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Citizens Announces GIG Certification at Annual Meeting

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.