For over fifty years, Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative (CVTC), dba Copper Valley Telecom, has proudly served the Valdez and Copper River Basin areas. We provide high quality communication services including landline telephone for residents and businesses, calling features, long distance, high speed Internet connectivity, and wireless voice and data. In addition, we provide high capacity special access services for businesses and telecommunication carriers over our robust fiber and microwave network.
CVTC will be the full service telecommunications provider of choice by offering cutting edge technology through innovative business approaches and competent, highly trained employees. CVTC will increase revenues, subscribership, and industry presence with future goals of expanding to other areas of the state.
Copper Valley Telecom – Assisting Members with Disabilities
Copper Valley is pleased to work with individuals who have a disability that may limit or hinder their use of our telecommunications services. We offer individuals assistance in designing a personalized suite of services and/or equipment to help them more effectively use our services to communicate with others.
How Cooperatives WorkLearn More
How Cooperatives Work
Cooperatives like Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative (CVTC) are non-profit corporations that were originally created to provide vital services to their customers, most of whom are member-owners. Any profit or margin beyond the cost to deliver those vital services eventually gets returned to the members as capital credits.
Running any large business is complicated, and a telecommunications cooperative like CVTC is more complicated than most. There are many technical, legal, accounting, and regulatory issues that CVTC has to navigate successfully, and CVTC has to compete against and do business with some of the biggest telecommunications and technology businesses in the world.
Just as a for-profit corporation has shareholders who elect a Board of Directors to oversee the company and protect their interests, cooperative members also elect a Board of Directors to oversee the Cooperative and protect the members’ interests. At CVTC, each member of CVTC gets to vote for the four directors who represent their district. Those directors spend many hours every month reviewing information and participating in Board meetings. They set policy for CVTC and oversee the overall success of the Cooperative. They are legally responsible for the management of CVTC and can be held liable in court if they do not carry out that responsibility. They are your representatives, and they are all fellow members of CVTC.
The Board of Directors create policies on employment and decide what rates to charge. It would be too difficult and expensive for the entire membership to oversee those tasks, which is why those responsibilities are given to the Board members you elect who can then take the time to make those decisions on your behalf. If the members don’t think that the Board is doing a good job, they can elect new Board members. Board members are, thus, always accountable to the members.
The Bylaws are only supposed to provide the overall governing framework for the Cooperative. They explain how people become members, how directors are elected, and how Board and member meetings are held. The Bylaws are difficult to change because it takes a good deal of time and money to hold a vote of the members to approve Bylaw changes. The Bylaws are not supposed to be the Cooperative’s policies on employment or even its Board policies.
The Alaska PlanLearn More
The Alaska Plan
From time to time we field inquiries from our co-op members about the Alaska Plan, a program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to subsidize rural telephone service and increase Internet connectivity. To better address those inquiries, we decided to create this page to explain what the Alaska Plan is and how it impacts our customers.
Historically, rural telephone companies relied on subsidies to offset the high cost of providing basic, universal telephone service, as first required under the federal Communications Act of 1934. In recent times, however, the FCC extended high-cost support to include Internet services as an incentive for rural telephone companies to build out Internet connectivity to their customers.
For Alaska, the FCC in 2016 developed a new set of regulations, called the Alaska Plan, to account for the unique characteristics and extremely high costs of serving our state. Commencing January 1, 2017, the Alaska Plan set forth a ten-year time frame with which to increase Internet speeds for both wireline (fiber and copper network) and wireless (4G LTE mobile network) service. Not all Alaska rural phone companies chose to receive financial support for both wireline and wireless services (and a couple chose to opt-out of the Alaska Plan altogether), but CVTC chose to participate in both programs and, thus, we receive subsidies according to respective formulas that were adopted by the FCC.
At the end of ten years, the Alaska Plan will have funded much faster Internet speeds across the state — download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps — for almost 70,000 rural wireline customers and up to 100,000 rural wireless customers. What that means for Valdez and the Copper River Basin is that 90% of our wireline customers will have access over fiber to 25 Mbps by 3 Mbps speeds or faster, while our wireless network will be completely converted to 4G LTE.
