Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) is a member-owned cooperative founded in 1953 to bring telephone service to rural South-Central Alaska. Today, MTA delivers some of the most advanced communications products available in the marketplace, including Voice, Internet, Wireless, Business Solutions, Directory and Digital TV services. The MTA service area covers over 10,000 square miles and spans the area from Eagle River’s Hiland Road to Clear Air Force Base. MTA stores are located in Eagle River, Palmer, and Wasilla, Alaska. Through its operating and capital budgets, MTA contributes tens of millions of dollars into the communities it serves and employs over 350 people.
Contact: Carolyn Hanson
MTA Director of Marketing and Sales
MTA Continues Discussions with AMC Network for Renewal of Carriage Agreement
AMC Networks is Demanding Significant Rate Increase in Latest Contract Renewal Agreement.
Contract negotiations between media giant AMC Networks and MTA could lead to an interruption of service if an agreement is not reached by December 31, 2015. AMC Networks could force MTA, along with several other Alaskan cable TV providers, to remove AMC and WE from their television line-ups on January 1, 2016.
MTA, along with over 700 other small cable operators across the nation, is currently in negotiations with AMC Networks, owner of AMC, WE and several other networks, to continue offering AMC programming to their customers. The current contract doesn't expire until December 31, which means all existing networks and programming will remain available throughout the rest of 2015. The increase AMC is demanding of - more than 350% - would ultimately end up being passed on to MTA DTV consumers.
"The current proposal from AMC Networks for carriage beyond December 31st includes a significant cost increase, that will ultimately be passed on to all of our customers,” explained MTA CEO Michael Burke. "We are fully prepared to pay a fair price for the AMC programming our customers want, but when huge companies such as AMC Networks demand an unprecedented increase in its monthly fees, we believe it's our responsibility to take a stand."
MTA is a member of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), which represents over 850 independent cable companies across the United States. Members can opt in to have the NCTC negotiate with program providers and others on their behalf, which is currently the case with AMC Networks. By aggregating volume discounts, local TV providers can pass cost savings on to their customer allowing them to compete with larger national competitors.
MTA Launches ONE GIG High-Speed Internet
MTA is once again bringing the most innovative technology to its customers with the launch of ONE GIG High-Speed Internet service. From DTV to High Speed Internet, MTA has always been the first to give Eagle River and Mat-Su Valley customers access to the latest telecommunication technologies.
Now MTA is adding jet-speed Internet service with ONE GIG. Customers can access up to 1,000 times faster upload and download speeds to do things like stream high-definition video or audio on multiple devices at once.
“These are exciting times for all of us at MTA. As the technology leader in Eagle River and the Valley, we are proud to offer our customers ONE GIG, the most advanced Internet service available,” said MTA CEO Michael Burke. “Our top priority is to continue investing in our network and in new technologies so that our customers’ technology needs continue to be met and exceeded.”
Starting November 24, MTA customers in select neighborhoods in Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley can get connected to ONE GIG Internet service by calling MTA, or visiting one of our locations in Palmer, Wasilla, or Eagle River.
Mat-Su Borough School District and MTA Partner To Open MTA Coding Academy at Wasilla Middle School
The Mat-Su Borough School District (MSBSD) has partnered with MTA to open the MTA Coding Academy at Wasilla Middle School. The MTA Coding Academy offers students the opportunity to gain computer science skills through coding, robotics, 3-D modeling keyboarding, Mathematics, and Science curricula.
November 18, 2015—10:30 a.m.
Wasilla Middle School
Identified as one of the goals of the MSBSD School Board, Superintendent Deena Paramo brought to the District a charge to investigate, plan, structure, and implement a technology re-start for the MSBSD. “Each individual classroom, school, department, and office in the MSBSD uses technology differently,” explained Dr. Paramo. “Using technology to meet the District’s goal of preparing all students for success,” she said, “means that continuous adaptable planning and work will occur.”
“We believe that computer coding is the underpinning of most future service and manufacturing jobs in the world,” said Dr. Paramo, “so it is important that our students are prepared for the jobs we know may be available to them after they graduate from the MSBSD.” Reported by the Gartner Group, Inc., a leading information technology research and advisory company, “…up to 30 percent of current jobs will be replaced in the next 10 years by smart software or devices that require coding to operate.” The up and coming skills students will need are a phenomenon that the tech world, according to Gartner, is calling “the rise of the citizen developer.” (Source: http://readwrite.com/2013/07/15/the-rise-of-the-citizen-developer)
Looking for corporate partners in the Mat-Su Valley, MTA stepped up to join with the District offering students a gateway to their future. “We know that the future for our students is now,” said Dr. Paramo. “We want to put the tools into the hands of students to learn and prepare themselves for jobs we don’t even know will exist.”
