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News & Alerts

International Day of Co-Ops: Rebuild Better Together

A co-operative (co-op) is a people-centric organization, run by and for its members, that aims to achieve a variety of common goals. For all of us at MTA, we take the “people-centric” aspect pretty seriously. This year’s theme for International Day of Co-Ops revolves around working together to rebuild; working with you, our members, is something we’ve been doing since our inception back in 1953.

Our 100% wholly owned co-op was established with the purpose to serve the communities our members live, work and play in. Though we’ve evolved significantly since then, from a telecom company to the tech powerhouse we are today, this core value hasn’t changed.

Over the past 68 years, we’ve witnessed Alaska transform before our very eyes. The fact is that our great state is currently the most high-tech and forward-looking it’s ever been, and we remain committed to taking every action we can to continue this advancement.

As with any co-op, we recognize that the needs of our members are constantly changing. Because of this, we must remain dynamic to adapt to these changes, while keeping our core values in check.

In the past decade alone, we’ve accomplished an incredible amount to empower our members, and our communities, to live their most connected lives.

We began, and completed, construction on the historic AlCan ONE all-terrestrial fiber line, which establishes a secure connection to the lower 48 and beyond for decades to come. We unveiled an innovative line of products, such as totalWiFi and MTA Shield, to continue elevating the online experience while keeping our members safe. We officially cut the cord on traditional cable TV, ushering our members into a future full of unending possibilities with streaming. We tapped into new markets by introducing extraordinary solutions for residential, business, enterprise and wholesale customers. We even refreshed our brand to reflect our unwavering commitment to innovation.

But as we reflect on all of this success, we owe it to each and every one of our members for helping to shape us into who we are today. Because of you, our co-op truly embodies what it means to work together to rebuild – and we promise you that this will never change.

Here’s to another 68 years (and then some!) working as a unified team to help Alaska continue to evolve.

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News & Alerts

MTA Headquarters Receives Green Star® Award for Environmentally-Friendly Achievements

Palmer, Alaska – February 26, 2019 – MTA, Alaska’s premier technology company, announced that its Palmer-based headquarters is the recipient of a Green Star® award from the Alaska Forum on the Environment, highlighting the company’s active leadership in and longstanding commitment to waste reduction, energy conservation and pollution prevention within the workplace.

MTA’s achievements include:

  • Recycling more than 120 tons of wire, set top boxes, electronics, remotes and computers per year
  • Recycling more than 40,000 cardboard boxes per year
  • Recycling more than 25,000 phone books per year
  • Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 431.1 to 327.8 tons per quarter, equal to a 24% reduction in emissions

In addition to benefiting the environment, MTA’s efforts have saved more than $50,000 in disposal costs and received close to $250,000 in revenue through recycling efforts.

“There are few commitments that MTA takes more seriously than our commitment to the environment and making the world a cleaner and safer place for our generation, as well as future ones down the road,” said Michael Burke, CEO of MTA. “We aim to set an example for our members and local communities to be stewards of the environment, and we hope that receiving this recognition from Green Star® will shine a brighter light on the types of positive environmental practices that will make Alaska and our planet a better place.”

MTA was one of 10 businesses to receive this award at the 2019 Alaska Forum on the Environment, which took place on February 14. Green Star®, Alaska’s only pollution prevention program, aims to reduce or eliminate the volume and toxicity of materials, pollutants or wastes at the source so they never become waste in the first place. In order to achieve Green Star® recognition, companies and organizations must actively address and fully commit to environmental standards developed by the Alaska Forum related to solid waste, hazardous waste, recyclable material and waste water.

MTA: Life. Technology. Together.

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News & Alerts Wholesale

Planting the Seeds of Alaska’s Connected Future

May 26, 2020
By: Michael Burke, MTA CEO

Today, MTA Fiber Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MTA, completed construction and officially commissioned AlCan ONE (Alaska Canada Overland Network), the first and only all-terrestrial fiber network connecting Alaska to the contiguous United States and beyond. 

AlCan ONE began construction in spring 2019, and with its completion, it establishes a secure, reliable fiber connection to any point in the contiguous United States. The line runs nearly 300 miles from North Pole, Alaska, to the Canadian border. From there, it connects with Canadian internet carriers, extending MTA’s existing network through Canada and on to major hubs in the Lower 48.

