What is a Cooperative?

Cooperatives are founded on unique and proven business values that put people before profits. These core values include honesty, openness, democracy, and social responsibilities.
As a customer of a cooperative, you become an owner, too. The cooperative business philosophy opens the door of opportunity to all members to an active role in the business. Cooperatives allow you to voice your concerns at annual meetings and to run for the board of directors. The “one member, one vote” philosophy gives all members an equal voice.

Cooperatives are organized for many reasons, including:

  • to provide services that private investor-owned companies may not find profitable enough.
  • to provide a measure of competition.
  • to reduce purchasing costs through volume buying.
Profits are returned to co-op members on their level of business volume. For this reason, co-op dividends and patronage refunds return dollars to local communities.

Many cooperatives are consumer-owned, providing their members with a wide range of goods or services such as health care, utilities, housing, and hardware. These co-ops include rural electric and telecommunications cooperatives and credit unions.


Capital credits

Did you know that as a member of a cooperative you are part owner? That’s right, and you automatically become a member or part owner when you subscribe to our telephone service in the seven exchanges that we serve.
As a part owner in a telephone cooperative, you are entitled to benefits that are not available to customers of private or big name telephone companies. These benefits include:

  • You elect each representative on the Board of Directors. Their role is to ensure the cooperative provides the highest quality, best value and latest technologies for you and protect your investment.
  • Any net profit is allocated back to members in the form of capital credits. Your percentage is tied directly to what you’ve invested – in other words, patronage.
  • You can be sure that we aren’t out to make a profit, but rather invest in our communities including members, businesses and schools that depend on the latest technologies to remain competitive.
    In order to operate the business, capital credits remain with the cooperative for a certain amount of time before they are retired, or returned, to members in the form of capital credit checks.

If you do move to an area outside of our service area, your membership status is cancelled, and any capital credits earned will remain with the cooperative until they are retired. It is the former member’s responsibility to notify us of any address changes.



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