Iowa Communicator - August 5, 2016

Iowa Communicator - August 5, 2016


This Week's Headlines:
ICYMI...ACAM Support Models Released; 90-Day Clock Starts
Members Called to Action to Attend Telephone Rules Meeting
Loebsack & FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel to Visit Newton
Alliance Board Meeting Highlights
Congressman King Visits Marne & Elk Horn

Broadband News:
School Leader Promotes Fiber Deployment
FCC Issues 12th Broadband Inquiry

Education & Events News:
Register Today for Envision
2017 Annual Meeting & Expo Call for Speakers
Impact 2016

Member News:
Passing of John Rasmusson




FCC News:
FCC to Roll-Out New NORS Platform
FCC Makes Deaf-Blind Equipment Program Permanent

Compliance News:
FCC Proposes to Fine AT&T for E-Rate Overcharges
USAC Lifeline Webcast on Wednesday

IUB Filings:
Aureon Files CEA Tariff

Wireless News:
Focus on Blocking Unwanted Robocalls and Texts

Legislative News:
Tax Review Board Dissolves, Appeals Routed Through Dir. Office


This Week's Headlines


In Case You Missed it...ACAM Support Models Released; 90-Day Clock Starts


The FCC released its final version of the ACAM support model, complete with funding levels, spreadsheets and maps and buildout requirements.  This is “required reading” for all rate-of-return carriers, so please click here to see the Special Report distributed yesterday. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   Members Called to Action to Attend Telephone Rules Meeting    

The Alliance is asking a few GMs and regulatory experts to attend the IUB hearing on Tuesday, August 9th.  The meeting starts at 9:00 am and should be done by noon.  The meeting will focus on regulatory parity and whether the IUB should give preferential treatment to VoIP providers.  It will also discuss the IUB’s ideas on reducing quality of service standards and utility standards under Chapter 22 which governs telephone service. Please be assured that you won’t have to talk or make a presentation…we are just looking for a strong showing of support.

The hearing will be livestreamed by clicking here.

(please contact Dave Duncan if you are interested in attending)


Congressman Loebsack and FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel to Visit Newton


Next Tuesday, members from the Alliance will host FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Iowa 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City). Don Jennings, Executive VP of Partner Communications and Kevin Hranicka, GM of Van Buren Telephone will join the two Federal officials for a panel discussion about the unique challenges that face rural healthcare providers and how emerging technologies can improve access for rural patients. Our industry is fortunate to have an Iowa Representative like Loebsack who sits on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Communications and Technology Subcommittee with oversight of telecom issues. Many Alliance members doing business in the 2nd District have likely had the Congressman visit their office (perhaps more than once) and we are appreciative that Loebsack and his staff continue to make outreach efforts to our industry, such as this discussion next week. Alliance member companies are encouraged to attend the event!

Event Details:

Tuesday, August 9th / 10:00 AM

Skiff Medical Center

204 North 4th Ave East / Newton, IA 50208


Alliance Board Meeting Highlights


During its Board meeting this week, the Alliance Board of Directors accomplished a number of action items, including:

·         Approving the 2017 budget.  It approved the same dues formula for 2017 that has been in place since 2014. 

·         Revising three financial policies as it continues to look out for the fiduciary interest of association.  It also received a presentation from the Wells Fargo investment advisor and approved some fund re-allocations. 

·         Creating a list of questions that will be examined when the Alliance is asked to assist members in particular IUB or FCC dockets via supporting filings and comments

·         Planning for a congressional visit trip to Washington DC the week of December 12-15.  The Board will be inviting members to attend. 

·         Discussing ways to reach out to all the new general managers who have joined our industry over the past couple of years.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)


Congressman King Visits Marne & Elk Horn


Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron) swung by Marne-Elk Horn Telephone Company last week while Congress is not in session for the annual “August Recess” work period. King and his staff visited with General Manager Janell Hansen and staff as well as some local economic development officials to discuss broadband in the region. Items discussed by the group included different advantages to the delivery method of broadband and how the independent industry is investing in their networks. Hansen also was able to spend time on the call completion bill that has been reported on over the past several weeks in The Communicator. Congressman King remains the only person in our State’s six-member Federal delegation that has not Co-sponsored the bipartisan legislation.

