Citizens will be Closed Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27th in observance of Thanksgiving.
We look forward to serving you on Saturday, November 28th.
Thank you for being a local customer. We appreciate your business.
Citizens Still Serving Community while Office is Closed to Public
Valuable Corona Virus Resources

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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 Cafe, Floyd Country Store, Pizza Inn & Subway, Ray’s 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.

2018 Annual Meeting of Citizens Telephone Cooperative was held on Saturday, October 20th, in the Floyd County High School Auditorium. Members of the Cooperative were greeted by Citizens employees and walked through the process of Co-op’s newest undertaking; the deployment of fiber optic technology.  A brightly colored map showed the fiber construction plan for the next few years. A professionally produced video detailed the phases of the fiber project; showing the installtion of the drop to the home and installation within the home and attendees were able to see the external and internal equipment for the fiber to the home project. In addition, employees were on-site to demonstrate and answer questions about products and services including Citizens Home Security and Automation.  Prior to the meeting, members filled the auditorium to enjoy entertainment by bluegrass band, Gate 10.

Board President Wesley Goff opened the meeting. The minutes from the last meeting were read by Secretary, Shelby Quesenberry and approved by the membership prior to the meeting being turned over to General Manager, Greg Sapp.  

Sapp recognized several long-time employees who had retired since the last meeting: Paula Harris retired with 29 years of service, Keith Bowman retired with 30 years of service, Dennis Whitlock retired with 37 years of service, and Ralph Beran retired with 44 years of service.  

General Manager, Sapp highlighted the company’s accomplishments for 2017 and shared visions of product and service enhancements for 2018, focusing on the company’s recent GIG Certification by the NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association.  Sapp stated that the upgrade in the network translates to providing speeds up to 600 times faster than existing service. “We believe that our 1 gig fiber broadband service to the home is like electric service. There is more than enough bandwidth to power as many simultaneous devices as you want. You don’t buy a new electric appliance and wonder if you have enough electriciity to power it. The same thought process should occur with internet connected devices,” stated Sapp. “We have customers today with over 25 internet devices in the home, which means they will probably have greater internet usage than the home with one or two devices. We could offer watered down speeds over fiber, but that would just postpone the inevitable. It is inevitable that with 4K or Ultra HD video, live  gaming, video conferencing and chatting, that a 50 Meg or even a 100 Meg service would not be sufficient in a few years. We are bringing you a newtork that will be the envy of everyone around.”

The map of Citizens’ fiber deployment plan is available at www.citizens.coop/fiberexpansion. The color-coded map shows the localities and the projected year that fiber will be constructed. Visitors to the site can enter their street address and scroll to street level to see an estimate of when fiber service will be deployed to their area. At the bottom of the webpage there are several useful links including how to estimate the amount of data your home needs and information to help determine if your home and devices are gigabite ready, and a link to Citizens’ Gigabit data packages.

Sapp complimented the Board of Directors (Wesley Goff, President, Lynwood Allen, Vice President, Shelby Quesenberry, Secretary, Daniel Grim, Kevin Hubbard, Russell Stump, Rhonda Turpin, Jonathan Vest, and Attorney, James Shortt) for their leadership in this project. Furthermore, he thanked the employees for their tireless work and dedication to help bring the next generation fiber network to the members.

Following Sapp’s comments, board member, Jonathan Vest, presented the election of directors Wesley Goff, Locust Grove exchange and Lynwood Allen, Floyd exchange. With no competition for the seats, the vote was carried. With no old or new business, the meeting continued with a random drawing for door prizes that included a 65 piece tool set, 4 tickets to the VT vs UVA football game, a programmable Instant Pot, LG Bluetooth speaker headset, Kwickset keyless entry lock, an Amazon Echo with Smart Bulb, a set of fire extinguishers, a laptop with carrying case, a Skybell video door bell, and a 55” 4K TV which was won by Kim Whitlock.

