Iowa Communicator - May 6, 2016

Iowa Communicator - May 6, 2016

 


This Week's Headlines:
FCC Releases “First” Erratum Correcting the USF Order
FCC Releases Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program

Education & Events News:
Look to the Future with IPv6 Webcast
Register Today for 2016 Leadership Conference
3rd ANNUAL Golf & Grill Classic –REGISTER TODAY!
Impact 2016 Call for Speakers & Sponsors
September 15th EnVision Conference for Video Providers
DMACC to Offer Data Networks Online Training

Broadband News:
USDA Seeks Updated Service Maps
FirstNet Finalizes Teaming List

Statehouse News:
Sine Die - 2016 Session in the Books
Alliance End-of-Session Report
It’s Campaign Season, Support the TelePAC!!!

 

 

 

Member News:
Consolidated Sells Iowa ILEC Exchanges
Hawkeye Appoints Soderquist as GM
Several Iowa Companies Receive NTCA TeleChoice Awards
Partner Communications to be Featured on Alliant PowerHouse

FCC News:
FCC Finds RBOC Special Access Tariffs Illegal; Proposes..
Additional A-CAM Competitive Challenges Filed

Compliance News:
FCC Releases Guide for Battery Backup Rules
USAC to Offer Form 481 Webcast

IUB Filings:
IUB Issues Proposed $20,000 Fine in Cramming Complaint
IUB Approves PEG Certificate

 



 
This Week's Headlines
 
       
 

FCC Releases “First” Erratum Correcting the USF Order

   
 

The FCC has published an “Erratum” that corrects 31 mistakes in the USF Reform/Rate of Return Order that came out on March 30th.  Most of the corrections fix typos, grammatical errors and code references, and other change some dates and numerical figures.   Click here to read it.  

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
       

FCC Releases Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program 

   
 

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released rate-of-return study area density data that it will use to implementing various parts of the Rate-of-Return USF Reform Order.  This information includes housing unit, land area, and density data, and is posted on the FCC’s Industry and Technology Analysis Division’s Study Area Boundary Data webpage.  It says that of the 1,094 RoR study areas, the housing units per square mile vary widely.  239 study areas have 25 or greater housing units per square mile, while 303 study areas have 5 or fewer housing units per square mile.  For more information, click here.  

(contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
 Education & Events News    
  Look to the future with IPv6
May 17th at 10:00 AM
Presented by Jon Brown & Gaven Davis of Vantage Point Solutions
   
   

Like it or not, IPv6 is here to stay. In this webinar, learn about what IPv6 is and what steps you and your company can do to prepare for it. Live examples will be shown as well as discussions on migration strategies and IPv6 best practices.

Click here to register. 

Please note:  Cyberpass registrants are already signed up.  We will email you the details of the webcast on May 13th.  

 

Special Thanks to our All Star Sponsors:


   
 

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)

   
   3rd ANNUAL Golf & Grill Classic –REGISTER TODAY!    
   Plan to join us for the Iowa Communications Alliance 3rd Annual Golf & Grill Classic on June 20th & 21st at Lake Panorama National Golf Course. 


Several registration options are available for the golf outing:

  • Golf on Monday & attend the grill out Monday evening,
  • Attend the grill out Monday evening & golf on Tuesday
  • you may golf both days  (double session) and attend the grill out
  • Not a golfer?  You can register to attend the grill out and socialize with your industry friends. 

Click here to register online.  Or you can fill out registration form and return it to Jolene at the Iowa Communications Alliance.  All reservations must be received by June 3rd  ICA will not refund fees for cancellations received after June 3rd

 

The Golf & Grill Classic is sponsored by:  

   
 

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.    

   
  DMACC to Offer Data Networks Online Training     
 

DMACC WEST is excited to offer a ten week continuing education course (TELE505) to those interested in gaining knowledge on the fundamentals of how ‘Data Networks’ operate.  This course can be of benefit not just to technicians, but also CSR’s that want more ‘technical’ information on how the network runs.  The training covers both LAN and WAN technology.

This course will allow you to work towards the industry recognized Network Pro (Network+) certification online in a simulated lab experience.  Working at your own pace, you will be introduced to networking basics, cables and connectors, Ethernet, network implementation, wireless networking, wide area networks, network security, network management, and troubleshooting practices. There are several sections included with the Labsim software available through DMACC that will be yours to access for the next several months---even beyond the official end of the training!  

The training is delivered with use of videos, hands-on simulated labs, printable terms and informational pages from each section, and short quizzes at the end of each module to test your retention. After completion you will be ready to take the test to get certified and never have to leave the home or office!   It can all be done online for the ‘NetworkPRO’ certification.  This is a great opportunity to learn new or refresh old skills for anybody working in the IT / Telecommunications field and wanting to do more with TCP/IP and the big ‘DATA’ world!

