Sapp Announces Retirement at Citizens’ Annual Meeting

The 2022 Annual Meeting of Citizens Telephone Cooperative was held on Saturday, October 15th, at the Citizens’ office on Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Over 160 members were in attendance for the meeting announcing new milestones for the company.

Members were greeted by Citizens employees and received member gifts. Attendees had the opportunity to see first-hand and learn about the company’s new IPTV product, SFN TV Now. Central Office Technician Jay Conner conducted an educational demonstration of the new TV platform for the attendees prior to the meeting. “We are here for our customers each step of the way as we transition from and close down our digital TV headend to the new SFN TV Now IPTV platform,” stated Conner.

Citizens CEO and General Manager, Greg Sapp began the meeting with a welcome to members for the second Annual Meeting held in Citizens’ multipurpose shelter which comfortably accommodated those in attendance. President Wesley Goff opened the meeting, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and gave the President’s Report. Secretary Shelby Quesenberry read the minutes from the last meeting and Director Jonathan Vest presented the re-election of Board members Kevin Hubbard (Ballard exchange), Daniel Grim (Floyd exchange), and Rhonda Turpin (Willis exchange).

Mr. Sapp returned to the podium to report on the Cooperative’s progress of the ACAM Fiber to the Home project. To date, only 27% of the project construction remains. When complete in 2023, Floyd County will be 100% covered with fiber optic Internet technology for current and future technology needs. Sapp also shared that through partial funding from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative
(VATI) Citizens can now serve residents in Copper Hill with Gigabit (1Gbps) Internet. In conjunction with DSL to Fiber Internet conversions, Sapp reported that in just the last few months Citizens has connected over 600 customers with the new SFN TV Now IPTV platform. The new TV technology reportedly saves customers from paying additional on their monthly TV package for HD, PVR services, and set-top boxes.

Lastly in Sapp’s report, he announced that he would be retiring from Citizens Telephone Cooperative in November of 2022 after 29 years and that the Cooperative will be in good hands with newly selected Donna Hylton Smith as Citizens’ new General Manager. He thanked everyone for the opportunities over the years and for allowing him to serve them.

Smith is a Virginia Tech graduate and Floyd county resident whose family has generational roots in the company. Smith’s grandfather, Maynard Hylton, was Plant Manager at the time of his retirement in 1979. Smith’s father, Donald Hylton, was a contractor for the company prior to his retirement. Donna has been at Citizens for 21 years. In Smith’s statement, she commented “It is an honor to be selected for this position and continue the work started generations ago. I am excited to continue to serve the community where I was raised and now have my own family. Greg leaves big shoes to fill but with our team of dedicated employees, we will strive to make him proud and continue to bring our customers the best service around. Thank you, Greg, for your leadership. Thank you, Directors, for your support and confidence in me.” Donna resides in Floyd with her husband, Danny Smith, and children Jacob and Emma.

Traditions of the annual meeting continued with door prize drawings for members. Prizes awarded were: a Dewalt tool set, a Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum, a 13-piece cookware set, a smart clock, Armor All Car Kit, a 10” Fire HD tablet, a portable air compressor, and a 50” Roku TV. The meeting was followed by a catered meal by Blue Ridge Diner of Floyd.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on the third Saturday of October 2023.

"FLOYD — This rural community, known for its beautiful upland landscapes and progressive attitudes, just got its first publicly accessible electric vehicle charging station.

Citizens Telephone Cooperative announced July 6 the modest yet notable arrival of a new era at its Webbs Mill Road office with the installation of a ‘CitiZap’ 240-volt charger with two outlets."

Read the full article at The Roanoke Times >>

Citizens Offers Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging to the Public

Citizens Telephone Cooperative (aka Citizens) prides itself on being a leader in technology. The Cooperative has one more year of construction in its fiber-to-the-home project deploying fiber optics throughout Floyd County. This project is making Gigabit (1Gbps) Internet available throughout the rural community. As a technology leader, the company added an electric car to the vehicle fleet. “A 2021 Chevy Bolt that never needs gas and never needs an oil change,” stated Greg Sapp, the General Manager of Citizens. “The Bolt has a range of around 259 miles making it a perfect choice for use in and around the New River Valley.” continued Sapp.

This is a totally different type of vehicle for the company and it is where the industry is headed. How would a company use such a vehicle? The WAN team takes it to work on equipment at a colocation site, Central Office can drive to work at a remote site, and our Business Development uses it to meet with commercial customers across our service territories.

EV 1

As more electric vehicles are passing through the Town daily, Citizens has installed an EV Charging Station calling it “CitiZap”. As with any new technology, there is a learning curve. There are multiple types of charging stations. Citizens installed a Level 2 Fast Charging Station with an SAE J1772 plug. This type of charging station will fully charge a battery such as in the Chevy Bolt in about 6 to 8 hours. It’s a 240-volt charger (like a clothes dryer connection) and yields roughly 25 miles per hour of charge.

