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Co-ops build Economic Power
October 8, 2022

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!

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[elfsight_social_share_buttons id="2"]April 2022 | 5 MIN READEMBRACING TECHNOLOGY AFFECTS QUALITY OF LIFE?95%GBT members who have speeds up to 1 Gig! $3.85 MDollars GBT has invested to bring Fiber to our members. $1.7 MDollars in capital credits that were retired $1.7 MDollars GBT donated back to our communities to improve lives and promote the local economy.   As we look back at 2021, it will go down as a transformational year for the Cooperative and industry.  The importance of broadband was brought on by the onset of COVID as many across the country were working, educating, shopping, and participating in wellness from home.  The demand for Internet and usage of the GBT network was the highest the Cooperative had witnessed to date, and it generated many conversations about universal broadband and the billons of Federal dollars earmarked to address unserved and underserved areas across the country.   Where is GBT in comparison to the rest of providers around the country?  We are all exposed to the advertising of the national providers across some medium, so we hear about fast speeds, 5G, fiber, etc.  The truth of the matter is, GBT is very different from those national providers focused on providing a return to their shareholders and with whom they have little to no idea of who their customers are.  GBT is focused on our mission of providing the best user experience to our customers through reliable state-of-the-art communications services.  Our customers are our neighbors, friends, and members who live and play in the same communities we serve and love!  Our network is connecting 95% of the members by state-of-the-art fiber infrastructure that allows them to have speeds up to 1 GIG upload and download.  While big, out-of-state broadband providers are making a big deal about starting to bring fiber to rural communities, GBT first brought fiber to our members in the late 1990’s and connected the first community to fiber-to-the-home in 2008!  Today GBT...