Nevada Telecommunications Association Monthly Newsletter

    Announcements    
NeoNova Introduces Multi-platform Streaming Service: ViewLocal

NeoNova, a broadband division of NRTC and an industry leader in cloud-based technologies and services for regional telcos and ISPs, today announced that they are taking orders for ViewLocal™, the successor to the company's popular YourStreamTV product.


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Up Coming Events

May 3-4 2016 - Telecommunications Association of Michigan PoliTECH 2016 Radisson Hotel, Lansing, Michigan

May 10-12 2016 - North Dakota Telephone Association (NDTA) Telecom Operation Tri-State Conference (TOC) Holiday Inn, Fargo, North Dakota

May 16-18 2016 - Oregon Telecommunications Association (OTA) and Washington Independent Telecommunications Association (WITA) Joint Annual Meeting Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue, Seattle, Washington

May 23-25 2016 - Alaska Telephone Association (ATA) Annual Meeting Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood, Alaska

May 23-26 2016 - Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) 106th Annual Convention Grand Geneva, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

May 23-24 2016 - Nebraska Telecommunications Association (NTA) Spring Conference Cornhusker Marriott, Lincoln, Nebraska

May 24-26 2016 - Arizona-New Mexico Telecommunications Association (ANMTA) Spring 2016 Conference Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, Santa Fe, New Mexico

May 25-27 2016 - Kentucky Telecom Association (KTA) Annual Meeting Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, Lexington, Kentucky

May 31-June 2 2016 - Louisiana Telecommunications Association (LTA) Summer Workshop Baton Rouge, Louisiana

May 31-June 2 2016 - Ohio Telecom Association (OTA) Annual Convention 121st Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, Columbus, Ohio

June 5-7 2016 - Oregon Telecommunications Association (OTA) and Washington Independent Telephone Association (WITA) Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington

June 5-8 2016 - Oklahoma Telephone & Arkansas Telecommunications Association Annual Conference Marriott Downtown, Little Rock, Arkansas

June 6-8 2016 - Tennessee Telecommunications Association (TTA) Annual Meeting and Conventions Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, Tennessee

June 6-8 2016 - New York State Telephone Association (NYSTA) Annual Convention Lake Placid, New York

June 12-14 2016 - Illinois Telecommunications Association (ITA) Annual Convention Wyndham Springfield City Centre, Springfield, Illinois

June 16-18 2016 - Carolinas-Virginias Telephone Membership Asssociation (CVTMA) Annual Conference Myrtle Beach Marriott, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

June 25-28 2016 - Georgia Telecommunications Association (GTA) 94th Annual Meeting Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

June 26-28 2016 - Tri-State TCI (SC, NC, VA) Technology Conference hosted by VTIA Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia

July 11-13 2016 - North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives (NDATC) Summer Conference(2) Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo, North Dakota

July 11-13 2016 - Pennsylvania Telephone Association (PTA) Annual Convention The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Pennsylvania

July 20-21 2016 - Colorado Telecommunications Association (CTA) Summer Meeting(1) Hotel Elegante, Colorado Springs, Colorado

July 24-27 2016 - Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association (MTIA) Summer Conference(1) Hilton Branson Convention Center, Branson, Missouri

July 26-28 2016 - Tri-State Telecommunications Conference (ID, WY, UT) Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, Idaho


NEWS
HEADLINES

May 2016, Volume 163           Serving the Industry for over 58 Years           Editor: Mike Eifert

Association News

Industry News

FCC News

Federal Legislation


ASSOCIATION NEWS

Please welcome Nor-Cal Battery, our newest Associate Member!

     Nor-Cal Battery provides full sales and service of Battery and Rectifier solutions from cradle to grave. We offer full design engineering on products including but not limited to Enersys, NorthStar and GNB and now we offer GE (Lineage) DC power systems as our new partner. Nor-Cal can do full system integration with installation and removal and provide disposal certificate of old batteries. We are a full product and service company with Battery Preventative Maintenance and monitoring available, we also offer full load bank testing using the Alber BT2000 monitoring system. Nor-Cal Battery is your one stop supplier.

Website: www.norcalbattery.com

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This month's NTA Associate of the Month is GENBAND!

Learn more about GENBAND and what they do by clicking the NTA Associate of the Month photo, top right of any NTA website page.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Broadband Economic Impact Report: Rural Broadband Supports 70K Jobs, $100B in E-Commerce

     Investment in rural broadband boosts the economy - not just locally, but beyond - according to a new broadband economic impact report from The Hudson Institute sponsored by the Foundation for Rural Service. Rural broadband service providers contributed $24.2 billion to the economies of thestates in which they operate in 2015. Full Story [Source: Telecompetitor, 04/22/2016]

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Making Progress on Copyright Enforcement

     In comments submitted to the US Copyright Office, USTelecom underlined the importance of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) safe harbor provisions to internet service providers (ISP). The DMCA generally exempts ISPs from liability for the actions of subscribers that violate copyright law, stating that ISPs simply act as a conduit. "Safe harbor" provisions are crucial to ensuring the continuing growth of the internet economy, USTelecom said. Because material is not stored on ISP servers, any allegedly infringing material cannot be removed nor access to it disabled. A series of roundtables seeking further input will take place in New York and California this May. Learn more. [Source: USTelecom dailyLead, 04/06/2016]