“We want to make charging easy for our customers and guests in our area,” said WAN Technician, Dean Wood. The company’s charging station has two plugs. The EV, CitiZap, charging station has a QR Code on each charging plug. The customer will download the EvGateway App from Google Play or Apple App Store and scan or swipe an RFID to connect, charge, and pay for the EV charge at 20 cents per kWh.

Citizens held an unveiling on July 1, 2022, making the unit available for public use during the Independence Day holiday. Citizens is now listed on plugshare.com, chargehub.com, and other sites when searching online for an EV charging station.

For more information, visit www.citizens.coop or call 540.745.2111. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County and surrounding communities for over 100 years. Citizens Business Solutions include customized hosted phone and symmetrical Ethernet offerings. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Lobby hours are 8 am-6 pm Monday - Friday; 9 am - 1 pm on Saturday.

CitiZap Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Mandatory 10-Digit Dialing to Begin on May 14, 2022
for Customers with the Virginia 540 Area Code

All customers with the 540 area code should prepare for the start of 10-digit dialing and the introduction of the new 826 area code.

The 826 area code will be added as an overlay to the 540 region. An overlay is the addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region
served by an existing area code (540). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, but does require customers to dial the area code to complete local calls.

Beginning May 14, 2022, all local calls made within the VA 540 area code must be placed using 10 digits (area code + the 7-digit telephone number). On and after this date, calls placed using just 7 digits will not be completed.

Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 826 area code.

The key facts for consumers to know about the upcoming VA 540/826 area code overlay are:

  • Your current telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • If you seek new phone service on and after June 14, 2022, you may be assigned a phone number with the 826 area code.
  • You will need to dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code.
  • You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911. You can also dial three digits to reach 211 and 811, as well as 311 and 511, where available.

Please remember to identify your telephone number as a 10-digit number and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates, and customers, etc.

Customers should ensure all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are programmed to dial just 7 digits and recognize the new 826 area code as a valid area code. Examples include life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, gates, ankle monitors, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Be sure to check your business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and your personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in your telephone number.

Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, alarms, and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7 digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done by May 14, 2022.

Remember that all local calls must be programmed using 10 digits, and add ‘1’ for all long-distance calls.

For additional information, please visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission at https://www.scc.virginia.gov or contact your local telephone service provider.

All Customers with a Virginia 540 Area Code Must Dial Area Code + Telephone Number for All Local Calls Beginning May 14, 2022

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the Virginia State Corporation Commission approved the addition of the new 826 area code to the geographic region served by the 540 area code. This process is known as an area code overlay.

dialing-areas

What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (540). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number but does require using a new dialing procedure to complete calls.

Who will be affected?

Anyone with a 540 area code telephone number will be affected. The 540 area code currently serves the northwestern and southwestern portions of Virginia. Some of the larger cities include Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester. The new 826 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 540 area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

The new dialing procedure requires all calls in the 540 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers that are assigned with the new 826 area code.

When will the change begin?

Beginning May 14, 2022, you must dial the area code + telephone number on all calls, including calls within the same area code. On and after this date, if you do not dial the area code + telephone number, your calls will not complete and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.

Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the new 826 area code. If you have an 826 area code, you must dial the area code + telephone number or the call will not complete.

What will you need to do?

In addition to dialing the area code + telephone number for all local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to include the area code. Some examples are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions, etc. You should update your websites, personal and business stationery and checks, advertising materials, personal and pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

What will remain the same?

  • Your telephone number, including the current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, or 811 if those are currently available in your community.

Who may you contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information provided in this notice, please call Citizens Telephone Cooperative at 540.745.2111, or access the following websites for more information: citizens.coop/newdialing/ or the Virginia State Corporation Commission at www.scc.virginia.gov.

Citizens’ business hours are Monday thru Friday 8 am - 6 pm, and Saturday 9 am - 1 pm. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County, portions of Ft. Chiswell, New Castle, and surrounding communities for over 100 years. Citizens offers symmetrical business Ethernet and Hosted Phone Solutions, as well as Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd, VA currently assisting customers via Drive-thru only due to Covid restrictions. DCJS #11-9804

What better way to celebrate a New Year than by freshening up your company logo?
Citizens Telephone Cooperative is doing just that. Their motto for the logo reveal is “New Year. New Look. Same Dependable People. Same Reliable Service.”