As our game-changing AlCan ONE fiber network comes to life today, our role in growing Alaska’s internet capacity digs even deeper into Alaska’s internet landscape.

Telecom Leaders Can Learn from Landscape Architects

When landscape architects start out looking at a plot of land, they have vision. They’ll consider and plan for the space, and then they’ll dig in, planting and designing a future, with a scenic oasis emerging over the years. In the early days of a garden or landscaped space, it’s hard to see what seeds or the tiniest of sprouts will become. But, where the average person might not see potential, landscape architects have vision. They trust their talents, knowing there’ll be a beautiful landscape that will grow up and into the space.

All of us at MTA work in telecommunications, but, in a way, we’re also like landscape architects. We have technological vision. In building the AlCan ONE network, we are laying the groundwork to meet our communities’ needs for today, while ensuring we meet internet demand and help Alaska’s economy, businesses and people grow and thrive in the future. We trust our digital capabilities and know what’s to come: better, stronger connections to each other, powered by the network we’ve designed and constructed.

For our members – as well as Alaskans across the state – AlCan ONE’s completion today means you’ll now benefit from a robust internet transport connection. And, as our state grows and demand for internet capacity increases, the network’s capabilities will scale, with potential to expand in capacity to more than 100 terabits per second.

The successful commissioning of AlCan ONE is not just a win for MTA – it is a win for all of the people and businesses of Alaska. We could not have completed this groundbreaking project without the help of other telecom carriers, communities, businesses and legislators who helped make this possible, and we’re confident that the benefits of this highly successful project will be felt by all.

We look forward to developing partnerships with telecommunications organizations across the state to plant even more seeds for the success of Alaska’s internet future and to further maximize the value of AlCan ONE for all Alaskans.

[For photos of the AlCan ONE project in process and more information on MTA Fiber Holdings, LLC, please visit: www.mtafiber.com.]

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News & Alerts

BMMA Announces Winners of 2021 Best in Class Marketing Awards

Shielded Network

MTA Shield was launched through a partnership between MTA and F-Secure, and was successfully rolled out in a tight three-month timeframe thanks to extensive research and the teams’ mutual dedication to educating and empowering customers. The two companies launched MTA Home Shield (secure router), MTA Mobile Shield (endpoint protection) and MTA Identity Shield (identity protection/password manager) with single-sign-on (SSO) implemented across all three products using MTA’s existing myMTA account structure. The partnership has continued through internal and external campaigns, agent training, agent events, and more.

“Thanks to F-Secure’s thorough efforts, comprehensive project plan and dedicated launch team, we were able to keep to the launch timeline as planned and successfully roll out this vital product to our members,” said Jonathan Babbitt, MTA’s V.P. of Product Management, Marketing and Sales.

While MTA Shield has only been available for a few months, its initial success and impact is significant. A good portion of the success so far is directly attributable to two major launch activities: the first being the research that MTA performed at the beginning of the project, which helped to ensure the product met the needs of the Alaska market in everything from pricing to the product’s names; the second major activity focused on training. MTA’s agents know why cybersecurity is important, both at home and on the go, and they’ve been able to educate customers while identifying the best product bundle for each family’s lifestyle. This combination of research and training has allowed MTA to be extremely successful with the new MTA Shield suite of products.

MTA Shield ensures members’ devices are safe and secure, and that their personal data is not at risk; this is invaluable in today’s world. Understanding the importance of this, MTA decided to make MTA Shield free to all its employees. F-Secure, aware of the impact that it would have on sales and support experience as well as word-of-mouth, fully supported the effort. This effort will continue to ensure that MTA employees continue to grow as champions of all three products.

“MTA’s focus on understanding their members needs and informing their agents have helped make this launch a huge success,” said Brian Murray, F-Secure’s Regional Vice President for North America, Operator Sales. “The solutions in this suite combine to provide MTA members the power to easily secure their families at home, and anywhere they go. We’re proud to join with MTA in accepting this award, and we’re even prouder to help give their members the freedom that comes from being in control of all your information security.”