MTA Chief Executive Officer Michael C. Burke said “We are excited to join the District in outlining and working toward the opening of the new MTA Coding Academy at Wasilla Middle School. For decades, MTA has been the first to bring new technologies to our communities, and we are passionate about supporting and providing opportunities for our youth. We value this opportunity to partner with the MSBSD to promote technology and to bring the first coding academy to our district.”
This Academy serves what the District hopes is a pilot for other programs in MSBSD middle schools. MTA and the MSBSD are providing matching funds for the start-up of the MTA Coding Academy.
For more information about this partnership, you may contact Catherine Esary, Public Information Officer, MSBSD, at 907-746-9251, or Carolyn Hanson, Director of Marketing & Sales, MTA, at 907-761-2727.
Mat-Su Valley Co-ops Partner for Prize Giveaways in Honor of National Cooperative Month
October is National Cooperative Month and we want to honor you, our members. Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) Matanuska Electric Association (MEA), and Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union (MVFCU) are teaming up to recognize the benefits and values that cooperatives bring to their members and communities.
At MEA, MTA and MVFCU, we are proud to serve our members by being part of America’s cooperative network and we are excited to celebrate our members.
Throughout October, we are asking our members to log on to our Facebook pages and share “What does being a part of a cooperative mean to you?” Type your response in the comment section for a chance to win a basket filled with local items. Winners will be selected from the pool of comments from each Facebook page.
While co-ops operate in many industries and sectors of the economy, seven cooperative principles set us apart from other businesses and help members build a more participatory, sustainable, and resilient economy. Our seven cooperative principles are voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.
Find MTA, MEA, and MVFCU on Facebook for your chance to win:
MTA Board Names Michael C. Burke as CEO
The MTA board of directors announced the hiring of Michael C. Burke as MTA’s new Chief Executive Officer at their board meeting on September 23, 2015. Mr. Burke had been serving as MTA’s interim CEO since the retirement departure of Greg Berberich in July of this year.
Earl Lackey, Chief Governance Officer for MTA said, “The Board was able to identify very quickly the best person for the position was right in front of us. Michael brings a wealth of knowledge that will serve our company well as MTA transitions from a traditional telecommunications company to a 21st century provider of integrated technology solutions to better serve its customers.”
Burke, a local Alaskan, brings to the company over 31 years of professional consulting and senior management experience with telecommunications and other utility companies. “I’m very excited to lead MTA during this important transition and growth period,” Burke said.
Burke served on the Alaska Exchange Carriers Association Board of Directors, Alaska Exchange Carrier Association Tariff and Rate Development Committee, and was the Alaska Broadband Task Force Peer Reviewer. Burke attended Seattle University where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration specializing in accounting and is an Alaskan CPA.
MTA Invests in WiFi at the Alaska State Fair
Improvements will extend reach, increase capacity and improve reliability
MTA is replacing the current WiFi infrastructure at the Alaska State Fair with a more advanced commercial enterprise-grade system that will extend the reach, increase the capacity and improve the reliability of WiFi throughout the fairgrounds.
“The upgrades are being made to provide fairgoers and vendors with the latest and greatest in WiFi technology, and to support the growth of WiFi use over the next five years,” said Carolyn Hanson, MTA director of marketing and sales.
The new system will provide better WiFi signal strength, faster connections, Enterprise Class Security, and automatic load balancing during peak times. These improvements are intended to provide a better experience for fairgoers and vendors.
“MTA has been a long-standing partner of the Alaska State Fair,” said Jerome Hertel, Fair general manager. “We are grateful for their ongoing support, including their recent major contribution to upgrade the WiFi network at the Fair. WiFi access has continued to grow more and more important to Fair vendors and fairgoers, and we are pleased to be able to offer WiFi at no cost, thanks to the support of MTA.”
In addition to providing state-of-the-art broadband services at the Fair for more than five years, MTA is one of the Fair’s top sponsors, supporting a variety of events and venues such as MTA Kids Day, the MTA Texting Contest, and the MTA Borealis Tent. This year MTA is also sponsoring the Home Free concert and the fireworks.
MTA Selected A Winner In The 36th Annual Telly Awards
The Telly Awards has named MTA as a two-time Bronze winner in the 36th Annual Telly Awards for their TV commercials titled Cooperative, and Employment. With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.
