October is National Cooperative Month, and this year’s theme “Co-ops Build Economic Power,” is lived out every day by GBT!
When GBT began in 1953, a group of individuals came together to form a Cooperative with Member-Owners to fill the unmet need of providing quality telecommunications in the rural, sparsely populated areas of Kansas. GBT, along with other Cooperatives formed in the early years, including those generating and providing electricity and those providing elevators to receive and transport farmers’ crops to market, improved the standard of living for area residents and stimulated the economy in rural Kansas!
Fast forward nearly 70 years, and GBT is one of 36 Rural Telephone Cooperatives that together cover nearly half the state of Kansas, serving our customers with Voice, Video, Cellular, Home Security, Computer Repair, IT Services, and the Game Changer—High-Speed Broadband! Over 95% of GBT’s telephone exchange customers are connected to FIBER BROADBAND, with plans to reach 100% by 2023. USDA deems 100 Mbps download x 20 Mbps upload as “sufficient broadband access”, and GBT FIBER has the speed capability of more than 100x this speed! Plus, think for a moment how you can use the Internet—work from home, financial and credit card transactions, agriculture monitoring, email, research, student education, telehealth visits with doctors, electronic medical records, cloud-based servers, streaming video…the list goes on and on.
Cooperatives make decisions locally, and GBT is led by a Board of Directors elected by the Member-Owners at our Annual Meeting, representing the 7 Districts of the GBT area: James Jecha, Timken; Clyde Sutton, Ness City; Cinda Flax, Utica; Philip Martin, Ellis; Gene Knieling, Rush Center; Brian Hammeke, Rozel; and Ron Gruber, Lewis.
When the cooperative is successful and profitable, allocations are made to Member-Owners in the form of capital credits. Total Capital Credit Retirements over the last 5 years amounts to just over $6,000,000!
By being a Member-Owner, you are assured of doing business with a local company that seeks to serve our communities and strengthen our rural economy. GBT’s employees live and work here, our children and grandchildren attend school here, and you’ll find our employees serving on local School Boards, Fair Boards, 4-H, Chamber, Church Councils, Volunteer Fire Departments, and more. Chances are if you attend a local event, GBT will be a sponsor, donating dollars and time to the organizations in our communities.
Because of you, our Member-Owners and Customers, GBT is able to positively impact our local economies—your money stays local and is re-distributed to you through capital credits, donations, and local involvement—by a company which exists to serve you. Now that’s Economic Power!