Expanding the Possibilities
In 1949 Wilkes Telephone Company was developed by a group of local citizens who recognized a need for telephone service in a small town of Wilkes County. Two years later in 1951, that small-town company became Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation. At this point, that group of local Wilkes County Citizens had no idea how much of an impact their efforts would actually make. There is truly power in numbers; and that group of Wilkes County citizens proved what could be accomplished when you combine with others to achieve a common goal.
Since our humble beginning in 1949, Wilkes Communications, Inc. has had great success as a cooperative in Wilkes County. We have had numerous opportunities to give back and grow within our area; and we are excited to expand our possibilities for the future even more by combining our efforts with those of TriCounty Broadband to work towards goals that we share. TriCounty Broadband was built on the same principles and mission as our small telephone company that began in 1949. TriCounty Telephone was established March 13, 1950 by seven committee members with the goal of serving members from Beaufort, Hyde and Washington counties in rural eastern North Carolina.
By coming together, we will continue to contribute to and improve the lives of those in the communities that we collectively serve through programs such as the TriCounty Telephone Foundation, which awards two students of member families each year a $4,000 scholarship, providing over $181,101 in student scholarships since 1981. The Wilkes Communications Scholarship Program has awarded multiple students scholarships ranging from $1,000-$5,000 and has awarded a total of $242,750 since the program’s start. We are excited for the opportunity to expand in eastern North Carolina and share our small-town service and hospitality with other parts of the state.
Each year, we aim to make more of an impact wherever we can. This year we are expanding our possibilities by doing more, being more, and giving more. This effort begins with you. By attending this year’s Annual Meeting of the Members, you are making your voice heard and representing fellow community members by contributing to decisions that can benefit our community as a whole.
We will be able to achieve financial and organizational strength as well as improved efficiencies and cost savings through the scale and synergies of the combined organizations. By coming together, not only will we be stronger, we will be able to service more homes and continually improve our products and services by keeping our costs low and rates stable.
-Eric Cramer, President/CEO, Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks
Throughout the years, we have had great success as a cooperative in the Wilkes County Community. We pride ourselves on the positive impact that we have been able to make in the lives of individuals, as well as organizations, in our community.
Our goal moving forward is to increase the size of our footprint and continue making broadband services accessible to those who live in areas that are unserved and underserved by larger providers.
In the coming months, our focus will be on expanding the possibilities. Our priorities include: ensuring that our members have access to the latest in technological advancements, providing more homes and businesses with state-of-the-art fiber connectivity, and continuing to foster positive change in the lives of those in communities that we serve.
As members of our cooperative, our efforts would not be possible without your participation and generosity. We thank you for your membership and look forward to expanding the possibilities of your local communications cooperative.
“As members of our cooperative, our efforts would not be possible without your participation and generosity. We thank you for your membership and look forward to expanding the possibilities.”
-Greg Coltrain, CEO, TriCounty Broadband | VP of Business Development, RiverStreet Networks
“Taking care of our communities has been and always will be our first priority. Growing up in a rural area offers so many advantages that outweigh the disadvantages. Having educational opportunities in rural America falls hand in hand with our initiative to ensure our members have quality high-speed broadband services no matter where they live. Combining our assets and resources with Wilkes makes both companies stronger and more prepared for the future. I’ve heard some people call what we do making a living, but we call it making a difference.”
-Wayne Black, President of TriCounty's Board of Directors
“TriCounty has always exemplified a commitment to professionalism and service to our customers and the communities in which we do business; Wilkes Communications is also of that philosophy and mindset. The synergies that can be gained by the merging of the two cooperatives work to ensure that our members, customers, and employees continue to have a bright, promising, and sustainable future for years to come.”
Voted and Approved
The merger between Wilkes Communications and TriCounty Broadband was voted and approved by the membership on 10-19-2017.