Iowa Communicator - August 12, 2016

Iowa Communicator - August 12, 2016

 


This Week's Headlines:
Members Support Equality in Phone Regulation

Member News:
Loebsack, Alliance Members Host FCC Commissioner
Partner Welcomes Rosenworcel & Loebsack to Gigacenter
ITAP Seeks More Leaders

Education & Events News:
Register Today for the September 14th EnVision Conference
2017 Annual Meeting & Expo Call for Speakers
Impact 2016

FirstNet News:
Members Invited to FirstNet Summit August 25th

 

 

 

Broadband News:
Appeals Court Overturns FCC Muni Rules
FCC Releases Internet Access Services Report

State News:
Iowa Releases Cybersecurity Strategy

Compliance News:
Form 477 Due September 1st
AT&T to Pay $7.75 Million for Allowing Cramming

FCC News:
FCC Releases Voice Telephone Services Report

 



 
This Week's Headlines
 
 

 

Members Support Equality in Phone Regulation

   
 

Several Alliance members attended the IUB hearing on Tuesday along with more than a dozen telecom and consumer groups. They discussed a wide range of rule changes impacting the provision of local exchange service.  This is the fourth round of comment proceedings since 2013. 

All three IUB Board members and numerous staff were in attendance to receive comments, ask questions and probe each party’s position.

CEO Dave Duncan reported to IUB Board and staff that the Alliance represents over 120 community based providers that provide the best service and are often asked by customers in other exchanges to come in and provide service.  “Assuming the rules are clear, fair and applied equally, we will continue to provide the level of service that other providers cannot match,” Duncan said. 

Topics of discussion included the appropriate level of Board oversight over quality of service standards, consumer complaints, call blocking, and interest on customer deposits. 

Most of the discussion focused on the Board’s role in regulating, partially regulating or deregulating VoIP service.   AT&T, Sprint, Cox, Verizon, VON and CenturyLink all argued that VoIP providers should receive preferential treatment.  AARP and OCA joined the Alliance in opposing this move. 

The Alliance urged the Board to apply equality of rules in all regulations going forward, all moves to reduce regulation and any “deregulation” that impacts the provision of telecommunications service, local exchange service or telephone service.

The Alliance Regulatory Relations Committee will prepare post-hearing comments that will be filed by the September 1st deadline.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
Broadband News    
 

Loebsack, Alliance Members Host FCC Commissioner

   
 

Iowa 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City) continued to strengthen the relationship enjoyed with Alliance members by hosting a forum in Newton this week with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel that put the rural broadband industry on display. On Tuesday, Partner Communications GM Don Jennings and Van Buren Telephone GM Kevin Hranicka put our industry’s best foot forward by serving on a panel discussion with the Federal officials to discuss the role broadband connections play in rural healthcare delivery, specifically telemedicine.


In a packed room in the basement of Skiff Medical Center in Newton, the conversation touched on the need for connectivity through robust networks in rural areas in the absence of medical infrastructure and professionals in those lower density areas. Whether the service provided is elderly patient in-home monitoring, connecting a patient with a urban hospital, or delivery of TelePharmacy medications; rural providers are critical to making healthcare possible in places like Iowa.

To see WHO-TV’s coverage of the event please click here. For the Newton Daily Newspaper coverage of the event please click here.


(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
   Partner Communications Welcomes Rosenworcel and Loebsack to Gigacenter    
 

Following the panel discussion in Newton, FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel and Congressman Loebsack just hadn’t gotten enough of Don Jennings and decided to follow him to nearby Baxter where Partner Communications hosts their GigaCenter. According to Partner, “The GigaCenter is a community of entrepreneurs, teleworkers, creative types and others who need a place to work that’s beyond the local coffee shop or spare bedroom in the house, yet more affordable and feature-rich than a private office – and it’s all armed with a powerful Internet connection of up to 1 Gbps.” Rosenworcel and Loebsack heard first hand from customers how the GigaCenter and Partner Communications are helping to sustain the community.


For more information about the GigaCenter please click here.

(Contact Kevin Condon with questions)

   
   ITAP Seeks More Leaders    
 

Through Ripple Effect, IADG has established a standing telecommunications advisory panel (ITAP) comprised of telco managers and/or their representatives, staff from Aureon and the Alliance.  Currently there are seven telecom managers serving on the panel and IADG and ICA invite more managers to participate in the meetings and bring your knowledge and skills which will complement the work of IADG staff in order to more effectively carry out their mission of serving the telcos in the economic development arena.

ITAP offers the opportunity to present important economic development leaders to the panel, bring you the latest news in the economic development field and introduce you to state, federal, and private sector partners so that the telecom industry is well-known to these players. We also want your guidance and reaction as it relates to trends, directions, and programs in the economic development space.

For more information about the panel or if you are interested in serving on ITAP please email Sue Cosner or call 515-777-7308.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

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

 


New session added to the EnVision conference agenda:

Aureon DET and Skitter TV Update

Chad Raymond, Aureon Video Product Manager

Join Chad Raymond, Aureon Video Product Manager, as he provides a short update on the status of DET and Skitter TV Headend services. Subscriber growth on both platforms will be addressed as well as lineup changes for DET.

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)

   
FirstNet News    
 

Members Invited to FirstNet Summit August 25th

   
 

We invite all Alliance members to hear an update on FirstNet’s activities in Iowa to build a statewide public emergency management network.  The meeting begins at 1:00 pm at the Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th Street, Level B, Conference Room B100 (same place as prior FirstNet summits). 

Presenters include ICN’s Ric Lumbard and State SPOC Sgt. Tom Lampe.  Private providers are represented by Aureon Technology CEO Shawn Hanson, Ryan Boone (Premier Communications) and Alliance CEO Dave Duncan.

The meeting is free but they are seeking RSVPs.  Click here to RSVP.  The last three summit meetings had strong Alliance attendance and we encourage members to attend this event also.

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
Broadband News    
 

Appeals Court Overturns FCC Muni Rules

   
 

The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that FCC overstepped its bounds with rules pre-empting state laws that govern municipal broadband entry.  The FCC Order concluded that laws in Tennessee and North Carolina governing the scope of powers of municipal entities should be over-ruled and pre-empted by federal law because of the public interest in furthering competition in broadband deployment. 

The ruling means that the 96 Telecom Act did not give FCC authority to override state laws that put restrictions on municipal broadband networks.  It may have only limited impact, as this returns us to the status that existed before this Spring’s FCC Order. 

According to the Court, “The FCC order essentially serves to re-allocate decision-making power between the states and their municipalities.”  It said that that if Congress has the power to allocate state decision making, it must be very clear that it is doing so” and that Congress has not stated its intent to pre-empt state laws for conducting their own governments. The Court also said that the FCC did not receive authority to make these rules from section 706 as the FCC claimed.  Click hereto read the decision.  The statements by individual Commissioners either applaud the court order or oppose it. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
 

FCC Releases Internet Access Services Report

   
 

The FCC issued its Internet Access Services report summarizing information on US internet access connections as of June 30, 2015, per FCC Form 477 data.  These reports continue to use the 200kbps standard for measuring internet access connections.

The report found that while internet connections increased by 9 percent to 342 million, most of the growth is attributable to increased mobile internet access subscribership.

The report also found:

·         50% of fixed connections now have a downstream speed of at least 25 Mbps.  Consumers with downstream speeds of less than 3 Mbps has decreased from 24% in June 2012 to 7% in June 2015.

·         15% of mobile connections had a minimum advertised downstream speed slower than 3 Mbps, 34% were at least 3 Mbps downstream but slower than 6 Mbps, 18% were at least 6 Mbps downstream but slower than 10 Mbps, and 33% were at least 10 Mbps downstream.

Click here to read the report. 

   
State News    
 

Iowa Releases Cybersecurity Strategy

   
 

Iowa’s Chief Information Officer teamed up with DPS, DHS, Emergency Management, the ICN and the Iowa National Guard to develop the State of Iowa Cybersecurity Strategy.  This strategy details the steps the State of Iowa needs to take to increase our resilience to cyberattacks.  The strategy primarily focuses on lifeline critical infrastructure sectors, such as energy, transportation, and communication, and state government as it relates to the protection of digital government services and citizens.  Click here to read it. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
 Compliance News    
 

Form 477 Due September 1st

   
 

All members are reminded of the need to file their FCC form 477, the Local Competition and Broadband Reporting Form by September 1, 2016. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
 

AT&T to Pay $7.75 Million for Allowing Cramming

   
 

AT&T contracted with Discount Directory, Inc. (DDI) and Enhanced Telecommunications Services (ETS) to bill customers approximately $9 per month for purported “directory assistance service.” In return, AT&T received a fee for each charge it placed on its customers’ bills.  In May 2015, while investigating ETS and DDI for drug-related crimes and money laundering, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration uncovered that DDI and ETS were sham operations that never provided any directory assistance service to the customers billed by AT&T.  The companies’ principals told law enforcement that they submitted fake service charges for thousands of AT&T customers (mostly small businesses) over a multiyear period. 

FCC has proposed a fine of $7.75 million against AT&T including a civil penalty and customer reimbursement.  The FCC said, “although it bore ultimate responsibility for the charges placed on its customers’ bills, AT&T never required proof from the Companies that they obtained customer authorizations to be billed for their service and the record shows that the Companies never obtained any such customer authorizations.  In addition, AT&T ignored a number of red flags that the charges were unauthorized, including thousands of charges submitted by the Companies for nonexistent, disconnected, or otherwise “unbillable” accounts.”

AT&T must also refund all customers charged for the sham DA service since January 2012, in the amount of about $6.8 million.

Click here for more. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
FCC News  
 

FCC Releases Voice Telephone Services Report

   
 

The FCC released its Voice Telephone Services report summarizing the information collected about telephone services as of June 30, 2015.

The report said in June 2015 there were:

·         68 million end-user switched access lines in service

·         57 million interconnected VoIP subscriptions

·         326 million mobile subscriptions

Of the 125 million wireline retail voice telephone service connections (including both switched access lines and interconnected VoIP subscriptions) in June 2015, 69 million (or 55%) were residential connections and 56 million (or 45%) were business connections.  ILEC switched access lines comprised 54 million of those 125 million lines.  Click here to read the report. 

(please contact Dave Duncan for more information)

   
     
     
   
   
   
   






2016 Committee Volunteers –March Open Enrollment

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