Iowa Communicator - July 8, 2016

Iowa Communicator - July 8, 2016


This Week's Headlines:
Alliance Urges Equal Regulation for Communications Providers
VoIP Providers Seek Unfair Competitive Advantage

Member News:
Boone Shares Vision of Broadband Industry Growth
Alliance, DMACC & OmniTel Announce Next-Gen Scholar
Alliance Members in the News--Phone Booth Fever

Education & Events News:
Registration is Open for the September 14th EnVision Conference
2017 Annual Meeting & Expo Call for Speakers
Impact 2016 Call for Speakers & Sponsors




IUB Filings:
South Slope Seeks to Serve More CenturyLink Exchanges
IUB Issues Ruling on CenturyLink’s Request

FirstNet News:
Next FirstNet Meeting is August 25th

Washington News:

Grassley Adds Support to Call Completion Bill


This Week's Headlines

Alliance Urges Equal Regulation for Communications Providers


A large team of Alliance members assisted in the drafting of comments in the IUB’s Rulemaking docket to modernize the Chapter 22 rules governing telephone service standards.  Click here to read our May 20th summary of the vast amount of rule deletions the Board proposes.

In our filing late last week, the Alliance comments were focused on equal treatment of providers regardless of technology used to deliver local exchange service.  While we supported the vast majority of the proposed rule deletions, we specifically (1) urged the Board to reconsider its proposal to create regulatory advantages for VoIP service providers over TDM service providers (2) offered some modifications to the Board-proposed amendments; and (3) suggested the Board consider additional rule modifications within the scope of “right sizing” voice regulation.

The Alliance strongly objected to a proposed rule change that would change the mandated interest payable on customer deposits to 7.5%.  We also cautioned the Board that eliminating all rules relating to EAS might have the unintended impact of encouraging larger carriers to be less amenable to new agreements or extension of existing agreements.  The Alliance also suggests the Board clarify its rules so that the migration of a customer from copper-based service to fiber-based services does not constitute a disconnection or discontinuance of service. 

Click hereto read the Alliance comments.

(Contact Dave Duncan for more info)


VoIP Providers Seek Unfair Competitive Advantage


The issue of the extent of IUB regulation over VoIP service has become one of the most contention parts of the current Chapter 22 rulemaking. 

In its May 18th Order the Board proposed full deregulation, while in the June 8th Rulemaking Order the Board proposed to retain jurisdiction over wholesale transactions but deregulate retail VoIP services. 

Consistent with earlier filings, AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, and Sprint supported the Board’s proposal to “deregulate” or “partially deregulate” non-nomadic VoIP services.  Each used different arguments that ranged from “the Board cannot and has never regulated VoIP” to “federal law mandates that VoIP be unregulated” and “VoIP is an information service that cannot be regulated by the Board.” 

The bottom line is that the larger providers are seeking to be subject to fewer rules, obligations and reporting mechanisms than apply to traditional TDM services.  The Alliance resists this argument and urges the Board to apply a “level playing field” approach to all wireline local exchange service providers. 

Call To Action:  We invite members to attend the public workshop/hearing on Tuesday, August 9th at 9am at the IUB hearing room to help us show strength.  We expect a strong push from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint that VoIP be given preferential treatment over TDM services, and a strong show by members will support our message of “equal regulation.”    

(Contact Dave Duncan for more info)

Member News    


Boone Shares Vision of Broadband Industry Growth


NTCA Board President Doug Boone conducted an interview with NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield to discuss his thoughts on growth for the broadband industry and gives a history of his company.  In the video interview as part of the “Broadband Beat” series, Boone discusses the importance of customer service and community relations and he notes the importance of becoming a technology company that focuses on helping customers understand and receive the value that our companies can provide.  He also shares his thoughts on the importance of advocacy and being involved in state and national advocacy and policy initiatives.  Click here to watch the interview.  

(Contact Dave Duncan for more info)

  Iowa Communications Alliance, DMACC and OmniTel Communications Announce Newest Next-Gen Scholarship Recipient    

Yesterday, Alliance CEO Dave Duncan along with OmniTel's Ron Laudner and Ronnie Pitzen presented Zack Lee of Elma, Iowa with the Next-Gen Scholarship.

The Next-Gen Scholarship program is a partnership between the Iowa Communications Alliance and DMACC to create opportunity to help train our future workforce and at the same time promote DMACC Network Technology-Telecommunications/Data Communications program. This scholarship covers three quarters of the Telecommunications Technology A.A.S. program at DMACC, and offers part-time work at (ICA Sponsoring Company) while attending school. Successful completion of the DMACC program qualifies graduates for a full-time position at an Alliance Sponsoring Company (but does not guarantee employment).

  Alliance Members in the News--Phone Booth Fever    

Readers of the Des Moines Register unfolded the paper to find a story about “old technology” that is near and dear to the hearts of many Alliance members and telephony enthusiasts. Reporter Kyle Munson takes a look at several “landmark” phone booths scattered about the State and provides an update to an article written on the same topic 6 years ago. As the mobility of communications increases the piece highlights just how foreign of a concept a phone booth is to younger generations and how some Iowans are still nostalgic over the aluminum boxes.

To read the article please click here.

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

 Education & Events News    
   Registration is Open for the September 14th EnVision Conference    


Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Video Conference: EnVision. The conference will feature great speakers and topics that will provide ideas for enhancing your telco’s video products and services.

New this year: Pre-Conference User Group Meetings.

Join us on Wednesday, September 14th for updates and info on Skitter TV & Innovative Systems Products. The user group meetings are included in your registration.

Click HERE for session details and to register today.

Thank you to our Sponsors: 

  2017 Annual Meeting & Expo Call for Speakers    

The ICA Annual Meeting & Expo Committee is developing the content and agenda for the 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo:  Spring Training-Back to Basics that will be in Des Moines, Iowa on March 7-8, 2017.  Associate members of the Alliance are encouraged to offer training to the membership.  This is a unique opportunity to meet and network with the Iowa Communications Alliance members. 

Below are suggested topics of interest identified by the speakers subcommittee for 2017.  We encourage you to submit additional topics as well. 

·         Sales & Marketing

·         Cyber Security – Banking, Employee Training, etc.

·         Human Resources—Benchmarks, Best Practices, Etc.

·         Employee Discipline/Terminations

·         How To Deal With Negative Attitudes/Unacceptable Behavior

·         Records Retention, Retrieval & Destruction

·         New Revenue Opportunities

·         USF Reform Update

·         New Board Member Training

·         Effective Board Retreats

·         Do You Know Where the Revenue Comes From?

·         Future Network:  What does it look like?

·         Home Wifi

·         Review of Top 10 CES Items

·         Other topics you feel are relevant to ICA members

Click here to fill out the call for speakers submission form by July 13th for committee review.    


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)

IUB Filings  

South Slope Seeks to Serve More CenturyLink Exchanges


In response to customer demand, South Slope has filed a notice of proposed expansion of competitive service area with the IUB. South Slope seeks to add Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to its approved service territory.  

(Contact Dave Duncan for more info)


IUB Issues Ruling on CenturyLink’s Request to Keep Certain Call Blocking Information Confidential


In the nearly 4-year old call blocking investigations involving CenturyLink and the Rehabilitation Center of Allison, CenturyLink sought to keep certain portions of a report by the OCA confidential.  Last week, the Board issued a 23-page Order deciding that some of the information should be confidential but some should be made public.  Much of the information deemed confidential was deemed competitively sensitive and related to CenturyLink’s response to call completion problems and the number of times it removed a particular carrier from the routing tables.  The Board ruled that the names of intermediate providers, the number of trouble tickets, and general discussion of how it routes calls or ensures that a call completes.  Click here to read the Board’s Order in the Allison docket.

The Board also issued similar Orders regarding confidentiality in the dockets involving Hancock County Health Systems, Helen Adolphson, Unity Point Clinic f/k/a Huxley Family Physicians, and Doug Pals.  The Board issued similar orders in cases involving Windstream and Carolyn Frahm

(Contact Dave Duncan for more info)

FirstNet News    
  Next FirstNet Meeting is August 25th    

The ICN and FirstNet will host their Fourth “Iowa Public Partnership Summit” on August 25th from 1 to 3 pm.   The location is the same as last time – the Grimes State Office Building Conference Room B100, 400 East 14th Street, Des Moines, IA.  We expect industry representatives to participate on the panel to include Premier Communication’s Ryan Boone and Alliance CEO Dave Duncan and others who have been invited.  We encourage all members to attend this free event.  RSVP by clicking here.  

Washington News    
Grassley Adds Support to Call Completion Bill    

As previously reported, the Alliance have been advocating on behalf of member companies on the Senate version of the rural call completion legislation, S.827.  Last week the Senate Commerce Committee chaired by Senator John Thune (R-SD) passed the Senate bill out of the body by a voice vote. In more exciting news this week the Alliance learned that Senator Grassley added his name to the list of co-sponsors of the Senate bill which is now ready for consideration by the full chamber.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 2566, was introduced by Iowa 3rd District Congressman David Young (R-Van Meter) and is currently co-sponsored by Iowa 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City). Unfortunately, while the legislation in both chambers has bipartisan support, the remaining three members of the Iowa Congressional Delegation have yet to indicate their support for the bill. The Alliance, in coordination with NTCA outreach efforts, has contacted Senator Ernst and Congressmen Blum and King to encourage co-sponsorship of their chamber’s relevant version of the bill.

Please consider joining the effort by sending letters/emails of support to the following contacts:

Ernst – Andrea Hechavarria, [email protected] or 202-224-3254

Blum – Kyle Thompson, [email protected] or 202-225-2911

King – Jared Culver, [email protected] or 202-225-4426

For additional background and talking points on S.827/H.R. 2566 please click here.

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)


2016 Committee Volunteers –March Open Enrollment

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