A successful year at NHTC

NHTC expanded the fiber footprint in the Horse Cove and McMullen Road areas last year, and expansion continues in the Cherry Tree Road and Berkley communities. Such efforts to further enrich the cooperative’s infrastructure and services represent only one part of the positive news members received during the annual meeting in May.

“I am pleased to report NHTC posted a very solid $1.2 million in operating income margin in 2018,” General Manager Jim Cook said. “In addition, we were able to increase our cash by approximately $1 million.”

Cook, who is retiring, addressed the membership during a meeting that included staples of food, fellowship and entertainment, as well as innovations. For the first time, ballots for board member elections were tallied electronically. “The electronic voting helped speed up the process,” he said.

By the Numbers

Cook noted the cooperative’s strong financial performance during the past seven years, and he detailed highlights from the past year, with the expansion of the gig-certified network being a point of emphasis.

The cooperative’s assets totaled $36.3 million, which included a $1.8 million increased investment to the fiber-to-the-home network. Operating revenues totaled $12.7 million, an increase of $890,000 from 2017.

Operating Expenses totaled $11.4 million, compared to $10.6 million in 2018. About half of the expense increases were related to higher cost of goods for non-regulated products due to customer growth. The remaining increases were tied to efforts to retire the legacy copper-based network, as well as investments to the television network.

National Perspective

Cook and several board members attended the legislative and policy conference of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association in Washington, D.C. The organization represents more than 900 cooperatives like NHTC.

During the visit, discussions emphasized the proliferation of unwanted robocalls and the continued increases in video programming costs. “Stemming the volume of unwanted solicitation calls will require action on both the legislative front, to increase penalties for those companies illegally invading your privacy with unwanted messaging, and the regulatory front, to develop rules to ensure that the cost to implement new technology designed to block illegal calls does not unduly burden small rural providers,” Cook said. “We are hopeful that effective solutions will be forthcoming sooner rather than later.”

NHTC was awarded the “All-Fiber Certification” designation by the National Fiber Broadband Association. The award is available to association members who have demonstrated a high level of strategic commitment to fiber deployment, ensuring their customers get the fastest, most reliable broadband available.

A Bright Future

Attention to infrastructure, competitive products and community growth continue to provide NHTC a solid foundation for the future.

During the past year, the cooperative began the significant task of removing TV cable and copper cables from utility poles throughout the service territory. By removing about 25% of more than 10,000 pole attachments, the cooperative will save more than $50,000 annually.

Meanwhile, robust new home construction resulted in a 4% increase in residential subscribers, and the broadband customer base saw a 6% increase in growth.

NHTC Security Solutions, which offers a complete line of customized home automation, security, CCTV and access control, similarly realized steady growth last year.

“As you can see, the past year has been a busy one for your NHTC team,” Cook said. “In addition to building on the success of our current products and services, we are committed to continuing to look for new service offerings that will bring value and enhance the lives of our cooperative members.”

Cook reflected on NHTC’s mission statement to describe the cooperative’s goals. “NHTC’s mission is to exceed customer expectations, improve the quality of life in the communities we serve and fulfill evolving communications needs with advanced technology at the best value possible, backed by exceptional customer service,” Cook said.

Cook also announced his plans to retire after 45 years in the telecommunications industry. The NHTC board of directors selected Daniel Martin as the new general manager earlier in May. Martin, from Grant, previously worked at NHTC for 15 years and served five of those years as NHTC’s outside plant manager. He begins as general manager on July 1.

For Cook, the annual meeting was the last opportunity to address the membership as the general manager. “I am very proud of what we have achieved at NHTC over the last seven years, and I want to sincerely thank all of our employees, board members and you, our members, for allowing me the privilege to serve as your general manager,” he said. “You have a great company, a great network and a bright future.”

Voting Results:

  • Place 6 – Calvin Bearden
  • Place 7 – Jeffrey Cantrell
  • Place 9 – Garland Elders

Scenes from 2019 Annual Meeting: