ASHEBORO — More than 300 members attended the Randolph Communications’ 59th annual meeting in Asheboro Saturday morning.
Randolph Communications is an affiliate of the Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation (RTMC).
The membership re-elected Mel Nunn and Janice Scott to the co-op’s board of directors. Nunn represents District 7 in Liberty and Scott represents District 2 in Bennett.
New CEO and General Manager Kim Garner updated members on achievements during 2016.
The 2016 Financial Report indicated that the co-op had another good year for the cooperative. Operating revenues were $11,436,118. RTMC distributed $750,057 in capital credits to its members and grew its plant infrastructure assets by $5,084,622.
Capital Credit Allocation percentage for 2016 is 19.7949 percent of $12,127,203 billed to members for services, making the total amount allocated $2,400,563.
“That’s a great return on your future investment,” Garner said. “Also, we will be distributing another three quarters of a million dollars this year in November. Even though other co-ops have suspended capital credit distributions due to the expense of their fiber build out, our board of directors wanted to continue the capital credit distribution to show appreciation to our members and their support throughout the last 63 years.”
Garner added that the “fiber to the home” build out is continuing. She said it was a slow and very expensive process.
RTMC has approximately 1,400 route miles over parts of seven counties. A total fiber overbuild of its territory is a $60 million project.
“We are 60 percent complete. We have $7.8 million left in mainline construction and $18 million in drops to the homes,” Garner said. “It is approximately $3,000 per home for the drop from the road to the house. It will take $25,700,000 to finish our territory.
“It is our goal to be 100 percent fiber optic cable in the future.”
Garner noted that one area affecting the fiber build out is the drop in landline phones in homes.
“When the co-op loses that recurring revenue, it slows the fiber build out investment,” she said. “Since 2002, we have lost 28 percent of our land lines or over $200,000 in annual revenue. In order to maintain sustaining revenues, our subsidiary, RTTI, has worked outside the co-op footprint to supplement the loss. Areas like El Dorado, Spies, West Philadelphia, Robbins, Chatham County, Sanford and now Silk Hope.
“Some of these areas have provided part of the construction money for the projects and others are areas edged out of from our boundaries.”
Garner also touched base on several issues facing customers, including:
• MyTV — Issues with MyTV blackouts and pausing in the southeastern service area may be resolved if customers call and report any issues such as the channel and when the issue occurred so it can be tracked and resolved.
• Internet speeds and wifi devices — RTMC gets many calls from customers regarding their internet speeds. “If you are having speed issues, first we need to see which bandwidth internet package you are subscribed to,” Garner said. “Then we need to see how many devices you have using your bandwidth at the same time. Some homes have over 20 devices. Each device can connect to your internet bandwidth via your wifi connection and use bandwidth to back up data or upgrade software without you even realizing it is connected. You can’t all use it at the same time and get the same results as if only one device is connected.” Garner asked members to contact technical support to help identify how many devices is pulling on the internet connection.
Garner also gave an update on Randolph Communications’ scholarship program. Since 1995, the co-op has given more than $111,000 in scholarships to area students. It recently awarded $6,000 in college scholarships to six 2017 area high school seniors:
• Brittany Lea Seawell of North Moore High School.
• Cody Brian Stultz of Southwestern Randolph High School.
• Matthew Hunter Shaw of Chatham Central High School.
• Sara Renee Pippin of Eastern Randolph High School.
• Toni Maria Formato of William J. Caldwell Sr. Home School.
• Valerie Paige York of Southwestern Randolph High School.
* A seventh student, Kayle Jordan, received the first Foundation for Rural Service $1,250 Broadband Telecom Conference Scholarship. Jordan graduated from Chatham Charter High School.