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USDA Plans to Award Almost $12 Million in Broadband Grants for Rural Communities

     USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on April 18, 2016, the USDA is soliciting applications for grants to establish broadband in unserved rural communities through its Community Connect program, and plans to award up to $11.7 million in grants. The minimum grant is $100,000 for FY 2016; the maximum award is $3 million. For more information on how to apply for grants, go to https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-04-18/pdf/2016-08931.pdf [Source: Washington Watch, 04/19/2016]

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FCC NEWS

FCC Adopts Order to Further Reform Lifeline Program

     The FCC issued a News Release on March 31, 2016, announcing it adopted an Order at its March 31, 2016 Open Meeting to modernize and reform the Lifeline program. The Order, among other things, refocuses Lifeline support on broadband, and will, for the first time, support stand-alone broadband service, as well as bundled voice and data packages. The Order also establishes an independent National Eligibility Verifier to confirm subscriber eligibility, and adopts a budget mechanism that will limit Lifeline's cost to ratepayers. The initial budget will be set at $2.25 billion and indexed to inflation. The Order is not yet released. Statements issued by: Chairman Wheeler | Commissioner Rosenworcel [Source: Washington Watch, 04/01/2016]

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FCC Announces 2016 Local Service Rate Floor and Reasonable Comparability Benchmarks for Fixed Voice and Broadband Services

     The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on April 5, 2016, announcing the 2016 local voice service rate floor for incumbent ETCs is $21.93. The Bureau indicated that, as the full impact of the local rate floor was waived for a four-year period, to the extent an ILEC's local rates plus state regulated fees in 2016 are less than $18, that carrier's high-cost support will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Bureau also announced the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services is $41.07 and the reasonable comparability benchmarks for broadband services range from $69.14 for 10/1 Mbps (100 GB usage allowance) through $89.24 for 25/5 Mbps (unlimited usage). The Bureau also announced the posting of the fixed voice and broadband services data collected in the most recent urban rate survey and the explanatory notes regarding the data, and announced the required minimum usage allowance for 2016 for ETCs subject to broadband public interest obligations. [Source: Washington Watch, 04/06/2016]

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FCC Plans Largest Fine to Date for Lifeline Overbilling

     On April 7, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau announced that it plans to fine Total Call Mobile $51,070,322 for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of duplicate and ineligible consumers into the Lifeline program. This is the largest fine that the FCC has proposed against a Lifeline provider. Further, the FCC has indicated in its formal notice that it may initiate proceedings to revoke Total Call's authorizations to operate as a Lifeline provider and a common carrier. According to a press release, the FCC alleges that since 2014, Total Call has requested and received an estimated $9.7 million dollars in improper payments from the Universal Service Fund for duplicate or ineligible consumers despite repeated and explicit warnings from its own employees, in some cases compliance specialists, that company sales agents were engaged in widespread enrollment fraud. The Enforcement Bureau's Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of the California-headquartered Total Call, which provides Lifeline services in at least 19 states and territories. The Strike Force's investigation found that Total Call apparently engaged in systematic and egregious misconduct, including the following alleged violations:
     * Total Call sales agents enrolled tens of thousands of duplicate consumers.
     * Total Call was aware of a systematic problem of duplicate enrollments as early as November 2013, a full year before the Universal Service Fund administrator raised the issue with the company.
     * During the fourth quarter of 2014, 99.8 percent of Total Call's enrollments nationwide involved overriding the third-party verification system designed to catch duplicate enrollments.
     * Sales agents shared eligibility documents, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cards, in order to use the documents to conduct multiple enrollments.
     * Employees staffing an internal sales agent help line advised agents on how to get around or disguise defective identification or eligibility documentation for applicants. For example, in one instance a help line employee counseled a sales agent to put his or her finger over the word "void" on an eligibility document.
     * As early as May 2014, employees told Total Call management that they were aware of increasing instances of eligibility fraud, such as the repeated use of single SNAP cards with no name or other identifying information to enroll ineligible or duplicate consumers. Despite this, no meaningful changes to employee training or verification procedures were made.
     * One sales agent used the identification from a stolen wallet to register 10 Lifeline cell phones in the name of the wallet's owner without his/her permission. When that agent was arrested and charged with identity theft, he/she possessed not only the wallet but 12 additional Total Call-issued Lifeline cell phones.

     A copy of the full Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) is available here. It is important to note that an NAL details the FCC's allegations of unlawful conduct, and is not a final finding. [Source: BloostonLaw, 04/13/2016]

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FEDERAL LEGISLATION

House Subcommittee to Consider Lifeline Bill

     The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a legislative hearing on April 13, 2016, to examine several bills, including HR 4884, the CURB Lifeline Act, authored by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), which seeks to reform the FCC's Lifeline subsidy program by capping the program at $1.5 billion. It also seeks to prohibit the use of the subsidy for devices and the phasing out of the subsidy for voice-only mobile service. [Source: Washington Watch, 04/06/2016]

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