“As the Cooperative continues to offer more fiber dependent technology, we thought it only right to exhibit that in our marketing presence,” stated Lori Saltus, EVP of Citizens’ Customer Relations and Marketing. “We hope our customers will like our new look, holding on to our heritage of the past, operating in the present, and preparing for the future as depicted by the three strands of fiber encircling the globe.  We remain devoted to our residential and business customers both near and far,” commented Greg Sapp, CEO & General Manager.

ctc-21-color-email

For more information, visit www.citizens.coop or call 540.745.2111. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County, portions of Ft. Chiswell, New Castle, and surrounding communities for over 100 years. Citizens offers symmetrical business Ethernet and Hosted Phone Solutions, Security, Automation, and Access Control Systems as well as Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd currently serving customers via drive-thru Monday thru Friday 8 am - 6 pm, and Saturday 9 am - 1 pm; online assistance is available 24/7. DCJS #11-9804

The 2020 Annual Meeting of Citizens Telephone Cooperative was held on Saturday, October 17th, at Citizens’ office on Webbs Mill Road. Members of the Cooperative were greeted and directed to park by Citizens employees who wore masks and kept a physical distance of 6ft. Members were asked to tune their car radios to 87.9 FM while the Board of Directors and CEO of Citizens conducted the meeting outside of the building.

President Wesley Goff opened the meeting, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and gave the President’s Report.  Secretary Shelby Quesenberry read the minutes from the last meeting. Director Kevin Hubbard presented the re-election of Board members Joseph Italiano (Alum Ridge exchange), Jonathan Vest (Locust Grove exchange), and Shelby Quesenberry (Willis exchange).

CEO and General Manager Greg Sapp reported on the Cooperative’s progress during the COVID-19 pandemic and applauded Citizens employees for their readiness to handle the increase in demand and their willingness to assist customers working and schooling from home. During the pandemic, the company increased installs and performed in record time.

“We installed free WiFi hotspots at Check Elementary, Willis Elementary, and Floyd County High School to assist students, teachers, and staff meet their distance learning and teaching needs. We also put a free hotspot here in our front parking lot to assist our customers. We installed free WiFi hotspots at 3 Wythe County school locations as well,” stated Sapp.  Citizens’ offers a $10 per month Student Connect broadband service to qualifying families with school-age children in the home. To assist qualifying families who may not meet the criteria for the Student Connect program, Citizens offered a 50% discount. Citizens also provided discounts and credits to several local businesses when they were closed or experiencing significant declines in business. “We have worked with many customers during this time to provide options for paying their bills with us. We understand that these are difficult times and that we all must work together,” continued Sapp.

Citizens has taken many precautions during the pandemic to keep members and employees safe. The company closed the lobby to the public on March 24th, and it has been closed ever since. Fortunately, the drive-thru window has allowed for customer service and support needs during this time.

Sapp mentioned measures the company has taken to support the health and safety of Citizens employees, “We have made arrangements for employees to work from home and other off-site locations. The employees working from home rotate with those in the office to provide everyone this option and to prevent all employees from getting sick should we have an outbreak at the office. We have been very fortunate that an outbreak has not happened.”  He explained that all employees who enter the building have their temperatures checked each morning. If employees have to work close to each other, they have to rotate wearing masks. He continued by stating field technicians are taking precautions as well. “The technicians are taking their own temperatures if they are dispatching from home and are using an app to affirm that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and are including a picture of their temperature reading. The technicians are wearing masks if they need to enter a customer’s home.” Citizens is also using a questionnaire to screen customers for COVID-19 symptoms before a technician enters the home.

Citizens is taking the pandemic very seriously since telecommunications businesses are considered essential. The company has not been closed a single day and continues to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic.

Sapp also shared the company’s status on the ACAM fiber deployment throughout Floyd County and explained that Citizens obtained partial funding through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), enabling residents in the Copper Hill area to connect to fiber.  In just a few months Citizens has connected 49 out of 316 homes. “This type of grant had to be initiated by a locality, and I would like to give special thanks to Lydeana Martin for taking the lead with this grant,” stated Sapp.

The Cooperative will move into the final construction phase of the fiber project in 2021 and looks to launch a new streaming TV service. The streaming TV service will eliminate the cost of set-top boxes and will give the viewer more flexibility to watch programming on many types of devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops.

Traditionally, the annual meeting ends with drawing the winners of door prizes and sitting down for a catered meal. To meet recommendations for gatherings during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Citizens opted not to give door prizes or serve a meal.

Sapp mentioned that the Cooperative will continue to hold Annual Meetings at the company’s office located at 220 Webbs Mill Road, Floyd. “We’ve made some enhancements that will allow us to hold the meetings here with ample room to accommodate our members,” stated Sapp.

With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

For more information about Citizens, visit www.citizens.coop or call 540.745.2111. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County and surrounding communities for over 100 years. Citizens also offers symmetrical business Ethernet, IT Solutions, Home Security Systems as well as Citizens Medical Alert and Web Services. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Lobby and drive-up hours are 8 am-6 pm Monday - Friday; 9 am - 1 pm on Saturday. DCJS #11-9804

Message from the General Manager

greg-annual-report-small

The best way to sum up 2020 would be to say it’s been a ‘unique’ year for your Cooperative. Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us our strengths and given us opportunities to do things in different ways. The Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and Employees of the Cooperative have embraced the opportunity to continue to provide you with quality service, excellent support, and advanced technology in more new ways than ever before.

