Nearly 6,000 checks, averaging between $500 and $1,000, are being mailed out to those who use the service.
Northeast general manager Pat McElroy says as a cooperative, they share the profits with their members.
“As customers pay us over the years, if we can afford to pay them back, the board makes a decision on how much capital credits we can pay back and the methodology we’ve been using is going back to the oldest customers first and then paying it forward,” McElroy says. “We’re about 11 years behind.” McElroy says they’ve paid out more than four-million dollars so far.
“We think it does good for our area and it keeps people involved with our co-op,” McElroy says. “We have to have enough to keep operating the company on but it’s similar to a dividend that maybe a major company would do for shareholders, except our shareholders are all local owners.”
McElroy says they offer much more than just dial-up phone service.
“We are all fiber to the home and we have everything that Google Fiber has in Kansas City but we don’t brag about it as much,” he says, laughing. “With that, we can do all the internet that anybody wants. The internet was the driver for more services. We’re going to open up our internet pipe so people can get higher speeds all the time.”
NNTC, based in Jackson, serves about 30 communities in northeast Nebraska.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton