About the Cooperative
Welcome to Citizens, a regional full-service communications and entertainment provider serving 7 counties within Southwest Virginia. Headquartered in Floyd, Virginia, Citizens is a membership cooperative with roots tracing back to 1914 when landline telephone was established in rural Floyd County. Thus credit is given to the lineage in the company name — Citizens.
With more than 100 years of innovation behind us, we’ve withstood the test of time and have experience that you can rely on. Citizens remains a Membership Cooperative — owned by members who are also our customers. Today, Citizens provides VoIP (digital phone service), IPTV, web and email hosting, DSL, and FTTP (Fiber to the Premise) services as well as Business Ethernet and FTTH (Fiber to the Home).
Citizens not only embraces new technology, we help local families and businesses understand and use it to their benefit. We recognize our role in providing the foundation, the network.
As we continue to expand into surrounding communities, our commitment to provide the latest in communication technologies remains the same. It is our mission to provide our customers with quality service, excellent support and advanced technology. We have a dedication to customer service that is hard to beat and a commitment to technology.
Business Development Opportunities
In addition, Citizens operates a 248 mile regional open access fiber network in 6 Virginia counties including 8 industrial parks. Along this network, Citizens provides wholesale transport and Internet bandwidth to a variety of service providers. Citizens is partnering with other open access networks in Virginia like Mid Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) and Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) to provide high-capacity optical transport services that are necessary to assist in the economic revitalization efforts of Southwest and Southside Virginia.
Citizens’ roots can be traced as far back as 1914, when official record keeping began, to Citizens Mutual. At the time there were already landlines established, covering many areas of the region. Each line had a private individual owner and anyone wishing to connect to that line had to make personal arrangements. The owner then in turn paid for a connection to a switchboard and for the operator. As you can imagine, service suffered when the line extended great distances with few to share the operating and maintenance costs. A desire to overcome that lack of service quality drove the “citizens” of the community to create their own company to uniformly manage and operate a telephone system. “Citizens” was the way the founders of the new company described themselves. As we move into the future, our true role will always be service. Our distinguishing feature as a cooperative is quality and consistent day-to-day care for our members. As a technology company, we remain dedicated to providing new and wider-ranging services to our members.
In the mid 90’s (1994-95) Citizens launched Internet service connecting rural areas to the world. This venture drove the company into a newly constructed 22,800 square foot state-of-the-art communication facility that stands as the headquarters for the Coop today – 220 Webbs Mill Road, Floyd, VA.
In order to economically justify the expansion into neighboring communities with broadband offering, Citizens successfully negotiated the purchase of the cable television system from Time Warner Cable Entertainment in 2004. Through the company’s subsidiary, Citizens Cablevision, Citizens upgraded the Fort Chiswell Cable system in Carroll and Wythe Counties, acquired the Floyd cable system, and the New Castle system in Craig County. Citizens Cablevision also has a franchise for the Meadows of Dan exchange in Patrick County.
Citizens maintains three fiber routes existing? in its Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) system. This allows multiple routing opportunities for redundancy and offers opportunities to connect to multiple networks to complete transmission paths over several states. Within the system, multiple fiber ring technologies exist to provide redundant quality service to just about any location in the service area.
To ensure technology for future generations, Citizens began construction in 2012 to expand its existing open-access fiber network in rural Virginia, making affordable, high-speed broadband service a reality for under-served and unserved areas.
This project meets the need of many community anchor institutions in the New River Valley region of Virginia who report being unable to access high-speed, affordable broadband services. The project, New River Valley – Regional Open Access Network or NRV-ROAN, is an $11.5 million dollar endeavor to construct 186 miles of middle mile fiber with access in remote communities, which include Wythe, Pulaski, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke and Botetourt, with the purpose of providing access for economic development, research, education, emergency response, and health care. The grant proposal was a collaboration between Citizens and the New River Valley Network Wireless Authority (NRVNWA).
Slated for completion in July 2013, NRV-ROAN will allow wireless and other internet service providers to offer services to areas where service was previously unavailable; or areas that were determined to be economically infeasible.
Clearly, broadband has changed how we live, work, and learn. Through the strong leadership and strategic planning of the Board of Directors and Management Team, Citizens is positioned to continue as a leading-edge technology provider, bringing it all together for the residents of Floyd County and beyond.
Board of Directors