We closed our lobby doors to the public on March 24th but remained steadfast to serve you through our drive-up, by phone, and online. We continued our deployment of 1Gbps Fiber to the Home service. To date, we have entered Phase 4: the Alum Ridge community and the Floyd North area. We are steadily connecting Indian Valley and the Parkway region of the Fairview area. We continue to connect homes in earlier completed areas as well.

Currently, in our ACAM project, we have constructed 257.4 miles of fiber and have over 1,000 customers connected to the Gigabit fiber service. That’s nearly 30% of our Internet customers and much more than we anticipated. In addition, your Cooperative completed a VATI project passing 316 homes in Copper Hill making Gigabit service eligible to those homes as well. To the early adopters in Copper Hill, we say “WELCOME TO GIG COUNTRY!” We hope you are enjoying the 1Gbps speed with generous Usage Plans that are designed to meet the specific needs of your home.

As more areas become Gig-ready, watch for emails and letters from our sales team. You can also stay informed on the progress of the fiber project by viewing the construction Fiber Map on our website citizens.coop/fiberexpansion and following the Fiber Installation Timeline as we get closer to your home citizens.coop/fiber-to-your-home-installation-timeline

Thank you for your support and for being a loyal member. We appreciate the trust that you put in us.

Our Mission is to provide you with Quality Service, Excellent Support, and Advanced Technology. It’s our privilege to provide Technology for Your Community.

Sincerely,
Greg Sapp, CEO & General Manager


Fiber installation

We’re all about connections.
Learn more about the installation of fiber at:
citizens.coop/fiber-to-your-home-installation-timeline

2020 Accomplishments

  • Expand 1Gbps Fiber to the Home Service Phase 4 Fiber Construction
  • Completed VATI project construction deploying 1 Gbps to areas of Copper Hill
  • Continue to Expand CitiZip VDSL Footprint Offering Speeds up to 50Mbps
  • Broadened the footprint of Security, Automation, and Surveillance Solutions for Businesses and Residential Homes
  • Expanded Hosted Phone Solutions for Businesses
  • Ensured Internet service for educational purposes via Student Connect for low-income families during school closure due to COVID-19
  • Gave upgraded speeds without price increases providing work from home solutions during COVID-19 for residents and businesses

2021 Outlook

  • Begin the final phases of construction for 1 Gbps fiber deployment
  • Launch streaming TV service to eliminate the need for set-top boxes for Citizens TV service
  • Increase SIP Trunk offerings for Businesses
  • Integration of new Area Codes

Dear Cable Subscriber,

We’ve been getting this question a lot:

Is it possible to choose the channels we really want without the ones we never watch? Just asking because I don't know how that works.

If you’ve wondered why you can’t pick and choose the exact channels you watch, in the same way you order from an a la carte menu at your favorite restaurant, you aren’t alone. Many viewers have switched to a streaming service such as YouTube TV, Roku, etc. However, streaming services also require a fee that includes many often unwatched channels.

While these channels might not rank on your list, major networks (referred to as media empires) own many channels, and they require broadcasters like Citizens to buy the entire bundle. For example, to get HGTV, we have to pay a lump sum that includes all of the smaller channels the media empire owns. From their point of view, it makes sense. They need to cover the costs of producing all of the content on all of those channels, and if they let viewers pick and choose, the smaller channels wouldn’t be viable. But we understand that this is frustrating for viewers who may only watch a handful of the channels in their package.

We would like to offer ala carte choices to our customers, but we are required to pay one price for the TV channel bundle, and that price continues to increase. Rest assured that we will continue to negotiate contracts on your behalf, but the industry continues to take the choice out of the equation.

There is a lot more to this story, and for those interested in learning the history and finer details, these articles from Reviewgeek and Fastcompany are useful resources.

Sincerely,

Your Cooperative

Due to the Virginia Department of Health confirmation of Covid 19 (Coronavirus) case for a person living within 50 driving miles of our main office, Citizens will Close the Business Office to the Walk-in Customers effective Tuesday, March 24th.

We WILL continue to serve you and to keep you connected.

The drive-thru window at our Floyd office will remain open to handle bill payments and provide various services and support assistance. We will maintain normal business hours of 8 AM - 6 PM on weekdays and 9 AM- 1 PM on Saturday. 

You can reach our staff by phone (745.2111 or 276.637.6485),  or email (customercare@citizens.coop) and our 24/7 Technical Support will continue by calling 1.800.741.9525.

This Office Closure will also result in other steps to help reduce Covid 19 spread by limiting the activities of our technicians who would need to visit your home. The technicians will take precautionary measures. They will be wearing protective masks and will not enter your home. If you need new equipment, accessories, or exchange existing equipment, the technician will place the equipment on your doorstep and will guide you through any steps needed to connect the equipment by phone, verbally through a door or window and/or provide written instructions. Furthermore, if any wiring is needed, the technician will provide a temporary connection through a window and guide you on the connection process. We will schedule a time after the pandemic declaration is lifted to return and correct temporary wiring arrangements and to pick up any used equipment if the technician is unable to pick up equipment during the visit to your home.

Furthermore, for education, remote work, and communication purposes, Citizens has FREE Public WiFi Access available for public use at the lower end of our parking lot. A banner is displayed with logon credentials. There are other public WiFi access points available at many local businesses. Cheri Baker at Tuggles Gap, Restaurant & Motel located at 3351 Parkway Lane South, Floyd stated “We still have free internet access here at Tuggles Gap.  Our deck that is attached to the restaurant is available to those who may need to use the internet, even though the business is closed, for as long as our local schools are closed. The public is welcome to use our internet on the deck.” Other local businesses with limited range WiFi for public use include: Blue Ridge Diner, Floyd Country Store, Pizza Inn, Subway, & American Pie Restaurant.

“These steps are necessary to protect you and your family and our employees and to help contain the spread of the virus. Thank you for your understanding and be assured that we will strive to keep you connected during these difficult times.” Greg Sapp, CEO & GM of Citizens.

First of all, we are here to serve you and will continue to serve you and keep you connected. We are continuing to monitor the Covid 19 pandemic situation and have established guidelines for when we would initiate an Office Closure and close the office to walk-in customers. If a confirmed case is announced whereby that person lived within 50 miles driving distance of the main office in Floyd or our Ft Chiswell work center (we are referring to that as the “commuting zone”) then we will close the Floyd office to walk-in customers. The Ft Chiswell work center is a technician work location and is not open to customers. The drive-thru in Floyd would stay open and we will handle bill payments and provide various services and support assistance via the drive-thru as well. We will aim to maintain normal business hours of 8AM – 6PM on weekdays and 9AM- 1PM on Saturday. You can always reach us by phone (745.2111 or 276.637.6485) or email (customercare@citizens.coop) and our 24/7 Technical Support will continue by calling 1.800.741.9525.

This Office Closure would result in other steps to help reduce Covid 19 spread by limiting the activities of our technicians who would need to visit your home. The technicians will be wearing protective masks and would not enter your home. If you need new equipment, accessories, or exchange existing equipment, the technician would place the equipment on your doorstep and will guide you through any steps needed to connect the equipment by phone, verbally through a door or window and provide written instructions. Furthermore, if any wiring is needed, the technician will provide a temporary connection through a window and guide you on the connection process. We will schedule a time after the pandemic declaration is lifted to return and correct temporary wiring arrangements and to pick up any used equipment if the technician wasn’t able to pick up that equipment during the visit to your home.

These steps are necessary to protect you and your family and our employees and to help contain the spread of the virus. Thank you for your understanding and be assured that we will strive to keep you connected during these difficult times.

Citizens Cablevision is temporarily adding more channels to your existing Digital TV package for your viewing enjoyment. These channels are available NOW through April 30 at No Additional Cost to you in your subscribed package.  It’s our way of taking a Byte out of the Coronavirus.

Channels added to BASIC Package:

  • CNN – channel 101
  • Fox News – channel 124
  • Hallmark – Channel 458
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries – channel 457
  • Hallmark Drama – channel 456
  • Oxygen – channel 454
  • CNBC – channel 120
  • Universal Kids – channel 312
  • Universo – channel 348
  • MSNBC – channel 121
  • Cooking Channel – channel 235
  • Travel Channel – channel 463
  • DIY – channel 228
  • GAC – channel 609
  • AHC – channel 355
  • Destination America – channel 226
  • Discovery Family Channel – channel 303
  • Discovery Life Channel – channel 353
  • OWN – channel 352
  • Discovery en Espanol – channel 351
  • Discovery Familia – channel 350

Channels added to Signature Package

  • Hallmark Drama – channel 456
  • Universal Kids – channel 312
  • Universo – channel 348
  • DIY – channel 228
  • GAC – channel 609
  • AHC – channel 355
  • Discovery Family Channel – channel 303
  • Discovery Life Channel – channel 353
  • Discovery en Espanol – channel 351
  • Discovery Familia – channel 350

Channel added to Crest Package:

  • Universo – channel 348
  • Discovery en Espanol – channel 351
  • Discovery Familia – channel 350

* In HD based on subscription and where available.

For more information, please contact Citizens at 745.2111 or 276.637.6485. Service not available in all areas.

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to have a greater impact across our communities, your Cooperative is here to assist and support you. Our team is proactively monitoring the situation and has implemented a Contingency Plan which provides a comprehensive strategy to protect the organization from events that can disrupt normal business functions. Rest assured, we are positioned to continue providing critical communication services to the business, education, and residents in the communities we serve

Our employees are following guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus, including frequent and thorough washing of hands and keeping work surfaces and equipment clean. Like many organizations, we have limited any non-essential corporate travel to large events and requested that any teammates who are or become sick stay home. 

We are prepared – We are here to serve you.

Our team is committed to our community and prepared to give top priority to supply Internet access to students without in order to meet educational requirements should online instruction take effect.

We are prepared to support work from home and online learning efforts.  If you have these needs, please call 540.745.2111 or 276.637.6485 to discuss.

Protecting your information

Cybercriminals are using concerns about the virus to launch phishing attacks. These emails may try to entice you with the promise of the latest coronavirus information, the sale of scam products or the request for personal or business-sensitive information. Because of this, please be cautious of clicking on email links or opening attachments referencing the coronavirus, unless you are sure they are from a trusted source. In addition, if your devices do not have a virus protection software installed, know that Citizens offers a robust virus protection software for $5.95. One easy to download and install subscription covers up to four of your devices — smartphones, tablets, laptops and/or desktop computer.

Protecting You – Service at your convenience

If you are wanting to reduce in-person interactions, which we encourage, you can use one of the various methods that Citizens offers to conduct business. We have forms on each of our core service pages on our website that enable you to communicate with our teams. 

At any time, you may continue to call our office as our Contingency Plan includes our ability to handle phone calls even if our office is closed. 

Our 24/7 Support team (1.800.741.9525)  is also on hand to assist or direct your need to an appropriate teammate who will return a call to assist you.  

Should a premise visit be required, please know that our staff will be forthright in inquiring about recent fever and illness as an effort to keep the virus at bay. 

In addition, we offer Citizens E-Care that allows you to subscribe to new services, pay your bill, make changes to your existing services, and report service issues.  If you haven’t enrolled, you can quickly get started at https://citizens.coop/myaccount/ or call our office at 540.745.2111 or 276.637.6485 during office hours. We will be glad to assist you in setting up your Citizens E-Care account. 

We will continue to monitor this health situation and adjust our plan as needed. If you have questions about COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/, World Health Organization https://www.who.int/ and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus websites are good sources for accurate and up-to-date information.

Each year Foundation for Rural Service Scholarships are awarded by region across rural America. Citizens would love to see students in our service area receive these scholarships. Scholarships range from $2,500 – $7,000.  The application window is open until March 6, 2020. 

Visit https://www.frs.org/programs/youth-programs/scholarships/ for details and application.

Congratulations to Julie Goff and Sherry Slaughter who each won their very own Buffalo Team Chair! The third chair will be raffled off at the Floyd County High School Homecoming Game on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Citizens is giving away three Buffalo chairs! Each chair is identical to the Buffalo Team Chairs in the Floyd County Gym. For your chance to win, watch Buffalo games on Citizens’ CCTV Channel 20 at 8:30am and 8:00pm Weekdays and 8:00pm Weekends from January 8 through January 15. Follow the on-screen instructions to enter to win your very own Buffalo chair! Instructions will appear at 1 minute intervals several times throughout the games.

There will also be a drawing on Facebook. Be sure to catch the contest post by liking Citizens’ Facebook page and watching for the contest post on January 8.

Random drawings for both CCTV entries and Facebook entries will be held on January 16, 2020.

The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of its annual awards at its 30th annual membership dinner meeting held at the Floyd Event Center late last month.  The chamber also recognized its thirtieth anniversary at the dinner, showcasing founding members and past presidents of the organization.  Dinner guests were able to look through scrapbooks with photos, documents, publications, and press clippings from the early years. The dinner was preceded by a silent auction social that was a fundraiser for the annual chamber scholarships and Floyd Visitor Center operations.

Citizens Telephone Cooperative received the Chamber Business Member of the Year Award in recognition of its strong support of the chamber for thirty years as a founding chamber member; its status as a forerunner in rural technology that includes its current Fiber to Home project making it a leader in rural internet access; and its significant contributions to local schools and community organizations.  Skyline National Bank, also a founding chamber member (known as Bank of Floyd then), and Floyd EcoVillage/Hotel Floyd were recognized as finalists for the award.

Floyd County Humane Society received the Chamber Nonprofit of the Year Award, recognizing an all-volunteer organization that works to provide food, shelter, medical care, and a permanent home for many homeless, unwanted animals in Floyd County.  The volunteers spend extensive hours with animals, placing them in foster homes, socializing and training dogs, and spaying/neutering as needed. Floyd County Farm Bureau, New River Valley Community Services, Old Church Gallery, and Sustain Floyd were recognized as finalists for the award.

Karin Grosshans received the Chamber Business Leader of the Year Award for her “quiet behind-the-scenes leadership” with active involvement in Floyd Rotary Club, past presidency of the Partnership for Floyd, service on the chamber board and Community Foundation of the NRV board, and her role as a community advisor for Sustain Floyd.  One of her nominators cited Grosshans effectiveness in “connecting the dots” between the organizations that she is active in. Woody Crenshaw, Terri Morris, and Derek Wall were recognized as finalists for the award.