Both spots were developed and directed by MTA’s agency, Walsh | Sheppard, were shot and produced locally by Hybrid Color Films, and feature MTA Member-Owners and employees. This is the first time MTA has entered work into the juried competition.
The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.
A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents. The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other – rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit. Approximately 25% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Bronze Telly.
“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. “MTA’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill, and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”
“We are thrilled to share this honor with our long-standing agency, Walsh | Sheppard, and our Member-Owners,” said Carolyn Hanson, Director of Marketing and Sales for MTA. “We are proud to be recognized for two commercials that communicate the true spirit of hard working Alaskans and cooperative values, on a national stage.”
MTA Board Announces Retirement of Long-Time CEO Greg Berberich
Matanuska Telephone Association, Inc. (“MTA”) board of directors announced today the retirement of long-time Chief Executive Officer Greg Berberich. His retirement takes effect July 31, 2015.
Earl Lackey, Chief Governance Officer for MTA, said, “Greg has been with MTA for 40 years. He has dedicated his working life to MTA and the Board wishes to thank him for his service. He has successfully led MTA through many huge challenges during his 15 years as CEO.
“Under Greg’s leadership, he has positioned MTA as a major telecommunications company, providing our members with state of the art products and services. He has been a strong leader throughout the industry and our community,” continued Lackey.
While the board conducts a nationwide search for Berberich’s replacement, Michael C. Burke has agreed to serve as the interim Chief Executive Officer. Burke brings to the company over 30 years of professional consulting and management experience with Alaska telecommunications and other utility companies, and is the founder and President of Burke Watson Inc. The board expects to hire a new Chief Executive Officer before the end of 2015.
Online Pop Up Is Not MTA
Local Internet customers have been reporting a large pop up screen masquerading as an MTA survey or announcing that you have won a prize. The fake survey claims you were randomly selected and offers to enter you into a drawing for a prize. The scam includes a pop up which resembles MTA’s logo. This scam is being generated by an overseas entity that has no association with MTA. If you receive a pop up screen like this, DO NOT CLICK ON IT.
Here is some helpful IdentityTheft.gov information for When Information Is Lost or Exposed https://www.identitytheft.gov/info-lost-or-stolen.html
MTA 2015 Annual Meeting Election Results and Awards
Larry Wiget and Lauren Driscoll elected to the MTA Board and Awards Presented
MTA’s Annual Meeting was held Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. Approximately 500 people enjoyed the evening with dinner, a look at MTA’s latest technology offerings and a visit with MTA’s celebrity spokesperson, Iditarod musher Martin Buser.
Four college scholarships were announced during the meeting. The ATA and MTA College Scholarship recipients, Katelyn Foster and Marcella Meyerhofer, both received $2,000. Kendra Brywa was announced as the winner of the $5,000 Foundation for Rural Service and MTA College Scholarship and Carly Williams was announced as the winner of the $2,500 Foundation for Rural Service and MTA College Scholarship.
Stephanie Allen, Executive Director for United Way of Mat-Su, presented MTA with the “Better Together Award” recognizing MTA for 25 years of Top Giving. In the presentation, Ms. Allen said “MTA partnered with United Way of Mat-Su to help fund the first community transportation system in the valley. You also helped raise funds for our neighbors in need when fires broke out during the Millers Reach fires. You have helped over 15,000 children from becoming homeless in the valley and helped to deliver thousands of pounds of food to people who are hungry. You have rolled up your sleeves and volunteered at countless agencies, events and projects to lend your support. I can’t tell one story of how you have made a difference in our community, because I can tell hundreds of stories. You have been the PACESETTER on numerous occasions, outgiving any other company in the valley and have given over three-quarters of a million dollars over 25 years! You have offered 25 years to United Way of Mat-Su and even more years to our community and we are forever grateful. MTA is SOMETHING BIGGER. And with United Way of Mat-Su, we are Better Together.”
During the business meeting, two directors were elected to serve on the MTA Board. Winning a 3-year seat was incumbent Larry Wiget with 2,188 votes. Winning a 2-year term with 1,382 votes was Lauren Driscoll. Joseph Davis received 1,260 votes and Adelane “Addy” Kelly received 1,169 votes. As decided by a special Board meeting immediately following the election, Earl Lackey will serve as the Chief Governance Officer of the MTA Board. Catherine Fosselman will serve as Secretary of the Board. Rounding out the 5-person Board is Lauren Driscoll, George Trabits, and Larry Wiget.
There were no proposed amendments to MTA bylaws at this year’s meeting.