Contact DMACC for more information or register at our new online site for continuing education.  The online class starts May_23rd .  Cost, including the access code to the training- $499

Contact Amy Hill, DMACC WEST IT Instructor if you have content questions----and once you do enroll, please send Amy Hill an email to let her know you are starting training!  [email protected]

To take a look at the online resource/software, please go to www.testout.com

To enroll in the course, please go to….  https://ce.dmacctraining.com/dmacc2/public/store/search.do?navigator=retrieveItem&item=_cSNgAUwpVIMLjwnu47RyQ**&coursetype=CE9D

   
Broadband News      
  USDA Seeks Updated Service Maps    
 

Some members have received a letter from the USDA seeking data from existing RUS borrowers related to service areas.  The USDA’s new mapping tool allows users to update their service maps by either drawing or uploading shapefiles.  USDA rules prohibit making loan or grant funding available to other companies in areas that are already served by an existing borrower.    The USDA mapping tool is available by clicking here, and USDA has a help section that has instructions on uploading maps.  Entities who are not existing borrowers may wish to notify the USDA of areas served.   

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

FirstNet Finalizes Teaming List

   
 

FirstNet recently announced that it has finalized its teaming list, which was offered as a courtesy option for potential offerors and subcontractors to promote partnering for FirstNet, the nationwide public-safety broadband network.  The ICN pre-qualified 123 vendors under an invitation to qualify (ITQ) released Dec. 31 to indicate Iowa vendors’ interest in subcontracting and partnering with other vendors involved with FirstNet.  Iowa was the only state to coordinate and bundle submissions to the FirstNet teaming list, said a FirstNet spokeswoman.  Click here for more.  The FirstNet teaming list can be found here.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
Statehouse News     
 

Sine Die - 2016 Session in the Books 

   
 

Last Friday, April 29th, the Second Session of the 86th Iowa General Assembly came to a close which was just past a week overdue. 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 April 19th, the Legislators had been in Des Moines “on their own dime” as they no longer receive “per diem” reimbursements for mileage, lodging and meals beyond the allotted 100 days. 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. Although late, this year the Legislature will have adjourned in the month of April for the first time during the second iteration of the Terry Branstad Administration.

Now that the Legislature has adjourned “sine die” the Governor has 30 days to take action on the bills sent to him over the past few days and weeks. The Governor can sign bills into law, veto bills in their entirety, take no action, or line item veto certain provisions included in appropriations or budget bills. If the Governor takes no action in the 30-day window, then the bill will become law by default.

Oh… And don’t forget to set your calendars for Monday, January 9th, 2017 when a new Legislature is sworn in following the fall election. Also, Thursday, January 19th, 2017 will be the Alliance “Day on the Hill” event where you will have the opportunity to put your company on display in the rotunda of the Iowa Capitol.

Below are links to remarks by the various party leaders on the end of session:

Gov. Terry Branstad's statement on the end of session
Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer's closing remarks
House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow's closing remarks
House Democrat Leader Mark Smith's closing day remarks
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal's end of session remarks

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix's session closing remarks

To see press coverage of the gavels falling for the final time this year please click here, here, and here

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
 

Alliance End-of-Session Report

   
 

While the 2016 Session can be fairly characterized as a “do no harm” session for the Alliance, the lobbying team consisting of Paula Dierenfeld, Brad Epperly, Scott Sundstrum and Kevin Condon stood post at the Capitol with watchful eyes! To read the 2016 End-of-Session Report please click here.

To offer up policy ideas to the Alliance Legislative Committee for consideration on next session’s agenda, please contact Kevin Condon

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
 

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

   
 

With the adjournment of the Legislature, it now officially begins 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! 

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
Member News     
  Consolidated Sells Iowa ILEC Exchanges    
 

Consolidated Communications Holdings has agreed to sell its Iowa ILEC exchanges to Premier Communications (Sioux Center) and Winnebago Cooperative (Lake Mills).  Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.  The agreement is an all cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to routine regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.  Click here for more, or click here to read a Telecompetitor analysis of the sale.  

   
 

Hawkeye Appoints Soderquist as GM

   
 

Hawkeye Telephone Company is pleased to announce that Alex Soderquist has joined the Hawkeye team as its new full time General Manager as of Monday, May 2nd. Alex comes to Hawkeye from NX Utilities in Kansas City and brings an extensive knowledge of fiber optic networking to Hawkeye. Alex can be reached at 563-427-3222 or [email protected].