About the BMMA

The BMMA is an international organization dedicated to helping Telco internet service providers and their vendors advance the adoption and use of broadband services. Our membership includes many of the key Telco and broadband vendor organizations in North America and is open to any broadband industry Telco service provider, vendor, CPE manufacturer, government agency, consultant, analyst, or other party with a demonstrated interest in promoting the mission of the BMMA. Our goal is to advance the adoption and use of broadband services by identifying key industry success factors and sharing best practice marketing initiatives, new product and customer trends and other relevant industry information.

Please see our website at http://www.BMMA.org for more information or to apply for membership in the BMMA.

Executive Director: ResearchFirst, Inc. (http://www.researchfirst.com)”

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News & Alerts Service Offerings

MTA Announces MTA Shield to Provide Device and WiFi Security for Members

The new suite of three apps provides device protection and puts members in charge of their information security

Palmer, Alaska – August 18, 2020 – MTA, Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications products, has announced the release of MTA Shield, a suite of three apps that puts members in charge of their WiFi and protects their devices.

MTA Shield provides unique privacy features to keep members’ data private both at home and on the go, a variety of user management tools, as well as identity protection features. When combined with MTA’s totalWiFi package, members will have greater peace of mind than ever before when it comes to their data security and privacy.

The three apps that create MTA Shield complement and strengthen each other:

Shield Home

MTA Home Shield works with MTA’s totalWiFi gateway and provides advanced transparency and protection for members’ entire WiFi network. In addition to preventing attacks on WiFi devices, it also offers content filtering, device and user management. It also provides the ability to set rules, such as screen time limits and pausing WiFi access during certain times for all or specific devices.

Mobile Shield

MTA Mobile Shield can be used at home and on the go. Downloaded directly to members’ mobile devices, it performs virus and malware scans and offers tools for safe browsing.

Identity Shield

MTA Identity Shield prevents members’ personal information from ending up in the wrong places by detecting when their identity information is at risk and helping them take action. It also helps members create and store stronger passwords.

Following cybersecurity classes MTA offered to members, the co-op created MTA Shield as an advanced cybersecurity tool that is easy and reliable for members to use.

“We’re constantly trying to better understand our members, their lifestyles and challenges, and create meaningful solutions to empower them to live more connected lives, and we know that the internet and our members’ connected devices can be vulnerable to forces outside of their control,” said Michael Burke, MTA’s CEO. “MTA prides itself on being a compassionate co-op, and believes it is our responsibility to talk about the real need for data security and privacy and provide our members a solution. As a leading technology provider in the fast-growing state of Alaska, we always strive to meet our customers changing needs, we are proud to offer these important privacy tools to ensure they can keep their data secure and WiFi manageable.”

In creating the MTA Shield suite, MTA teamed up with global cybersecurity leader F-Secure, which works with top channel partners and over 200 service providers to ensure the enterprise-level security of businesses throughout the world.

“The undeniable benefits that come from connecting more and more of our lives unfortunately can put our home networks, our devices, and even our identities at risk,” said Brian Murray, F-Secure’s Regional Head of Consumer Security for North America. “Securing against these risks needs to be as painless and practical as connecting a new device. The solutions in this suite combine to provide MTA members the power to easily secure their families at home, and anywhere they go.”

About MTA
Established in 1953 as a 100 percent locally-owned and operated Alaskan cooperative, MTA is Alaska’s best choice for technology and communications products. As a key player in the economy of Southcentral Alaska, MTA provides residential and business technology solutions to empower member-owners and patrons to live a connected life. Today, MTA remains as one of the largest technology co-ops in the U.S. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook.

About F-Secure
Nobody has better visibility into real-life cyber attacks than F-Secure. We’re closing the gap between detection and response, utilizing the unmatched threat intelligence of hundreds of our industry’s best technical consultants, millions of devices running our award-winning software, and ceaseless innovations in artificial intelligence. Top banks, airlines, and enterprises trust our commitment to beating the world’s most potent threats. Together with our network of the top channel partners and over 200 service providers, we’re on a mission to make sure everyone has the enterprise-grade cyber security we all need. For more information, visit www.f-secure.com.

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News & Alerts Service Offerings

From Student to Specialist: An Alaskan Tech Journey Leads to MTA Shield

By: Zak Wolf, Product Specialist

As a young high school graduate in Alaska, I always foresaw myself in a career utilizing technology to develop and bring new products and services to life. Today, I am fortunate to work for one of the state’s technology leaders, leading a team through the development of innovative software that would help make life better and safer for thousands of local individuals, families and businesses.

