Co-op Month Article – October, 2016

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is joining together with 30,000 other cooperatives nationwide in October to celebrate National Cooperative Month, which recognizes the many ways cooperatives help to build stronger communities and a strong economy.  “Cooperatives Build” is the theme for this year’s celebration, spotlighting the many advantages cooperatives offer to their members and the communities in which they live and work.

“Cooperatives are motivated to serve their members, not outside investors.  At a time when our economy continues to struggle, it is important to remember that tens of thousands of cooperatively owned businesses focus on their members, not just profit.  It’s a critical part of what drives our actions, making us a more integral part of the communities we serve.  Community is not just where we work, it’s why we work,” said Richard Ruhl, General Manager.

As a “Partner in Progress with the customers, communities and members we serve”, Pioneer is committed to giving back to those we serve.

The sound financial condition of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative is reflected in the amount of patronage capital returned to the membership in 2015.  A patronage capital credit payment of approximately $8.1 million was made to the membership in 2015.  During the year 2015, Pioneer also paid approximately $1.4 million on the estates of deceased subscriber/members.  Together these two (2) patronage distributions total about $9.5 million in patronage cash returned to the membership in 2015.

Since 1976, Pioneer has returned over $28 million in patronage capital on estates to our membership.  Inclusive of last year’s payments, Pioneer Telephone will have paid a grand total of approximately $72 million in general membership and estate patronage capital cash payments to the Cooperative membership.

In this age of increasing cost for higher education, Pioneer continues its commitment to students through its College and Technology Scholarship Program, with more than $916,927.27 paid in scholarships since the program’s inception in 1991.

As more and more customers embrace the higher data speeds offered through the Pioneer landline broadband and wireless networks, the upgrade and expansion of our network infrastructure continues at an unprecedented pace. In 2015, Pioneer and its subsidiary companies invested approximately $40 million to construct, upgrade and expand our networks, products and services to our customers. These capital expenditures will be used to expand and maximize the efficiencies in our existing broadband infrastructure; further our evolution to the next generation of Internet Protocol (I.P.) networks; expand our 4G LTE Wireless Core network; and, strengthen our spectrum assets for the evolution to a future 5G network.

The Pioneer Board of Trustees and Executive Management recognize the severity of the trends and the significant Regulatory changes underway in the telecommunications industry, particularly the challenges and changes our business will face under the F.C.C. Universal Service—Connect America Fund and Transformational Order. As the Pioneer Board of Trustees and the Executive Management Team face these ongoing challenges, they understand the importance of implementing a strong strategic plan, coupled with an aggressive products and services project management team.  An aggressive strategic plan is needed to prioritize revenue enhancements, cost efficiencies and validate the opportunities to expand our service areas and service offerings in order to strengthen our current and future revenue streams.  With total assets in excess of $326 Million, no outstanding debt, and adequate cash reserves, Pioneer is well positioned to take your Telephone Cooperative into the future.

The success of any organization, like Pioneer, would not be possible without the strong dedication, talent and skill of its employees.  Pioneer will continue to deliver on their mission of “Taking You Forward” as “Partners in Progress” with the customers, communities and members they serve.

About Pioneer Telephone   

Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc., an industry leader in rural telecommunications services, is a multi-service telecommunications corporation providing communications products and services to more than 150,000 subscribers/customers in communities encompassing 42 counties in Western and Southern Oklahoma, as well as, 14 counties in Southern Kansas.  Pioneer provides an array of telecommunications products and services, including Local Telephone Service, Ethernet Transport Service (ETS), High-Speed Internet, Digital TV, Cellular, Long Distance, Wireless Broadband, Security Systems, Business Solutions and Yellow Pages Advertisement. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.  For more information about Pioneer, please call 1.888.782.2667 or visit our website, www.ptci.com.