In closing, President Goff thanked the membership for their confidence and support and for being loyal customers. The meeting was adjourned and the members enjoyed a traditional fried chicken lunch served by the Floyd Presbyterian Ladies Group.

Recent fires in California tugged at the heartstrings of Floyd County natives, Jeff Belshan and Keith Bowman. So much so that the Belshan requested VTO (Volunteer Time Off) from his employer, Citizens Telephone Cooperative. Keith Bowman, a recently retired Citizens’ employee, also made the trip to with his former teammate and Jeff’s son, Matt.

Seven people lost their lives and over 1,000 homes were destroyed in the Carr fire. Belshan and Bowman were able to assist 10 families during the week that they were in Redding/Shasta County in California.  The relief efforts were organized by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian international organization.

“I appreciate the opportunity given by Citizens to allow me to make this trip and assist those devastated by fire in California. It was a life changing experience for me and having 16 hours of VTO (Volunteer Time Off) is a huge benefit. It allowed me to help those in need and share an experience with my son that truly enriched my life.” stated Jeff Belshan. The groups helped remove rubble, debris, and sift through fire torched items to try to salvage memories of the victims.

Samaritans Purse has videos of the Carr fire on YouTube and shows how faith was strengthened through the fire and volunteerism.

To learn more about Samaritans Purse and how to get involved can visit the website at samaritanspurse.org.

Last week marked a monumental time in the technology of Floyd County.  Citizens Telephone Cooperative launched ultra-high-speed internet into outlying areas of the County. “Residents in  Phase 1 along 221 North and in the town of Floyd are now eligible for the 1 Gbps connection offering more speed than most devices can handle.” stated Greg Sapp, Citizens General Manager.  “This is just Phase 1 of an aggressive 7-year construction plan. Residents in the Topeco community are sited for eligibility this week.” Sapp continued.

“Citizens is bringing fiber to the home but are resident’s devices ready for gigabit service?” stated Dennis Reece, Assistant General Manager. “There is some important information people need to understand about 1 Gbps service. The point of having a Gigabit connection is not superfast speeds for ONE computer or device; the purpose is to provide fast speeds for DOZENS of devices on a typical home network so that no matter what you are doing online, no one in the home experiences slow speed issues.”  Citizens is here to prepare you for Gigabit Internet service by offering a few tips to help you achieve the Speedtest results you dream of.  We have set up some Frequently Asked Questions and a section entitled “Are You Gigabit Ready?” at citizens.coop/are-you-gigabit-ready/.   Some of these tips will help you maximize your potential internet speeds even if gigabit is not available to your home at this time.

As construction is complete and the fiber tested, eligible residents are receiving emails, letters, and phone calls. “We know from the very early requests when fiber was launched in the Town of Floyd, that people in our community are in need of more broadband to handle the numerous devices in their home. We are happy to expand this offering beyond the Town.” said Lori Saltus, EVP of Customer Relations. “As soon as the fiber is tested and is approved to deploy to your home, you can expect a Sales Agent to contact you.”

Citizens is not disconnecting existing copper facilities at this time but giving early adopters an incentive to connect to gigabit service by offering qualified customers a low, limited time, promotional price of $199 on the Connection Fee. The standard fee is $399. This fee is minimal compared to other localities that charge upwards of a thousand dollars to plow a drop and install new equipment. The project will ultimately cost in excess of $30 million . Over a 10 year period, Citizens will receive approximately $10 million in Universal Service Funds to assist with approximately ⅓ of the project but these funds end in 10 years.  The Connection Fee helps offset the cost of the new fiber drop and splicing the fiber at two points, in addition to the equipment that has to be installed at the home, for access to the 1 Gbps connection to the home.

Connecting to CitiZip Fiber is more involved than connecting to copper facilities but requires construction just like establishing service to a new home. A new drop to the home must be plowed, a new ONT (Optical Network Terminal)  will replace the NID (Network Interface Device) on the outside of home, and new equipment inside the home are all a part of the installation.