But through MTA, that dream has become a reality not just for me but for its members.

My journey started at Mat-Su Career & Technical High School, which was made up of students who truly wanted to excel at a trade. I chose “Information Technology” as my pathway, and studied topics ranging from 3D modeling and engineering to AutoCAD drafting and electronics. The students all strived for the same thing – a focused career in their field of choosing following graduation.

Before long, I was beginning that career at MTA, working my way through roles in tech support and sales (where I honed skills in product and technical acumen as well as documentation) before eventually being offered a role in product development. I was thrilled to have this opportunity and take on more responsibility and creativity at MTA; starting with process design and improvement before slowly taking on MTA’s business voice solutions.

In this role is where I was given the most responsibility to date: taking on my first full-cycle development project: MTA Shield. For background as to why and how MTA Shield came to fruition, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the context of MTA and the world more broadly.

It’s estimated that data breaches exposed over 4 million private records in the first half of 2019 alone, making it increasingly clear that the need for safe and secure access to internet is at an all-time high.

MTA doesn’t just provide access to internet and technology – we see it as one of our core priorities to keep the members of our co-op safe with solutions that they can trust, and also ones that are easy to manage.

As our members’ usage continued increasing year over year, MTA launched Unlimited Internet at the end of 2016, while the remaining issue of long-term capacity was solved by the recent completion of AlCan ONE, which connected Alaska to the lower 48. Between the roll-out of Unlimited Internet and the rise in connected devices (which were now more manageable through MTA’s totalWiFi™), it was clear that there was more that needed to be done to keep things secure on the micro level.

We started by hosting a series of cybersecurity classes, and we realized how great their interest – and concern – was. Thus, the idea for MTA Shield was born. This is a project that’s been many months in the making and one that’s required a great deal of communication and vigilance both internally between our development, security and executive teams and with members.

On a personal level, the MTA Shield development and roll-out put me in charge of a variety of vital tasks that I’d been preparing for throughout my education and career: vendor selection, packaging, pricing, branding, employee training, sales enablement and ultimately, market launch.

To make this project a reality, our team decided to partner with Finnish cyber security and privacy company F-Secure to help us create a detailed project plan to keep us on track and get the job done. Based on their credentials and reputation, we knew they would be the right ones to ensure our members were as secure as possible.

Now, we are excited to finally roll-out MTA Shield itself: a new suite of three apps that provide total device protection. These apps work in conjunction with each other and allow our members to take charge of their network security.

MTA Home Shield works with our totalWiFi gateway and provides advanced transparency and protection for your entire WiFi network. In addition to preventing attacks on WiFi devices, it also offers content filtering, device and user management; and provides the ability to set rules, such as screen time limits and pausing WiFi access during certain times for all or specific devices.

MTA Mobile Shield can be used at home and on the go. Downloaded directly to your mobile devices, it performs virus and malware scans and offers tools for safe browsing.

MTA Identity Shield prevents your personal information from ending up in the wrong places by detecting when your identity information is at risk and helping them take action. It also helps our members create and store stronger passwords.

Our product team has been proud to take an outside-in approach to this development and every other type of problem-solving by getting out of the office to better understand our members. By observing their lifestyles and challenges, we’re able to create meaningful solutions to empower them to live more connected lives.

Throughout this test of my skills, organization and leadership, I learned many things. Most notable was the importance of internal and external communication when there are so many moving parts (especially now, with much of the team working remotely); I can’t stress enough how vital keeping in touch with your team is throughout major projects. Additionally, having a detailed project plan with key milestones and deadlines is crucial.

  • There were so many firsts for me during the creation of MTA Shield, and it’s helped me bolster my understanding of not only starting a project like this from the ground up, but also the vigilance that is required to be successful in doing so. It’s been exhilarating to see MTA Shield come to fruition, and I’m so excited to continue working with the MTA team moving forward to create more innovative products that empower our members and build better realities for them.

Now that I’ve found myself in the role that I was so determined to achieve all the way back in high school, I’ve been proud to help empower future generations of tech leaders as well. I recently visited Mat-Su Career & Technical High School with fiber kit demos and other projects that I hope will inspire young students to follow their dreams and make them a reality.