Over the Alaska Plan’s ten-year program both the wireline and wireless components will require annual reporting updates to the FCC. Near the half-way point in 2021, the FCC will look specifically at the wireless program to reevaluate competitive overlap, which is a condition when two or more wireless companies are subsidized for serving the same area with 4G LTE coverage.
Overall, the Alaska Plan reflects the extremely high cost of building and maintaining vital infrastructure in our region. While we will continue to offer traditional telephone service, the Alaska Plan will help CVTC migrate to the most modern Internet infrastructure that supports speeds fast enough to deliver the kinds of state-of-the-art communication services that rural customers increasingly need and demand in the modern age.
You can download and read the official FCC Order establishing the Alaska Plan here.
Capital CreditsLearn More
As opposed to a typical corporation that is owned by shareholders and exists to generate profits for them, a cooperative is an organization established to provide certain goods or services to its members. Shareholders exercise control over the corporation based on the number of shares they own. Unlike a corporation, a cooperative is owned by those it provides service to, the members, and operates at cost. A cooperative principle is that each cooperative member’s vote is of equal value regardless of how long the member has been a member, or how much business they do with the cooperative.
Capital credits represent the economic participation of the members of the cooperative. Rather than seeking capital funding through investors, a cooperative funds its operations through the business the member does with the cooperative. The excess of the member’s payments for services over the expenses and costs of providing those services are received as capital for the ongoing operations of the cooperative.
Capital credits should not be confused with profits. Cooperatives exist not to make a profit but to provide reliable and high-quality services to its members. Instead of generating profits to give to shareholders, cooperatives reinvest any excess earning to improve and continue its operations for members.
A fundamental tenet of cooperative operation is that the earnings of a cooperative are allocated to its members based on the amount of business the member does with the cooperative in excess of the cooperative’s costs and expenses. A cooperative satisfies this requirement by making periodic allocation of capital credits to its members. An allocation is made annually for each member based on the amount of business the member did with the cooperative during the previous year. The cooperative is required to track the balance of these allocations for each member until they are eventually returned to the member.
A retirement is the eventual return of the allocated capital credit to the member. The retirement of capital credits is a return of the member-furnished capital. Retirements are governed by the bylaws of the cooperative, which state that retirements are made at the discretion of the board if it is determined that the financial conditions of the cooperative will not be impaired by the return of capital.
Telecommunications is a capital-intensive industry. In order to avoid taking on too much debt to maintain and improve service the cooperative retains revenues that are in excess of expenses and costs, also known as margins. The margins are assigned to members as capital credits and used by the cooperative for continued operations and long-term investments in equipment and telecommunications facilities. If all capital credits were retired at once, the cooperative would have to incur excessive debt to continue operations. This would greatly increase the cost of the services provided to members.
After being approved by the board of directors, a statement is mailed to the member’s address of record disclosing their share of the cooperative’s total capital credit allocation. These statements are usually mailed in September and disclose the allocation of the previous year’s allocation.
The cooperative’s board of directors is permitted by the bylaws to return capital credits if a member moves outside of the cooperative’s service area and terminates service or if they pass away, provided that the financial condition of the cooperative would not be impaired. Capital credits that are paid back in these situations are subject to discounting when returned.
If a member’s capital credits are not returned when service is terminated, it is important for the member to send updated contact information to the cooperative. That way when capital credits are returned the checks will be mailed to the correct address for the member.
Each summer the co-op publishes a list of unclaimed capital credits on its website. You can also call the main office at 907-835-2231.
If the services purchased from the cooperative were strictly for personal use, then capital credit retirements are generally tax-free. If the services were utilized for any business purposes the member should contact their tax advisor regarding taxability of their capital credit retirements.
If the cooperative has reason to believe its services are used by a member for business purposes, and the capital credit retirement for a year exceeds $600, the cooperative is required to issue a 1099-MISC to the member. The member should consult with their tax advisor regarding the reporting and taxability of their capital credit retirements.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Rob Chaffin Valdez
- Mike Rego Glennallen
- Jennie Sodergren Valdez
- Terry Valentine Glennallen
- Joey Virgin Glennallen
- Trish Stowe Glennallen
- Joey Virgin Glennallen
- Mike Rego Glennallen
- Joey Virgin Glennallen