Shep Nance received the Chamber Executive Director’s Award in recognition of his service as a past chamber president, coordinating food operations for the annual Rubber Duck Race, leadership in starting a chamber ambassador program, and repeatedly volunteering to provide coverage for the Floyd Visitor Center to cover absences.

Chamber board member Jason Gallimore was honored for reaching six years of service and his name was added to service recognition plaque on display at chamber office.  Past president and current board member John Getgood was recognized for ten years of service on the chamber board and was made an honorary board member.  

The dinner included election of board members by the chamber members present.  Jason Gallimore – Chantilly Farm, Annie Badger – Wild Weeds Studio, Craig Chancellor – Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant, Susan Brickhouse – Filamina Jewelry, and Scott Griffin – Skyline National Bank were reelected to new terms.  The membership also elected new board members: James Cabler – Onward NRV, Sally Truslow – Stonewall Bed and Breakfast, Alee Epperly – Josephine Porter Institute,  Jennifer Miller – Stonehaven Bed and Breakfast, and Stephanie Yates – Hollingsworth and Vose

The 2020 chamber officers were previously elected by the board and announced at the dinner.  

Craig Chancellor – Thomas and Wall Real Estate will serve as president, Beth Burgess – Smart View Consulting will serve as first vice president, Scott Griffin as second vice president, Vickie Spangler – Vickie’s Tax Service, LLC as treasurer, and Amanda Lawrence – Atlantic Union Bank as secretary.  

Chamber Business Member of the Year:  Citizens Telephone Cooperative
From L to R, are:  Joy Gardner – Citizens Account Executive; John McEnhill – Chamber Executive Director; Dennis Reece – Citizens COO/Assistant General Manager; Lori Saltus – Citizens EVP Customer Relations and Marketing; Derek Wall – Chamber President
Chamber Nonprofit of the Year: Floyd County Humane Society
From L to R, are:  John McEnhill – Chamber Executive Director; Melissa Shaw – FCHS Secretary; Patrice Irish – FCHS President; Lynn Gregory – FCHS Treasurer; Derek Wall – Chamber President.
Chamber Business Leader of the Year – Karin Grosshans – Skyline National Bank
From L to R, are:  John McEnhill – Chamber Executive Director; Karin Grosshans; Derek Wall – Chamber President.
Chamber Executive Director’s Award – Shep Nance - Chamber Board/Retired
From L to R, are:  John McEnhill – Chamber Executive Director; Shep Nance; Derek Wall – Chamber President.

Four photos attached:  (Photo Credit – Chelsa Yoder, Chelsa Yoder Photography)

Floyd County High School is now streaming local high school sports online. Thanks to a partnership with The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Network and a Pixellot automated camera system donated and installed by Citizens, your county’s technology company. The camera system and online platform give parents, grandparents, and alumni the opportunity to keep up with the action regardless of where they live or travel.

For 10 years, Citizens has provided an avenue for FCHS sports to be seen on Citizens’ own local channel, CCTV Channel 20, for local subscribers. Citizens has secured videographers and commentators for full-productions of basketball, football, volleyball, and soccer games. This tradition continues and is now expanding to give viewers the opportunity to watch these FCHS sports live and on-demand online.

“The new camera system has helped us streamline our production workflow by deploying an automated multi-camera system in a single fixed rig. I have been impressed with its ability to cover the entire court and field while tracking the flow of play. If you’ve seen a recent game aired on CCTV, then you have seen the automated system in action.” stated Hari Berzins, Citizens Content Strategist.

“We will continue to air the games on Citizens’ CCTV Channel 20, but we’ve been looking for a way to offer people beyond our service area the ability to enjoy the games. Our new partnership with Pixellot and the NFHS provides a well established online platform for us to offer our local content on any device wherever you are; this is a great solution.”

The NFHS Network offers three subscription packages that allow subscribers access to not only Floyd County High School games but also high school sports across the country.

  • Monthly Pass only $9.99
  • Annual Pass only $80

You can subscribe to your all-access pass at
https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/schools/floyd-county-high-school-floyd-va. Pay securely online with a major credit card, and support FCHS with a portion of all sales going back to the school.

Your All-Access Pass to the NFHS Network provides:

  • The ability to watch games on the go via your phone or tablet
  • Full access to Live regular season and postseason sporting events
  • Immediate access to events when they are available On Demand

For more information, visit www.citizens.coop, call 540.745.2111 or 276.637.6485. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County, a portion of Wythe County and New Castle. Citizens also offer symmetrical business Ethernet, IT Solutions, Home Security Systems (DCJS #11-9804) as well as Citizens Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Lobby and drive-thru hours are 8am-6pm Monday – Friday; 9 am – 1 pm on Saturday.