(For more information about MTA Shield, visit https://www.mtasolutions.com/mta-announces-mta-shield/.)

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News & Alerts

On MTA’s decision to exit the Fixed Wireless business

Published in the Frontiersman, Sunday, February 25, 2018.

MTA is keeping pace with the evolving communications industry. From humble beginnings in 1953 as a rural cooperative, MTA has sought to serve as many Alaskans as possible and thrive throughout a time packed full of technological advances.

That same philosophy holds true in today’s technology-driven marketplace. The wireless industry is highly competitive and changing rapidly, requiring a tremendous amount of continual infrastructure investment. After a thorough review, MTA made the decision to exit the wireless market. MTA must use its resources wisely and resist the temptation to provide service to a small segment of the population at a tremendous cost to the majority of member-owners. Our business decisions must represent the entire base of our member’s interests.

On the heels of this decision, came the decision to end our Fixed Wireless service to a remote section of the Susitna Basin. This service is an out-of-date technology that is failing at an increasing rate. It was delivered by the wireless spectrum and tower infrastructure that MTA owned while operating as a wireless carrier. Recently, MTA sold its towers and spectrum as a result of exiting the competitive wireless arena.

Some question if the decision to end Fixed Wireless service to remote customers is counter to the cooperative spirit. In reality, the cooperative model requires organizations like MTA to make business decisions that are beneficial to the entire member base, such as exiting the wireless business. All of MTA’s decisions are grounded in our mission to be Alaska’s leading broadband technology company, to dedicate resources necessary to preserve the cooperative and pioneer critical economic development opportunities for the community.

Today’s wireless carriers and satellite communications companies specialize in delivering voice and internet service to the most remote locations. MTA’s research confirmed that satellite service is available to virtually all customers currently receiving Fixed Wireless service. In the alternative, Fixed Wireless customers can install an antenna comparable to the existing Fixed Wireless antenna to facilitate delivery of superior LTE wireless service to their homes.

MTA is a vibrant cooperative. The decision to exit the fixed wireless business was difficult, but necessary to preserve the resources of the remaining 99% of the cooperative. MTA has provided financial and technical assistance to affected customers to ease the transition.

This information will provide MTA Fixed Wireless customers with potential alternative solutions. Learn more.

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News & Alerts

Alert To MTA Members | Email Scam Claiming To Be From MTA

Did you get an email asking you to update your MTA payment method? It wasn’t from us. Some customers have reported a fake email attempting to appear to be from “MTA Customer Service.” This phishing scam prompts individuals to update their payment information on a landing page that appears to be myMTA, but is not hosted or affiliated with MTA in any way.

Keep an eye out for suspicious-looking texts or emails requesting updated account info, updated payment details or posing as MTA customer service. If any come your way, please delete them and do not follow any links. You can also report them to the FTC here. Below is some information on what you should do if you receive an email like this and tips to help keep your online information safe.

Tips for recognizing spam or malicious emails.
  • Company logos appear distorted.
  • Your name isn’t used. Instead generic verbiage like “attention customer” or “dear sir” is used as the email greeting.
  • The origination email is not the company address (i.e. official MTA communications will only include addresses ending in @mtaonline.net; @mtasolutions.com or @mta-telco.com).
  • Grammar is very poor and words are often spelled incorrectly.
  • The requests for information come suddenly without reason.
  • MTA will never ask for personal information via text or email.
  • If there is a link in the email – hover over it to see what the actual landing page is.
  • If the landing page is not my.mtasolutions.com – it is not our customer portal.
What should I do if I clicked a link or provided personal information?
  • Reset your myMTA password to a new one that is strong and unique to that account.
  • Change any other account password that used similar credentials (email and password).
  • Contact your bank if you shared any payment information as it might have been compromised.
Safety tips to help keep your online information safe.

Never open an attachment or click any links in a suspicious looking email – delete it.

When in doubt if an email or request is legitimate, contact our support team directly at 745-6821. They are available 24/7/365.

The undeniable benefits that come from connecting more and more of our lives unfortunately can put our home networks, our devices, and even our identities at risk – this is why we created MTA Shield. MTA Shield provides unique privacy features to keep members’ data private both at home and on the go, a variety of user management tools, as well as identity protection features. When combined with MTA’s totalWiFi package, members will have greater peace of mind than ever before when it comes to their data security and privacy. Learn more here.