Residents will also enjoy migrating away from traditional internet speed packages and fixed television programming to Data Plans with No Data Caps that are measured to meet the needs of each individual home. “You buy the plan that meets the usage need of your home.” explained Saltus. The best part, Citizens will not throttle, slow down, or interrupt Internet service if the usage goes over their subscribed data plan. A minimal $5 per 50GB increment for usage exceeding your subscribed plan will be added to your monthly invoice. “We don’t want people to be in the middle of a movie, or an online test and have their service stop. That’s not the customer experience we want. We want to maintain our high level of customer satisfaction, and we believe offering gigabit service will do that as more and more devices demand more data.” added Sapp.

Citizens is dedicated to customer service and committed to technology. Citizens has set up email and will soon have text notifications so customers are informed of their data consumption during the billing cycle. Notifications are sent at 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of data use. Customers enrolled in Citizens E-Care can also track data consumption online.     

The Cooperative has a map on their website at https://citizens.coop/fiberexpansion allowing inquiring residents to input their street address for an estimated year of construction, typically deployment will happen the following calendar year. You will also find links to a Data Calculator to estimate the amount of data you will need for your home.  FAQs and “Are You Gigabit Ready” information is available at https://citizens.coop/citizip-fiber-pricing/.

Our collective backyard is pretty fantastic. With the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Crooked Road and all of the hiking and natural wonders within a two-hour drive, there’s plenty of adventure waiting right in our own backyard.

Beginning Friday, May 4, Citizens would like to encourage residents to explore these close-to-home areas and report back to us. Capture your day-trips with your smartphone or digital camera and share your footage with us. We will enter you into a random drawing for the chance to win an Amazon Dot, QVC gift certificates, and more.

Whether it’s a hike up Buffalo Mountain, a bike ride down the Virginia Creeper Trail, or a tour of a local farm or potter’s studio, we’d like to see what you see and hear what you think.

Submit 5-10 photos including at least one picture of you enjoying your day trip, up to 3 minutes of video, and a 100-300 word paragraph sharing the highlights of your adventure, and we’ll edit it into a 1-2 minute video. With your permission, we’ll share these videos on Citizens CCTV Channel 20. Inspire your neighbors to get out and explore!

Visit citizens.coop/backyard-adventures to upload your photos and/or video, and your short paragraph about the location or adventure. You might win a nice prize for your efforts. Best of all, you can give viewers ideas of where they should visit on their own next adventure.

Start uploading May 4. Contest deadline is Sept. 15th.

CCTV Channel 20 is an exclusive local channel available only on Citizens Cablevision. Catch local sports, church programming and “The Community Show” produced by Hari Berzins. The following programs will air on “The Community Show” throughout the month of May. “The Community Show” airs 7 am, 1:30 pm, and 7 pm daily. Set your PVR so you don’t miss an episode.

  • Indian Valley Kindergartners learn about Floyd History with Janet Keith and Alice Slusher
  • From the Front Porch to the Front Lines, DVD Release Presentation with Dr. Melinda Wagner, Radford University. Featuring stories from local WWII Veterans.
  • What Can I Do About Lyme Disease? Panel Discussion from Floyd Health & Wellness Fair
  • Blue Ridge Story Space, Celebrating the Mountain Tradition of Storytelling
  • Curtis Turner Birthplace Marker Unveiling
  • Walk a Mile With Healthy Floyd
  • Gentle Yoga with Studio 221

The mission of CCTV is to capture what matters to you. If you have an interest in showcasing your business, civic group, or community project, contact Hari Berzins, Video Production Editor by calling 745.9552 or email marketing@citizens.coop. Sponsorship opportunities are available to advertise your business during local programming. For more information, contact Citizens at 540-745-2111 or 276-637-6485.