Popular Mat-Su Sports Center Gets A New Name – MTA Sports Center
With a new sponsorship from Matanuska Telephone Association, the Palmer-Wasilla Highway facility formerly known as the AT&T Sports Center is now the MTA Sports Center.
Greg Berberich, MTA’s CEO said, “We are proud supporters of this reputable and popular facility. MTA is committed to growing and investing in the communities we serve, and this sponsorship reinforces that commitment. It’s all about being a part of something bigger and sponsorship of the MTA Sports Center not only stimulates our local economy, it provides tremendous exposure for our company, 365 days a year.”
An Open House is scheduled for April 9, 2015, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the MTA Sports Center. There will be complimentary snacks, refreshments, and giveaways.
Scott and Karis Johannes, owners of the MTA Sports Center, are excited to welcome MTA as the facility’s new sponsor. To have a community pillar such as MTA behind the center and supporting the community in healthy, active lifestyles, fulfills a dream of having a location that brings friends and families together, such as Scott experienced growing up in Tok, Alaska. The valley was in great need of a facility to house the growing basketball community that had outgrown school gymnasiums.
The MTA Sports Center is a one-of-a-kind athletic facility, located mid-valley, half way between Wasilla and Palmer on the Palmer-Wasilla Hwy. The sports center is a 65,000 sq. ft. facility, which includes the recent 4,200 sq. ft. addition of a CrossFit Box, larger weight room, and a new child care room. Amenities include five basketball/volleyball courts, leagues for adult basketball, bubble soccer, open court pick-up games, and programs for ages 18 months through 12th grade, and the center is the home to the popular Valley Youth Basketball Association.
The MTA Sports Center also offers a fully-equipped fitness center featuring an indoor running track; cardio room with entertainment & Wi-Fi; free-weights room; Nautilus weight room; over 40 group fitness classes offered weekly; child care; tanning; snack bar; and a conference room that can be reserved for group lectures or social gatherings. For more information, please visit www.mtasportscenter.com.
February 3, 2015
Online Pop Up Is Not MTA
Local Internet customers have been reporting a large pop up screen masquerading as an MTA user survey. The fake survey claims the customer has been randomly chosen to take a survey, and that in exchange for taking a user survey, offers to enter their name into a drawing for a prize. The scam includes a pop up which resembles MTA’s logo. This scam is being generated by an overseas entity that has no association with MTA. If you receive a pop up screen like this, please close it. Do not click it.
September 22, 2014
MTA to Offer iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus in Alaska on September 26
MTA today announced it will offer iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, beginning on September 26 in its Eagle River, Palmer and Wasilla stores. iPhone 6 will be available starting at $199 for the 16GB model and iPhone 6 Plus will be available starting at $299 for the 16GB model with a two-year agreement.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are the biggest advancements in iPhone history, featuring two new models with stunning 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, and packed with innovative technologies in an all-new dramatically thin and seamless design that is still comfortable to hold and easy to use. Both models are better in every way and include: the Apple-designed A8 chip with second generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance and power efficiency; advanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras; ultrafast wireless technologies; and Apple Pay, an easier way to simply and securely make payments with just the touch of a finger.¹
The new iPhones include iOS 8, the biggest release since the App Store, featuring a simpler, faster and more intuitive user experience with new Messages and Photos features, predictive typing for Apple’s QuickType keyboard and Family Sharing. iOS 8 also includes the new Health app, giving you a clear overview of your health and fitness data and iCloud Drive, so you can store files and access them from anywhere.
“MTA is excited to be a part of the biggest advancement in iPhone history, bringing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers,” said Greg Berberich, CEO of MTA. “With their stunning new displays and incredible new features, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are sure to be a hit with our customers in Alaska.”
In addition, iPhone 5s will be available starting at $99 and iPhone 5c will be available starting at $0 with a two-year agreement.
Pricing and details for iPhone:
|iPhone 6 16GB||$199|
|iPhone 6 64GB||$299|
|iPhone 6 128GB||$399|
|iPhone 6 Plus 16GB||$299|
|iPhone 6 Plus 64GB||$399|
|iPhone 6 Plus 128GB||$499|
|iPhone 5s - 16GB||$99|
|Phone 5s - 32GB||$149|
|iPhone 5c - 8GB||$0|
For more information on iPhone, please visit: www.apple.com/iphone.
¹ Apple Pay will be available to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers in the US as a free update to iOS 8 this October.
