Highland Telephone Cooperative’s Annual Meeting


On May 6, Highland Telephone Cooperative held it’s annual meeting in Monterey.

General Manager Chad Kimble presented information on the fiberoptic network project that’s underway.  In 2021, HTC invested a little over $1.5 millon in the Mill Gap area providing the service.  Kimble said converting customers to the fiberoptic network has made a difference in reliability of service.   In 2022, HTC is focusing on installing fiber in the Hightown and Allegheny areas. Kimble called the Allegheny area the most challenging in order to reach everyone and the area only has seventeen customers.  In 2023, fiber installation is planned in areas east of Monterey, McDowell and Strait Creek, and when that is completed, Highland will be 100% fiber to the home.

Kimble also presented information on changes that come along with the installation of fiber.  In the past if there was a power outage, the telephone would still work.  That will not happen with the new fiberoptic network.  Kimble said the network will not support delivering power, so now if the power goes out, the phone service will also be out for fiber customers.   Kimble said HTC decided to provide a backup battery with each fiber installation, that provides 4 to 8 hours of backup power to support phone service.  There is also a 24 hour backup battery that is available through the HTC office.  Kimble also encouraged those who have fiber to periodically check the battery backup, by unplugging the modem and seeing if the phone still works.  In the event of a long term power outage, Kimble reminded everyone that HTC maintains remote Wi-Fi in its buildings.  Those buildings are identified as HTC and generators power the buildings to keep free Wi-Fi available.

Kimble also reminded everyone that with the new ten digit dialing going into effect, you do not need to dial 1 to call locally.  Local calling is the area code and the phone number.  Dialing 1 is needed for long distance calling.  With the shortage of telephone numbers, a new area code, 826, has been overlaid on the 540 area code.  Another reminder was to check security systems, call forwarding and stored phone numbers, since they may need to be updated if they were stored as seven digit numbers.

In other business, Board President Richard Simmons was recognized at the meeting. He chose not to run for another term.   He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010, serving as President of the Board since 2016.

And two new members were elected to the HTC Board of Directors, Nancy Witschey and Gene Dever.

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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