L to R: James Bieker - MEH Tech, Congressman Steve King, Janell Hansen - MEH GM, Jared Hansen - Janell's son, Todd Valline - Shelby County Chamber of Commerce director

Please join Janell and consider sending letters/emails of support to King’s office:  

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)

Broadband News    

School Leader Promotes Fiber Deployment


Howard Winneshiek School Superintendent John Carver has been an advocate for rural broadband deployment as a key to educating rural students.  He also served on the Governor’s STEM council.  He has posted a video talking about the importance of fiber connections to schools and how “we want Iowa to become the hotspot of the nation” – click here to see it.  

(for more information, please contact Dave Duncan)

   FCC Issues 12th Broadband Inquiry    

The FCC has released its Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans.  The inquiry seeks information on whether broadband is being deployed to Americans in a “timely and reasonable fashion.”  Individual statements were released by Commissioners Pai and O’Reilly opining that the FCC has already pre-ordained the results of this inquiry. 

 Education & Events News    
   Register Today for the September 14th EnVision Conference    


New this year:  Pre-Conference  Sponsored Meetings

Join us on  Wednesday, September 14th  for updates and info on
Skitter TV & Innovative Systems Products. 
The meetings are open to all EnVision attendees

Tomorrow’s Video Solutions are Available Now!
Innovative Systems

Find out more about the new killer app for video -  Cloud DVR.  Innovative Systems VP Jerry Weber will also provide a recap of the August 2016 IPTV User Group meeting. Learn how you can keep your subscription video subscribers  on your network by giving them the “Netflix” experience. All Innovative Systems video service providers are strongly encouraged to attend this important meeting!


In Search of Unicorns: Can You Make a Profit in Video Delivery?

Bob Saunders, President and Founder of Skitter TV

Don’t miss this session as Bob Saunders, President and Founder of Skitter TV, looks at the challenges facing telco TV service providers – thin margins, high labor to manage & support, bloated content requirements – and talks about what’s needed to overcome these roadblocks. In this workshop, Mr. Saunders will discuss the latest technologies for video delivery, and how they can be leveraged to gain an advantage on the video delivery playing field. He will also review the content management challenges telcos face, and present a model for offering content that is appealing, affordable, and profitable, in rural markets, while ensuring regulatory compliance.

Please note:  The pre-conference  meetings are included in your  Envision conference registration.

Click HERE for more 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. 

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

Click here to fill out the call for speakers submission form.


Impact 2016


The 2016 ICA Impact Conference agenda is filling up with track training for technicians, marketing and customer service reps.  Some of the speakers and topics this year include:

· What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?:  Justin Huebner, Kiesling Associates

· Project Management:   Mark Mrla, Finely Engineering
Marketing Analytics & Creative Content:  Gabe Petersen, Calix

· HPBX– Laying the Marketing & CSR Groundwork:  Steve Fravel & Joann Horhman, Vantage Point Solutions

· Developing a Security Mindset:  Ryan Pieken, Oxen Technologies

· Selling the Benefits Not the Service—Doug Pals, ReSourceful Communications & Kim Robinson, D2D Cable

Stay tuned for the full conference agenda. 


Thursday’s Keynote Session: 

Taking Care Of Our Clients Begins With Taking Care Of You

Brian Udermann

Ask the average person nowadays how they are doing and they will usually say “I’m just so busy!” Our work environments are often fast-paced and hectic, we are continually being asked to do more with less. Our home environments can, at times, be overwhelming as well with running children to numerous practices and events, to taking care of the yard or completing house related projects. When was the last time you really felt at peace or felt centered and full of joy? How are you at controlling stress in your life? Would you like to laugh more, eat healthier and sleep better? Would you like to have a better relationship with your partner, spouse, children or your friends? This presentation will explore a number of practical strategies you can use to regain a healthy balance in your life!


For more details and to register online click here. 

