Paul Kelly: October is National Cooperative Month

Guest Commentary
By Paul Kelly
For The Cordova Times

Come join us as we celebrate National Cooperative Month.

There was a time Cordova’s communications were connected to US Army bases in Alaska by telegraph cables laid in Prince William Sound (yes they are still there).  A time when there was one phone in a village, usually in a bar (The Windsor Hotel in Cordova) or post office and a time when you could telegraph 10 words to the States for 50 cents or $1 for 25 words.

All communications were started because of Army presence in Alaska; military personnel were sent to police the gold rush in 1900.  Cordova didn’t have long distance calling available until the early ’70s and didn’t see a live football game (4-hour delayed tapped) until the mid-’70s when the State provided $5 million to Alascom to build satellite earth stations in rural Alaska. There was a time the City of Cordova owned and operated the utilities, but that also changed in the late ’70s and in 1976 The Cordova Telephone Cooperative Inc. (CTC) was born.

The co-op was started out of need and a desire by the people to have better communications that were properly funded and managed.  Today (40 years later) the member/owners still have a say in how things are run, what they want to see next and can run for a cooperative board seat the last Friday of every March at the CTC Annual Meeting.

Since its inception CTC has expanded into the wireless arena; in 2011 CTC connected Cordova to the world with a 100 mile undersea fiber optic cable and removed us from a satellite connect that could not provide any significant bandwidth.

CWC service can reach places like Middleton and Kayak Islands.

CTC and CWC provide 18 high end technical jobs for the community, spend millions of dollars locally and this year will bring more than 14 million dollars to Cordova from outside sources. Only $500,000 of CTC’s revenue comes from residents of Cordova, the owners of the cooperative. CTC is positioned to serve Cordova well for many years to come, because all profits have been reinvested in our cooperative.

We encourage you to visit us on second-street and allow us to educate you on the things we do and the services we have to offer.

Come celebrate National Cooperative month and have a cookie on us!