September 4, 2014
MTA Strengthens Wireless Offering
MTA has become an authorized retailer with Verizon Wireless. MTA will soon sell Verizon Wireless services in all four retail stores throughout its service area. Eagle River and Mat-Su area residents will benefit by having access to the largest 4G LTE network, national pricing plans and unrivaled customer service.
Greg Berberich, Chief Executive Officer of MTA, said, “MTA and Verizon Wireless have deployed 4G LTE technology which will provide enhanced high speed data services for customers traveling in Alaska, the lower 48 and Hawaii. We are dedicated to providing innovative communications products and services to our customers and our communities and we are very excited about this relationship.”
MTA and Verizon Wireless both share a commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience. This strategic relationship is another great opportunity for MTA to strengthen MTA’s product offerings for its customers. Existing MTA Wireless customers will not be affected by this arrangement and can continue to use their current wireless service. This is one more offering in the suite of services provided by MTA.
“In the coming weeks, Verizon Wireless and MTA will deliver breakthrough 4G technology to customers in the Mat-Su Valley and Eagle River with Advanced Calling features including high-definition voice and video calls,” said Verizon Wireless Vice-President for Alaska, Demian Voiles. “This is a unique and innovative partnership and we’re confident that customers are going to see and hear the benefits.”
June 5, 2014
MTA 2014 Annual Meeting Election Results: Catherine Fosselman and Earl P. Lackey return to the MTA Board
MTA’s Annual Meeting was held Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. More than 500 people enjoyed the evening with dinner, product demonstrations of the upcoming myMTA self-service website, and meeting MTA’s celebrity spokesperson, Iditarod musher Martin Buser.
During the business meeting, two directors were elected to serve on the MTA Board. Winning a 3-year seat was incumbent Catherine Fosselman with 2,516 votes. Winning a 2-year term with 2,510 votes was incumbent Earl P. Lackey. Adelane Kelly received 1,150 votes.
As decided by a special Board meeting immediately following the election, Earl Lackey will serve as the Chief Governance Officer of the MTA Board. Catherine Fosselman will serve as Secretary of the Board. Rounding out the 5-person Board is Al Strawn, George Trabits, and Larry Wiget.
Cooperative members voted in support of the proposed amendments to MTA bylaws. The unofficial election results are as follows.
Proposition #1: Removing Extra Election Envelope.
Yes 2,903; No 522.
Proposition #2 Election Notice of Member Meetings.
Yes 2,689; No 720.
Proposition #3: Paper Ballots by Request.
Yes 2,513; No 914.
Matanuska Telephone Association Partners with Cloud49 to Provide New Cloud Storage Service to Business Customers
Cloud49, the leader in cloud storage enablement, today announced that Matanuska Telephone Association, the largest telecom cooperative in Alaska, has launched a new cloud storage service for Alaska business customers. Dubbed “MTA Cloud Storage,” the Cloud49 powered solution offers cloud backup, file sync & share services (FSS), and mobile access.
Customers will be able to backup their computers and servers, securely sync and share their files, and access their files remotely using the new MTA Cloud App for iPhone and Android. Enterprise-grade encryption is used on all data sent to the cloud, and customers control the encryption keys, meaning that their data is safe from unauthorized access.
“Cloud49 knows Alaska, and they know the Cloud,” said Carolyn Hanson, Director of Marketing and Sales at MTA. “MTA customers have been asking for these solutions, and we are excited to make them available with this partnership.”
“The real winners will be Alaska businesses,” said Nathaniel Gates, President at Cloud49. “We have been conditioned to expect higher prices than our lower 48 peers. MTA and Cloud49 are going to break that mold and provide cutting edge technologies at a very attractive and affordable price.” Learn more about MTA Cloud Storage.
MTA Secures USDA Community Connect Grant for Nearly $3 Million
Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) will contribute $2,941,246 for the expansion of MTA’s existing fiber optic network into areas currently fed by copper and microwave equipment.
The USDA grant will enable network construction in the Glacier View and Chickaloon areas. When completed, customers in those areas will be able to subscribe to Internet service with download speeds up to 10 Megabits per second.
“For 60 years MTA has been providing state of the art communications for our members. This grant coupled with an approximate $1 million in additional funds from MTA helps continue our commitment to provide enhanced Internet services to our most rural members,” CEO Greg Berberich said.
This MTA Internet project is one of 14 selected by the USDA Community Connect Grant Program. Other Internet providers will build networks to serve rural communities in Kentucky, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The awarded projects must meet the terms of the grant agreement, including delivery of Internet that is at least five megabits per second (Mbps).