filed. 

   
Statehouse News     
 

ITQ Process Run by ICN Receives Press

   
 

The recent intent to qualify process carried out by the Iowa Communications Network received attention by the online publication Mission Critical Communications. The ICN’s ITQ process largely engaged Alliance member companies and served as a pathway for Iowa’s rural carriers to also become part of the Federal First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Teaming List. Essentially, companies that answered the ITQ and now appear on the Teaming List have indicated that they are interested in subcontracting and partnering with other vendors involved with the FirstNet.

To read the article from the MCC please click here

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
 

2016 Session Goes Further into Overtime

   
 

As of this edition of The Communicator going to print the final adjournment of the Iowa General Assembly continues to elude those interested in wrapping up for the year. Today, Friday, is the 110th day of session which would be on track if it were an odd numbered year. During election years the Legislature sets a limit of 100 days on themselves to complete their work while still getting paid. That means that since last Tuesday, the Legislators have been in Des Moines “on their own dime” as they have no longer been receiving “per diem” reimbursements for mileage, lodging and meals. This self-imposed deadline is supposed to have the effect of an incentive to complete their work on time however in recent years, the deadline has come and gone with little recognition.

Issues that are rumored to be holding up the final gavel falling in both chambers are impasses over certain portions of the State’s budget. The budget is always part of the final negotiations and this year is no different. The Transportation budget and the Health and Human Services budgets appear to be the last “trains out of the station” for the 2016 session. Social issues as well as workforce issues are the primary areas of debate at the moment.

To see Quad City Times press coverage of the exit strategy from the Capitol please click here.

To see the Alliance Bill Tracker for all relevant bills please click here

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
 

ICN Funding Passes Legislature in RIIF Budget

   
 

As in year’s past the Iowa Communications Network made their annual funding request through the Governor’s office which was included in the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund budget (RIIF). This year’s RIIF budget included $1,150,000 for equipment replacement as the ICN’s match to receive USF support. RIIF also included $2,727,000 for the Department of Education to carry out Part III lease obligations.

To see the RIIF budget conference committee report please click here.

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
  E911/LMR Funding Makes it Across the Goal Line    
 

Before the shifting focus to the budget negotiations a few issues beat the clock in the final days. Some issues had to be resolved before Legislators could go home such as the budget while others not as critical are (sometimes) lucky to be sent to the Governor in the rush to adjourn. One bill that achieved final compromise was another bill that deals with the expenditure of money in the E911 Surcharge Fund. As reported last week, the realignment of priority spending from the E911 fund passed both chambers. However, an additional bill surfaced during the session to address how part of the State’s Land Mobile Radio platform would be paid for. SF 2326 will make a one-time payment of $4,383,000 for the LMR system from the E911 surcharge fund.

As mentioned in last week’s Communicator, the E911 surcharge fund is filled with money charged to subscribers of both wireline and wireless phones. It will be important for the Alliance to monitor these and other planned expenses from the E911 fund. With SF 2326 that passed this week and HF 2439 last week, the balance of the fund will be spent down significantly with the exception of a $3 million emergency reserve fund. The Alliance will be engaged with the public safety community to be mindful of any future attempts to increase the surcharge up from the current $1 per line.   

To see the House Floor debate of SF 2326 please click here and scroll to the 3:07:50 mark. To see the Senate floor debate please click here and scroll to the 10:56:00 mark.

To read a Cedar Rapids Gazette article on the issue please click here

   
 

It’s Almost Campaign Season, Support the TelePAC!!!

   
 

With the impending adjournment of the Legislature, it will soon officially be the campaign season for candidates of the 2017 Statehouse. 25 of the 50 seats in the Senate are on the ballot as well as all 100 House seats. To date, there has been 12 House retirements and 1 Senate retirement announced. With the March filing deadline passed, most of the “match-ups” for November should be set but there is always the possibility that a seat could be vacated in the interim as well as challengers emerging from county party nominating conventions over the summer.

The Alliance in coordination with Aureon will be an active participant in this year’s political process through contributions made from the TelePAC. On behalf of outgoing TelePAC Committee Chair Bryan Amundson and incoming Chair Tom Lovell, we hope you will be an active participant in helping fill the TelePAC fund so that we may ensure candidates who support the rural communications industry make it to Des Moines this January.

Please click here to consider a contribution today! 