Citizens Cablevision is pleased to announce the addition of InfoOne, Channel 19 to their lineup. InfoOne displays much like a bulletin board of local information important to residents, such as power outages, school closings, road information and more.

InfoOne is an automated technology service based out of Wytheville, VA that collects important information from many publicly available sources. InfoOne formats and maps that information, determines to which of our communities the information applies, and then broadcasts that information to our viewers through our custom iPhone and Android apps, Twitter, Facebook, direct text, and now Citizens’ television.

InfoOne divides all information into geographical communities, usually by county. Subscribers of Citizens Cablevision will see information based on your service area: Floyd, Wythe, and Craig counties.

Information carried by InfoOne, channel 19 comes from the following sources:

  • National Weather Service
    • All weather alerts affecting any part of the community
    • Current weather conditions.
    • 5-day weather forecast.
  • Appalachian Power
    • Broadcast power outages affecting 25 or more customers within a given community
  • Virginia Department of Transportation
    • All “major” and “high profile” traffic incidents within the community, and within 5 miles of the geographic perimeter of the community.
  • National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children
    • Runaway children within 30 miles of the community.
    • Amber Alerts occurring within 300 miles of the community.
  • School closings
    • Public and private school closings and delays.
  • United States Geological Survey
    • Earthquakes over 2.0 magnitude occurring within a radius that could potentially affect the community (the radius diameter is determined by the magnitude of the earthquake)

The video stream generated shows active alerts one at a time with the text information scrolling vertically. It cycles through active alerts, local weather conditions/forecasts, and information about the InfoOne service. Music from Wytheville radio station, WXBX, is played in the background on the channel, giving viewers a true local experience.

To become more familiar with InfoOne, download the free app from your Apple or Playstore for your phone or tablet.

For more information, visit www.citizens.coop , call 540.745.2111 or 276.637.6485. Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County, portion of Wythe County and New Castle. Citizens also offers symmetrical business Ethernet, IT Solutions, Home Security Systems as well as Citizens Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Lobby hours are 8am-6pm Monday – Friday; 9am1pm on Saturday.

Arlington, Va., (October 12, 2019) – Citizens Telephone Cooperative (d.b.a. Citizens) was recognized on October 12, 2018, by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association as a Certified Gig-Capable Provider for delivering gigabit broadband speeds and enabling technological innovation in community the of Floyd County, Virginia. NTCA is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America.

As a Certified Gig-Capable Provider, Citizens joins a national campaign to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based telecom providers that have built communications networks capable of delivering Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, which is 100 times faster than those currently available in many U.S. households. Citizens also received tools to promote itself as a Gig-Capable Provider throughout Floyd County and will be recognized in NTCA media, on the NTCA website, and during association conferences and events.

“I applaud Citizens for its commitment to delivering the Internet’s fastest speeds—an accomplishment worthy of much praise considering the unique and challenging circumstances small, community-based telecommunications providers operate under every day in serving some of our country’s most rural and remote communities,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “By building a gigabit-capable network, Citizens has not only overcome these challenges, but also shattered conventional benchmarks for broadband speed to enable cutting-edge technologies that drive innovation and promote economic development in their community.”

To achieve certification, telecommunications companies must show that gigabit technology is currently commercially available within 95% of one or more exchanges or census blocks within its serving territory and that such service can be provided without new trenching or stringing new aerial facilities. This statement must be confirmed by a letter from an engineering firm or other independent source involved in the company’s network planning, deployment or operation.

“Citizens is proud to deploy Residential Gigabit Internet to our fiber customers.  In 2017, we began a multi-year fiber overbuild of our copper network in Floyd County, as we complete sections of this network, we will contact customers regarding the new Residential Gigabit Internet packages available to them as well as our CitiZip Business packages.  The construction of this project is scheduled through the end of 2023. By the end of the project over 80% of our customers in Floyd County will be able to switch to our fiber packages.” stated Dennis Reece, Chief Operating Officer of Citizens.

More information about the NTCA Gig-Capable Provider certification program is available at www.ntca.org/gigcertified.

To learn about Citizens’ fiber build-out plan, visit https://citizens.coop/fiberexpansion/.   At the bottom of this webpage, you will see several useful links like how to estimate the amount of data your home needs and determine if your home and devices are gigabit ready, learn what uses data with your home and how to manage that, and a link to Citizens’ Gigabit data packages.

Citizens is a member-owned Cooperative providing telephone, Internet, and TV to Floyd County and surrounding communities. Citizens also offers symmetrical business Ethernet, IT Solutions, Home Security Systems as well as Citizens Medical Alert. Citizens is located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. Lobby hours are 8am-6pm Monday – Friday; 9am – 1pm on Saturday.  For more information, visitwww.citizens.coop or call 540.745.2111.

About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, healthcare, agriculture, and education and contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.