   
  Several Iowa Companies Receive NTCA TeleChoice Awards      
 

NTCA recognized several Alliance Members for marketing and public relations excellence through their TeleChoice Awards. The following members were recognized:

Clear Lake Independent Telephone Co. - Complete Branding Campaign ( 5,001-10,000 access lines)
Huxley Communications- Local Video Content (1-5,000 Access Lines)
OmniTel Communications- Customer Newsletter and Single-Target Print Publications (1-5,000 access Lines
Premier Communications- Complete Marketing Campaign and Single-Target Print Publications (5,001-10,000 access lines)
Webster-Calhoun Communications Coop-Complete Branding Campaign and Website (1-5,001 access lines)



To view the winning entries, please click here

   
 

Partner Communications to be featured on Alliant PowerHouse TV

   
 

Partner Communications Company's SmartLink Home Automation will be featured on Alliant PowerHouse TV this on Saturday, May 7th at 5 PM on KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids and Sunday, May 8th at 11:00 AM on WHO-TV13 in Des Moines. 

   
FCC News    
 

FCC Finds RBOC Special Access Tariffs Illegal; Proposes Host of New Rules

   
 

The FCC issued an Order finding that certain terms and conditions in the special access tariffs filed by AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier were unjust and unreasonable, and had the effect of decreasing facilities-based competition and inhibiting the transition to new technologies. The FCC Order requires these companies to withdraw the illegal terms of these tariffs and file new tariffs within 60 days of release of the Order.

Based on its finding that “competition in this essential market is uneven, and that the FCC’s existing rules have failed to identify markets where competition is lacking, even as they have failed to identify competitive markets,” the FCC proposes a new regulatory regime to “protect and advance” competition in the $45 billion special access market which it calls “business data.” 

FCC says the new special access rules will be based on four principles:

·         Competition is best, but where competition does not exist, market conditions must not be allowed to stifle the ability of business customers to innovate and compete

·         Technological neutrality should be at the core of any new regulatory framework

·         Policies should remove barriers to the transition to new technologies

·         Rules should be crafted to meet the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asks for comment on a wide variety of questions about de-regulatory measures in competitive markets; a tailored set of rules to safeguard customers in noncompetitive markets; a proposal that tariffs should not be used in the future as part of the regulation of broadband data service in either competitive or non-competitive markets; and a proposed future periodic data collection to allow the Commission to update its identification of competitive and noncompetitive markets. 

Click here to read the Order, or click here to read the news release

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

Additional A-CAM Competitive Challenges Filed

   
 

Additional parties filed challenges by the April 28th deadline, challenging competitor assertions of providing 10/1 service in certain census blocks.  Many of the challenges were filed by Iowa companies.  Click here for NECA’s list of challenges filed by various parties.  

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
Compliance News    
 

FCC Releases Guide for Battery Backup Rules

   
 

The FCC has released a “Small Entity Compliance Guide – Ensuring the Continuity of 911 Communications” to help small businesses comply with the backup power rules adopted in August 2015.  The Guide comes with a host of disclaimers and the FCC “retains the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that may differ from this Guide, where appropriate.” 

Click here to access the Guide.

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
 

USAC to Offer Form 481 Webcast

   
 

FCC Form 481, the Annual Carrier Reporting Data Collection Form, is due to USAC and the FCC on July 1, 2016.  USAC will host a webcast on Tuesday, May 17th at 2:00 pm central time to review the filing requirements for this form, discuss new requirements and changes to the online filing system.  Click herefor more information and to register.  More information about FCC Form 481 is available in USAC’s Certification Requirementswebpage or on the HCLI Questionspage. 

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
IUB Filings    
 

 

IUB Issues Proposed $20,000 Fine in Cramming Complaint

   
 

In 2011, the IUB received a complaint that Consumer Telcom had been billing for interstate long distance service for five years after the service was canceled.  Another customer later complained of the same problem.  Both customers thought they had canceled service and switched to Global Crossing and/or CenturyLink, and CenturyLink notified Consumer Telecom of the change, but both customers continued to receive charges on the their CenturyLink bills.  The facts and the investigation history are discussed in detail in the 159-page Order. 

The proposed decision by ALJ Amy Christensen finds that Consumer Telecom’s continued billing of two customers after they had canceled service was a violation of the Iowa Code and the Board’s cramming rules.  It assesses a civil penalty of $10,000 for each customer violation for a total of $20,000. The decision will become final unless Consumer Telecom files written notice of appeal.  Click here to read the Board’s Order.  

(contact Dave Duncan for more information

   
  IUB Approves PEG Certificate     
 

The IUB has approved an application by PEG Bandwidth IL, LLC for a certificate to provide facilities-based and resold local exchange service and VoIP service.  PEG intends to serve both business and residential customers throughout Iowa, but will begin with service in the Davenport exchange.  Click here for more.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
   
   
   
   

2016 Committee Volunteers –March Open Enrollment

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