   
FCC Filings     
  A-CAM Competitive Objections Filed    
 

Both Northeast Iowa Telephone and Alpine Communications have filed documents with the FCC challenging A-CAM competitors.  Other Iowa companies are expected to have filed objections by the April 28th deadline. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
Broadband News     
 

US House Legislation Linked to Broadband Expansion

   
 

KCRG TV9 carried a story about the recent US House passage of legislation to delay the impact of the FCC’s enhanced disclosure requirements for small providers.  Congressman Loebsack helped lead the charge on this legislation which was unanimously approved earlier this month.  Loebsack noted that the legislation will help small providers free up their resources so they can focus on expanding last mile broadband service to rural customers instead of having to focus on FCC regulations.   Click here to watch it. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

Impact of Broadband Data Caps Explored

   
 

A recent Wall Street Journal article looks at the impact of monthly data caps on wireline broadband users.  It says that data caps are no longer just a problem for mobile users.  Click here to read it. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

Comcast Ups Data Cap to 1Terabyte

   
 

Comcast has raised its previous 300 GB monthly consumer data cap to 1 TB in the markets where they have a data usage cap policy.  Comcast says that more than 99% of its customers do not hit the terabyte cap, and that a typical uses only about 60 gigabytes of data in a month.  A terabyte of data equals about 700 hours of HD video, 12,000 hours of online games, and downloading 60,000 high-res photos in a month, according to Comcast.  Click here for more explanation from Comcast. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 Member News     
 

FCTC's Harvey to Manage Palo

   
 

Farmers Cooperative Telephone Company of Dysart and Palo Cooperative Telephone Association as of April 25th, 2016 have entered into a Service Agreement in which Mark Harvey will manage the individual companies and subsidiaries. Farmers Cooperative Telephone Company of Dysart will continue their Management agreement with Clarence Telephone Company.

   
 

Cooperatives to Host Intern Networking Event

   
 

Mark your calendars for June 23rd when the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives and Iowa State University will host a special event in Ankeny, Iowa for cooperative interns.  IIC and ISU are planning a full day of education about cooperatives, networking with industry leaders, and panel discussions with cooperative members and employees.  The program will start at 10am and conclude with dinner and a Keynote Address by ISU Dean Wendy Wintersteen.

Summer interns and even new employees from all cooperatives – ag, rural electric, telecommunication, financial, food – are invited to attend.  GMs, division managers, and intern program coordinators should consider attending as well. More information will be distributed in early May.  Please direct any questions or comments to Keri Jacobs.

   
IUB Filings    
 

Consumer Advocate Seeks Another CenturyLink Investigation

   
 

Another customer has sought IUB help after losing landline dial tone from CenturyLink, and the OCA has asked that another docket be opened to investigate.  In this case, the customer complains of repeated outages and delays in service restoration, and says CenturyLink failed to restore service on Easter Sunday as promised.  The IUB has not yet ruled on whether to grant the request for docketing.  Click here to read it.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

Hoteligent Withdraws Request for Certificate

   
 

Hoteligent Telecommunications has filed a document with the IUB requesting to withdraw its Application for Authority to provide competitive local exchange telecommunications services in Iowa.  Click here for more.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

CenturyLink Objects to Wide Voice Certificate App and Access Tariff

   
 

In response to an application for certificate to provide CLEC service and a proposed access tariff filing by Wide Voice LLC, CenturyLink filed a resistance to the certificate and to the access Tariff.  CenturyLink requests that the Board investigate whether Wide Voice, LLC actually plans to provide local exchange service in Iowa and its proposed terms of local service before determining whether to grant the requested certification.  CenturyLink states that it believes Wide Voice’s business model is aligned with the practice of “access stimulation” and that there is no evidence it has ever provided local exchange service in Iowa.  Click here for more. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

IUB Seeks Relay and CapTel Relay Proposals

   
 

The Iowa Utilities Board has issued a Request for Proposals to solicit proposals from qualified service providers interested in providing the statewide telecommunications relay service (Relay Iowa), statewide captioned telephone relay service (CapTel Relay), and associated outreach services.  The provider will be selected by a formal competitive process.  To be considered, proposals must be received by the Board's Chief Operating Officer by 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2016.  For complete details, click here to download a copy of the 2016 Relay Iowa/CapTel RFP from the Iowa Utilities Board website.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
Compliance News    
 

OCA Bashes CenturyLink’s Service Quality Excuses

   
 

All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal USF support mechanisms must file their 499 quarterly form by May 2nd.  The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. Click here for more from USAC. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
  FCC Form 395 Due May 31st    
 

Common carriers with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31st.  Form 395 tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees.  The FCC also requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year by May 31st.  The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
   
   
   
   

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