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What is a telecommunications co-op?

Telecommunication co-ops are owned by their members, those they serve. This is why people who receive services from cooperatives are called members, not customers. Without members, there would be no cooperative.

Members maintain democratic control of their co-op; they elect fellow members to represent them on the board of directors at an annual meeting. As a bonus, co-op members receive special benefits through co-op programs plus many co-ops return profits to their members in the form of capital credits.

One principle that sets co-ops apart from other businesses is their concern for the community they serve. Cooperatives have a responsibility to support the areas in which their members live and work. From sponsoring a local athletic teams to supporting new jobs and industry through our partnerships with economic development groups, co-ops are a driving force in their communities.

Of course, co-ops span all industries including credit unions, dairy operations, health care, housing and more. There are over 29,000 co-ops across the nation. Not all co-ops are small or rural, just look at nationally known co-ops like Sunkist, Ace Hardware, and Land O’ Lakes.

Overall, co-ops are more accessible than any other type of business. They give their members a voice and their employees are local, living and working alongside those they serve.

That’s the cooperative difference.

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