VTCI Celebrates 60 Years
Proud of our Past … Embracing our Future
It is difficult to imagine our world without phone service but that was once a reality in rural South Texas. Fortunately, a group of dedicated and hard working individuals from our communities came together for the common goal of providing telephone service and succeeded. Their shared success establishing Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (VTCI) was the beginning of many more great accomplishments for the company and our communities.
The Cooperative was established in April 22, 1952 with the purpose of providing telephone service to rural subscribers deemed unfeasible by the larger companies. The idea began in the 1950’s when rural homes received electrical service by cooperatives funded by Rural Electrification programs. As the number of homes with this commodity increased, rural residents across the country began to express interest in receiving telephone service. To increase economic opportunities and improve the quality of life in the rural areas, the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), currently known as Rural Utilities Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, created a telephone branch to provide low interest loans to telephone cooperatives so they could provide service.
During that time, a group of residents from various rural communities across the Rio Grande Valley reached out to telephone companies to request service but the companies declined because it was too expensive and unprofitable to serve remote areas in South Texas. The need for phone service prompted the community to come together to organize a telephone cooperative. Meetings were held by local citizens in Willacy, Hidalgo, Cameron, Kennedy, and Starr Counties and surveys were conducted to determine the number of farm families interested in organizing a member-owned telephone cooperative.
On September 28, 1950 in Monte Alto, Texas, a local task force called a meeting to formally organize a telephone cooperative. At this meeting a cooperative name was selected, directors were elected, an application for a charter was completed, and bylaws were adopted.
The organization of Valley Telephone Cooperative was approved and seven organizing directors were elected. Those original directors were: Verner E. Gustafson, J. B. Pinson, and Godfrey J. Lassig, all of Lyford; L.R. Ayers of San Perlita; B. C. Hester of Hargill; and W. T. Holland and Reid Rikard, both of Raymondville. The first meeting of incorporators and directors of Valley Telephone was held in May 13, 1952 at the Lyford Gin Association offices in Lyford. These community leaders went out to personally contact and sign up applicants. They gathered the necessary funds and applied for the first REA loan that enabled the Cooperative to begin providing service in 1957.
Since then, VTCI has grown to become a leading broadband service provider offering Internet, television entertainment and telephone services to approximately 4,000 member-owners in South Texas. The Cooperative covers approximately 7,300 square miles with 5,200 route miles of buried fiber optic and copper cable, from Rio Grande City to Brownsville to the northern areas surrounding Dilley, Texas, a community located southwest of San Antonio.
VTCI and subsidiary companies continue to expand their broadband network to enable greater bandwidth capacity and improve capabilities. VTX Communications, LLC (VTXC) and VTX Telecom, LLC (VTXT) were established to reach new communities and diversify the original product line, telephone service, to other lines of business such as wireless Internet and data transport. These subsidiary companies currently serve an additional 4,000 customers with broadband service. One of VTX Telecom’s ongoing projects is to expand the company’s current broadband network to serve twelve additional communities surrounding VTCI’s existing service area.
VTCI’s subsidiary companies also provide features such as long distance and television entertainment which add value to our offerings and make our broadband service more attractive. Subsidiaries provide 1,500 route miles of fiber optic transport service to other telecommunication companies, including 8 of the largest telecommunication companies in Mexico. Additional services include tower design, maintenance and construction.
Sixty years ago, Valley Telephone Cooperative was established to serve its rural communities on the principals of service, excellence and value. Today, we are growing stronger than ever before, moving forward to an exciting future, creating dynamic opportunities along the way and upholding our mission to serve others and provide them with a friendly and quality experience.