What is a cooperative and what are the benefits of membership?

When you’ve done business with PTCI or TCEC have you ever wondered what a cooperative is? “A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise.” (International Co-operative Alliance)
PTCI came about when residents in some of the most remote locations in the Oklahoma Panhandle wanted telephone service, but no provider was willing to service those areas. PTCI has grown far beyond its meager beginnings but still holds true to the roots from which it was founded.
Cooperative decisions are made by a democratically-elected board of owner/members and on a voluntary basis. They represent each designated area on the cooperative’s coverage map. This allows for each part area of the cooperative to have a voice.
Being a member of the cooperative allows you to be eligible to help make these decisions. Only a member/owner can run and be elected to the board of trustees. A member/owner has a vote in who represents them on the board of trustees and has access to the cooperatives annual financial statement.
The membership also helps determine federal dollars issued to the cooperative. This means more money coming into our communities to make sure the infrastructure for services like internet and cellular stay strong. The same is true when you do business with the cooperative. Corporate profits stay here in the Oklahoma Panhandle and a portion is distributed back to the member/owners.