The 2023 Annual Meeting of Citizens Telephone Cooperative was held on Saturday, October 21st, at the Citizens’ office on Webbs Mill Road in Floyd. This was the first meeting led by new General Manager, Donna Smith, following former CEO Greg Sapp’s retirement in 2022.
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, Kevin Hubbard, presented the re-election of Board members Joseph Italiano (Alum Ridge exchange), Jonathan Vest (Locust Grove exchange), and Shelby Quesenberry (Willis exchange). President Goff expressed the importance of goals and applauded newly elected General Manager Smith and the staff of the Cooperative for their commitment to reaching goals and remaining a leader in technology.
President of the Board
Over 100 members were in attendance for the meeting highlighting the Cooperative’s progressive year and milestones achieved for the company. “The finish line of the Fiber project is in close sight as we currently are working on Ballard, the one remaining area left to complete. I could not be more pleased with our employees and their accomplishments,” stated Smith, referring to the six-year, county-wide fiber optic Internet to the home project.
Other achievements mentioned include the Cooperative has constructed over 150 miles of fiber (over 650 total miles within the county) and installed 1,500 Gigabit Fiber customers since last year’s meeting. To date, 40% of homes (over 4,000 fiber customers) in Floyd County enjoy the increased Internet speeds available with fiber service.
In addition, over 1,600 customers have migrated to the SFN TV Now platform, with only a few remaining homes left to switch once fiber is available to them. “I’m happy to say that customers of all ages tell us that they are enjoying the experience. Just a short time ago, streaming and apps were unknown terms to many of our customers who now have mastered this technology.” continued Smith.
She also noted that the company has added value with Citizens Advanced WiFi which includes the HomePass® app powered by Plume. The adaptive technology allows for seamless connectivity throughout the home and the HomePass® app also allows personal management of your WiFi network at your fingertips to set parental controls, guest networks, and monitoring usage of devices in the home.
Citizens’ Fiber to the Home project recognized Floyd as a Smart Rural Community by the NTCA Broadband Association and Citizens as a Smart Rural Community Provider. Public WiFi access is now available in more places including the Citizens parking lot, at the Floyd Parks & Recreation fields, in and around the vicinity of the Lineberry Park, and the Floyd County High School community use areas including football, track, gymnasiums, and more. “We are happy to provide Free Public WiFi to these locations within our community and to serve Floyd County with 1 Gig Internet,” Smith stated.
Traditions of the annual meeting continued with door prize drawings for members. Prizes awarded were: a 50” Roku TV, Blackstone Tabletop Griddle, 10” Fire Tablet, and two Roku 4K+ Express with voice remote controls. A catered meal by Blue Ridge Diner of Floyd followed the meeting.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on the third Saturday of October 2024. In an executive session following the meeting, Joe Italiano was elected as Board President. He will be conducting the 2024 Annual Meeting.