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News & Alerts

A New Look for MTA, Inspired by You

By Kerry Youngren, Marketing Manager

As the leading technology provider in Alaska, we know our work is constantly evolving – and never done. Whether it’s completing large-scale network upgrades that will connect Alaskans for generations, or taking the lead during times of crisis, MTA has been committed to serving the communities we live in for nearly 70 years.

MTA has come a long way from our founding in 1953. And we know what’s to come: better, stronger connections to each other, powered by the network we’ve designed and constructed for the areas we serve. That area has also grown, with Alaska being more high-tech and forward-looking than ever before.

As we advance with our community, we want to make it clear that this progression is inspired solely by you, our members, and your needs. This path toward the future is represented in a recent modernization to MTA’s look-and-feel and the launch of our new website that we are proud to share with you.

Our members are not static, and as we develop new solutions and enter new markets, the way we present our brand must constantly adapt to our ever-evolving audience while staying true to our Alaskan roots.

Different from a rebrand, these enhancements are designed to breathe life into what is already there. And all of this is more than just a new mix of colors, fonts, and a website. Our goal with this launch is to modernize and unify our brand, while staying true to our mission. It includes better online communication and introduces unique, meaningful experiences for residential, business, enterprise, and wholesale customers.

But before we decided on the new brand direction, we did our homework. (Being MTA, would you expect anything less?) This included research within our service area as well as taking a close look at the core values of MTA as a brand and where we’ve been.

Where we’ve been:
Where we’re going:

Right now, we are truly entering a new era for MTA: we completed the historic AlCan ONE all-terrestrial fiber line, which will provide a secure connection to the lower 48 and beyond for decades; we’ve cut the cord on traditional TV and ushered our members to a streaming lifestyle; we’ve expanded into new markets with the introduction of unique, meaningful experiences for residential, business, enterprise and wholesale customers; and we’re delivering an elevated online experience with new products like totalWiFi and MTA Shield.

In short, it’s the perfect time to revamp our identity. There’s new energy and focus from the Alaskan tech and business community and our products and services lead the charge in enabling this exploration. Our brand refresh visually symbolizes our commitment to innovate.

Of course, we could not have done this work alone. We worked alongside our creative partner Alopex, a Palmer-based agency that is leading the way for web development and design in the state. 

Alopex is one of many innovative and outstanding companies that have sprouted up in Alaska as of late; with more and more businesses launching in the Palmer area, Alaska’s tech future is bright and we are eager to work alongside them – and be inspired by them – in years to come.

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News & Alerts

MTA Unveils New Location at Shoppes at Sun Mountain

Last year, we proudly announced that MTA would become the preferred technology provider of Wasilla’s Shoppes at Sun Mountain, powering the premier shopping destination with advanced, high-speed internet connectivity using MTA’s totalWiFi.

If that wasn’t enough, we were also thrilled to announce that a new, 6,000 sq. ft. MTA space would be a part of the Shoppes. And now, it’s finally time to unveil this home for our members and the Wasilla community alike.

So how will we use this brand-new space, which was brilliantly designed by the Native-owned and 100% women-owned SALT?

First and foremost, this location will serve as our “Wasilla hub” and features a call center office for our staff.  But it will also be fully equipped with an experiential multi-use area that will benefit members, partners and the community with interactive, high-tech features such as demonstrations of our streaming TV, home networking, and cybersecurity products.

Additionally, it will be available for members to use as a high-tech meeting space for area businesses, with an advanced presentation setup, and of course, fast and reliable connectivity. And in the weeks ahead, it will serve as the “mission control” of our 2020 (virtual) MTA Gaming Tournament, and will serve as a similar home for future gaming expos.

Closing the digital divide and deepening connections between education and technology are obviously quite important to us. Because of this, our new space will be a home for a variety of community education opportunities and workshops in the future.

We’re beyond thrilled to open this new location at the Shoppes at Sun Mountain. Empowering our members and the Alaskan community as a whole to live more connected lives is at our core, and we believe this new space achieves just that. Our hope for the future of this space is for our local Alaskan community to experience MTA in a whole new, vibrant light.

We will see you there!