(Contact Jolene Davis with questions)

Member News    

Passing of John Rasmusson 


The Iowa Communications Alliance regrets to inform you that John Rasmusson, past President of Hills Telephone Company (now part of Alliance Communications) and father of Peter Rasmusson (Farr Technologies) passed away suddenly on Wednesday, August 3rd. Please click here for the full obituary and service information. 

FCC News    

FCC to Roll-Out New NORS Platform


The FCC has announced the roll-out schedule for the new version of the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) platform, including a July 25, 2016 scheduled date for a portion of that roll-out. 

Beginning on August 31, 2016 at 3 PM EDT, all users will need to file outage reports using the new platform. After this time, the old version of the NORS system will no longer be available for filing outage reports. Until that date and time, users should continue to make all required filings under Part 4 in the old version of the NORS system. As of August 1, 2016, users may validate user credentials and company information. In addition, users can upload test filings in the test environment to confirm interoperability of the new platform.

The new NORS production system will be accessible by clicking here.  The Commission will transfer existing User IDs from the old NORS system to the new NORS production system; any user that needs a new User ID, can obtain one by clicking here.   Click here for the FCC Notice and more details. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)


FCC Makes Deaf-Blind Equipment Program Permanent


The FCC adopted an order to make permanent its program that provides communications equipment to low-income individuals who are deaf-blind. The Commission launched the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP), also known as “iCanConnect,” as a pilot program in 2012. Since then, the program has provided up to $10 million annually to support programs that distribute communications equipment, helping Americans with hearing and vision loss to connect with family and friends and become more independent.  Click here for more. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

Compliance News    

FCC Proposes to Fine AT&T for E-Rate Overcharges


The FCC has proposed a $106,000 fine against AT&T for violating the “lowest corresponding price” rule in Florida from 2012 to 2015.  In addition to the fine, the FCC plans to order AT&T to also repay the USF fund $63,760.  Click here for more details.  FCC alleges that AT&T charged the school districts “Prices for telephone services that were magnitudes higher than many other customers in Florida.”  AT&T said it will challenge the fines.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)


USAC Lifeline Webcast on Wednesday


USAC will provide updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) next Wednesday August 10th at 2:00 pm.  Click here for more information. 

 IUB Filings    

Aureon Files CEA Tariff


Iowa Network Services d/b/a Aureon Network Services has filed an updated Iowa access tariff no. 4 for Centralized Equal Access Service.  Please click here for more. 

Wireless News  

Focus on Blocking Unwanted Robocalls and Texts


Methods to address unwanted robocalls and texts have been in the news the past couple of weeks.  Here are three developments.

·         AT&T Offers to Lead Robocall Strike Force.  AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson has responded to the FCC’s call for action and he has agreed to chair a new Robocalling Strike Force to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle.

·         FCC Applauds AT&T Leadership.  The same day as it received the offer from Stephenson, the FCC issued a statement from Chairman Wheeler thanking AT&T for committing to make robocall-blocking technology available to its customers and for leading the charge to develop an action plan for consumers with robust robocall-blocking solutions.  Click here to see the statement. 

·         Tips for Consumers.  CTIA-the Wireless Association has compiled some consumer tips and lists of apps to help block unwanted calls and texts.  Click here for more. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

 Legislative News    

Tax Review Board Dissolves, Appeals Routed Through Director’s Office


The final processes are being carried out to wind down and dissolve the Iowa State Board of Tax Review as was directed by the Legislature during the 2015 session. The charge of the board was to conduct review hearings on tax matters from final decisions of the Iowa Department of Revenue and conduct “de novo” hearings on central assessment and equalization assessments for property tax. Upon recommendation of the 3 Board members themselves, legislation was introduced and passed to dissolve the body after the disposition of all cases or by July 1, 2016, whichever came first. For those entities like Alliance members who are centrally assessed, any appeals on property tax issues will be handled by the Director of the Department of Revenue while locally assessed property owners will continue to have matters resolved through the Property Assessment Appeals Board (PAAB).

To read the DOR rulemaking document that reorganizes the Department in order to handle the appeals please click here.   

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)


2016 Committee Volunteers –March Open Enrollment

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