Floyd County High School’s graduating Class of 2018 will be held on Friday, May 25. The ceremony will take place inside the school’s gym with overflow seating in the school auditorium. For those unable to attend the ceremony, Citizens Cablevision will stream the festivities live on CCTV, Channel 20 and on Citizens Telephone Coop Facebook. Rebroadcast of the ceremony will be played throughout the month of June.

A professionally produced, high-quality video and audio, keepsake DVD is available for purchase at https://citizens.coop/graduation/​ or by calling Citizens at 540.745.2111.

The mission of CCTV is to capture what matters to you. If you have an interest in showcasing your business, civic group, or community project, contact Hari Berzins, Video Production Editor by calling 745.9552 or email
marketing@citizens.coop . Sponsorship opportunities are available to advertise your business during local programming. For more information, contact Citizens at 540-745-2111 or 276-637-6485.

Citizens is proud to announce the following Scholarship opportunities:

Foundation for Rural Service Scholarship:

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) offers an annual college scholarship program to help further higher education among rural youth. FRS awards a one-time $2,500 scholarships to students from rural America for their first year of college, university or vocational-technical school. Each student is sponsored by an NTCA member company. FRS funds $2,000 of each scholarship, and the sponsoring company awards the remaining $500. The FRS College Scholarship Program seeks to encourage students to return to their rural communities upon completing their education.

Sponsoring a student for the annual FRS College Scholarship Program is a one-time investment that will last a lifetime. The program empowers rural youth by giving them opportunities for higher education. Our hope is that these students return to rural America to enhance and enrich their rural community with education and experience.

The application for the FRS College Scholarship Program is available each October for the following year’s program. Applications must be postmarked to FRS by March 1st of each year and winners will be announced by May 1st of that year.

Download the application here and more information about the Foundation for Rural Services Youth Program Scholarship can be found here

Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association Scholarship:

The VCTA and the Donald A. Perry Foundation are very excited to announce the launch of our 2017 Virginia’s Future Leaders Scholarship Program. This year we will be awarding $100,000 to Virginia students in partnership with you, our members. Please find attached the 2017 Application and Rules, as well as our press release. These materials can also be found on our website at www.vcta.com.

The deadline for this year’s program is April 24, 2017. The Virginia’s Future Leader’s Scholarship is open to Virginia residents only, attending an undergraduate 2 or 4 year program at a Virginia institution of higher learning for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Download the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association Scholarship application here.

 

Customers of Citizens Cablevision now have the opportunity to view local church services. According to Hari Berzins, Video Production Editor of Citizens, four local churches have committed to supplying pre-recorded church services to be uploaded to the company’s CCTV Channel 20.  

Citizens posts the weekly programming schedule online at https://citizens.coop/cctv/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/citizenstelephone/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.  Current programming is as follows:

  • Saturdays: 9:00am: Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, Pastor Marvin Wade
  • 9:30am: The Seventh Day: Revelations From the Lost Pages of History
  • Sundays: 8:30am: Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, Pastor Marvin Wade
  • 9:00am: Faith Baptist Church, Pastor Warren Brown
  • 5:30pm: The Seventh Day: Revelations From the Lost Pages of History
  • 6:30pm: Shawsville Congregational Holiness Church, Pastor Wes Conner

The new programming is available to viewers of Citizens Cablevision in Floyd, Ft. Chiswell, and New Castle.   For more information about the new Citizens TV service visit www.citizens.coop, stop by the office located at 220 Webbs Mill Road in Floyd, or call 540.745.2111/276.637.6485. Any church interested in submitting services should contact Emily Gruver at 540.745.9552 or hariberzins@citizens.coop for instructions on how to upload services.

Citizens is a locally-owned Cooperative located in Floyd, VA, providing quality service, excellent support and advanced technology. Citizens offers voice, video, data, and security solutions to residents and businesses in Floyd, Ft. Chiswell and New Castle.