More than 1,500 Alliance Communications customers attended the company’s annual meeting on Saturday, April 21, at the Brandon Valley High School in Brandon.
“The annual meeting is one of our favorite events of the year,” said General Manager Don Snyders. “We enjoy socializing with our customers and discussing issues impacting the cooperative.”
For many customers, this was the first annual meeting that they were eligible to attend. On Jan. 1, 2012, Alliance welcomed customers in Howard, Oldham, Ramona, Carthage, Larchwood, Inwood, Hills, Valley Springs, Alvord, Lester and Steen into the cooperative. Several hundred people from these communities traveled to Brandon to attend the meeting for the first time.
Following lunch, Snyders discussed how new rules from the Federal Communications Commission will impact Alliance Communications.
“These rules could have a substantial impact on how rural telecommunications companies, such as Alliance Communications, receive financial support for serving high-cost areas,” Snyders said.
He also reviewed the status of the fiber-to-the-home project. Snyders said 89 percent of Alliance’s customers currently are connected to fiber optics. The remaining areas should be completed in the next two years. A total of 6 percent of U.S. homes are connected to fiber, which makes the country eighth in the world for fiber-optic deployment. South Korea is first with 44 percent of homes connected to fiber.
Snyders then discussed a nationwide problem that is occurring with long distance calls. Some long-distance phone calls originating outside of Alliance’s network are not being completed or are experiencing a range of problems, he said.
This phenomenon is occurring across the United States, most often affecting long distance calls being made to customers of rural telecommunications companies, Snyders said. The troubled calls, which move from one company’s network to a second and often a third and fourth network, do not reach Alliance’s network, he said.
“In order for the problem to be corrected, the FCC needs to start enforcing penalties on companies that aren't properly connecting calls into rural areas,” Snyders said.
Then Terry Johnson of Garretson, Darryll Larson of Crooks, Bob Vosburg of Renner and Randy Simons of Larchwood were elected to three-year terms on the Alliance Communications Board of Directors.
Following the directors’ election, the band Cassie and the Bobs entertained the crowd by performing music from Patsy Cline. Crowd favorites included Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, and Walking After Midnight.
This year Alliance also returned $1.3 million in capital credits to those who were customers in 2000, 2001 and 2010. Because Alliance is a cooperative, the company returns excess revenue to customers in their capital credits checks.
Alliance Communications holds an annual meeting every spring, and all customers are invited to attend.
To view photos of this year’s annual meeting, go to www.flickr.com/photos/alliancecommunications